Tai Tuivasa

Bam Bam


Lasts 54 seconds in Orlando
December 3, 2022
Tuivasa lost to Sergei Pavlovich via KO (punches) at 0:54 of Round 1 at UFC on ESPN 42 on Saturday in Orlando.
There's not much to break down here from a technical standpoint. We have seen Tuivasa hang in there for prolonged periods of time against some of the best heavyweights in the world. He lasted less than a minute against Pavlovich. Having been knocked out just once in 17 professional fights entering the evening, Tuivasa ate a pair of jabs which put him on his back, and he was never able to recover. Tai has always struggled against better competition, and Pavlovich has the look of a future title contender, so this result, other than perhaps how it went down, isn't really a shock. Although he was coming off a knockout loss over Ciryl Gane in September, Tuivasa had won his prior five fights, all via knockout, so his roster spot is secure.
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Headed to UFC Orlando
October 11, 2022
Tuivasa will take on Sergei Pavlovich at UFC Orlando on Dec. 3, Farah Hannoun of MMAJunkie.com reports.
Tuivasa will be hoping to recover following his knockout loss to Ciryl Gane on Sept. 3. That comes following his stunning defeat of Derrick Lewis back in February. Pavlovich also knocked out Lewis in his most recent fight back on July 30.
Shows heart in epic battle
September 3, 2022
Tuivasa lost to Ciryl Gane via KO (punches) at 4:23 of Round 3 at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Paris.
It's the rare instance in which a fighter's stock rises despite the setback. Few gave Tuivasa a chance to win here, but nearly pulled off another shocking upset yet again. Tai was hopelessly outclassed in terms of both speed and athleticism, but his power is legitimate, and he floored Gane in Round 2 with one of his trademark punches. Gane somehow was able to hang on, and Tuivasa eventually ate too many shots, particularly to the body, to continue. Tai had won five straight fights entering this one, all via knockout. He's deceptively athletic for his size, although the cardio is an issue, and he's never going to beat better competition unless he knocks them out. Tuivasa will almost certainly never be a UFC champion, but it's a spectacle every single time he steps into the Octagon, and that gives him long-term staying power within the company. He'll also take home an extra $50,000 after this back-and-forth affair was awarded Fight of the Night honors.
Title-implicating fight ahead?
May 1, 2022
Tuivasa is being targeted for a heavyweight matchup against Ciryl Gane for the UFC's proposed return to Paris, France on Sept. 3, MMAJunkie.com reports.
With the status of heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou uncertain, in addition to his rumored foray into boxing, this matchup could very well serve as a title eliminator (if the UFC doesn't just decide to go ahead and slap an "interim" tag on it). Of course, that may depend on what happens with Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic this summer. Nonetheless, this is a chance for Tuivasa to cement himself among the UFC heavyweight elites and bring him that much closer to a title shot. Still, look for "Bam Bam" to enter as a heavy underdog. Gane is probably the most technical striker he's ever faced, and Gane's only real perceived weakness seems to be takedown defense, as shown by his fight against Ngannou. Tuivasa has yet to record a takedown in 11 UFC fights, however, so look for this proposed matchup to be contested almost entirely on the feet. Tuivasa likely won't win on volume, so he'll need to stay patient in search of his one big shot.
Stuns Derrick Lewis in Houston
February 12, 2022
Tuivasa defeated Derrick Lewis via KO (elbow) at 1:40 of Round 2 at UFC 271 on Saturday in Houston.
This victory will quiet those who were of the opinion that Tuivasa's rise in the rankings was simply the result of beating up on inferior competition. Lewis might not be Francis Ngannou or Ciryl Gane, but he's light years better than the guys Tuivasa had been facing of late. Tai didn't win this fight as much as he did survive. Lewis landed the bigger, more powerful shots and even mixed in a couple takedowns for good measure, but Tuivasa, while bending, never broke. There appeared to be at least a couple of instances in which Lewis would close the show, but Tai survived. He was able to drain his challenger's gas tank just enough to land a combination along the fence followed by one vicious elbow which floored Lewis and sent him face first to the mat. Tuivasa has now won five fights in a row dating back to October 2020. The odds would appear to be against him extending this run simply because of Tuivasa's extremely limited offensive arsenal, but there have been a ton of fighters in this sport who have made nice careers for themselves on the strength of power in their hands and elite durability. Tuivasa is the latest.
Taking on Derrick Lewis
January 7, 2022
Tuivasa is expected to face Derrick Lewis at UFC 271 in Houston on Feb. 12, MMAFighting.com reports.
Tuivasa lost three straight fights in 2018 and 2019 but has rebounded in dominant fashion. He's scored knockout victories in his last four fights, winning in an average of three minutes and five seconds. His opponent, Lewis, has won five of his last six fights, bouncing back from his August TKO defeat to Ciryl Gane by knocking out Chris Daukaus in December.