Tai Tuivasa made the journey to Houston in February to take on the city’s favorite fighter, Derrick Lewis.
Tuivasa (15-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) typically has the full support of fans in attendance thanks to his likable personality fan-friendly fight style and his affinity for drinking beer from a shoe after finishing his opponents. However, at UFC 271, fans were torn when he stepped in to face Lewis (26-10 MMA, 17-8 UFC) in his backyard.
By the end of the fight, he would have the crowd on their feet as he downed a signature shoey.
The first round was grapple-heavy for the first few minutes, aside from a couple of hard exchanges. Tuivasa clinched and held Lewis against the fence until broken up by the referee. A few moments later, Lewis would get Tuivasa to the ground, posture up, and start unloading heavy punches. Tuivasa kept firing back as he returned to his feet, in a wild moment that many expected from this matchup.
The fight would continue into the second round, but would not make it past that.
Lewis stunned Tuivasa with big punches in the first minute, but “Bam Bam” was able to clinch and slow the momentum. Just a few seconds later though, the pair separated and began throwing bombs. This time Tuivasa found Lewis’ chin, and landed the elbow strike to end the fight at 1:40 by knockout.
Tuivasa steps back in the cage to face former interim heavyweight champ Ciryl Gane in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 209 at Accor Arena in Paris. In his second fight of 2022, Tuivasa will attempt to extend his five-fight stoppage streak to six, as he hunts for a title shot.
It will be a home game for Gane, who will look to rebound from the first loss of his pro MMA career from UFC 270 vs. Francis Ngannou. Prior to the defeat, Gane won his first seven UFC bouts, including stoppages of Lewis and former champion Junior dos Santos.