Although many expected Derrick Lewis or Tai Tuivasa to be the ones to be stopped at UFC 271, few expected it to be Tai Tuivasa.
Tuivasa and Lewis were both primed and ready to unleash their devastating one-punch knockdown power at the first indication of a blunder. Lewis stepped up his aggression as Tuivasa tried to set up his leg kicks, and he went head-hunting with his fists.
Early on, Tuivasa and Lewis exchanged blows, but Tuivasa eventually got the boat to the clinch. However, Lewis’s fist brought down the bout with an inside trip after Tuivasa had delivered several heavy knees.
A short skirmish on the ground was followed by a return to the feet by the two giants, who hurled wildly close to the fence. Despite taking a couple heavy blows in the first round, Tuivasa was able to go to Round 2. Lewis unleashed a barrage of punches in the second round and seemed to rediscover his bearings. Tuivasa was soon backed up against the fence, but the action was brought back to the close by his rapid movement.
Bam Bam slept Derrick Lewis😴 #UFC271
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) February 13, 2022
When the two guys got back together after a short break, powerful blows were fired from both sides. Towards the end, Tuivasa emerged as the victor, knocking out the infamous knockout king with a vicious right elbow. Lewis entered UFC 271 in search of revenge after losing the interim heavyweight championship to Ciryl Gane at UFC 265. At UFC Vegas 45 in December, he stunned Chris Daukaus with an impressive first-round knockout.
Having won five of his past six fights before UFC 271, Lewis has established himself as the UFC’s all-time Knockout king. As one of the top heavyweights, he’s still a force to be reckoned with.
Tuivasa rose to prominence in 2021 when he knocked out Greg Hardy, Harry Hunsucker, and Augusto Sakai in a row. Following a first-round knockout of Stefan Struve at UFC 254 to close out 2020, he surged into the heavyweight conversation. He has established himself as a fan favorite in addition to his spectacular bouts and strong knockouts owing to his fun-loving demeanor and post-fight shoeys. Lewis’ fans in Houston, Texas, didn’t seem to like him as much as they usually do.
Tuivasa’s victory against Lewis puts him one inch closer to a possible heavyweight championship opportunity in 2022.
Tuivasa’s victory in Lewis’ hometown, when he fought a risky bout with him on the legs, and still he emerged victoriously, was astounding. Since his first fight in September, Tuivasa has dominated the UFC heavyweight class, winning five straight bouts via knockout.