It was looking to be Tai Tuivasa’s night early, but Junior Dos Santos battled back to earn a second round TKO in the UFC Adelaide main event.
UFC Adelaide’s main event boiled down to a simple format: old guard vs. new. While it’s crazy to think of Junior Dos Santos as part of the “old guard” in an aging division, he was years removed from his heavyweight title reign. At UFC Adelaide, he faced undefeated Australian heavyweight Tai Tuivasa, arguably the heavyweight of the future.
Tuivasa charged right in early, taking the fight to Dos Santos, but he nearly slipped, perhaps a little too wild. That would almost duplicate a few seconds later. Tuivasa then fired a leg kick. JDS was throwing jabs to the body, later he’d go upstairs with a head kick. The crowd was loud, and backing their man. Tuivasa clinched with Dos Santos briefly, and later had to back away from a spinning kick. JDS connected with a right, but Tuivasa seemed to walk right through it, pressing the Brazilian into the fence. Dos Santos went high with a spinning back kick. Tuivasa then slipped, but Dos Santos allowed him back up, for which Tuivasa was rather thankful. Dos Santos was circling by the fence, Tuivasa cutting him off. Tuivasa connected with a kick, trapped him, and unloaded a few shots. How hurt was the former champ? It was hard to tell, but Tuivasa’s boxing looked solid against one of the best boxers in the weight class.
The key for Tuivasa had been driving the ex-champ into the fence, launching attacks, then repeating the assault. Yet confidence isn’t always a good thing. As the fight progressed, Tuivasa seemed to get reckless.
Tai Tuivasa connected with a right over the top early in the second, and again, JDS had his back against the cage. Tuivasa pressed him in to the fence, looking for openings to fire off heavy overhand shots. Dos Santos escaped, and landed a couple of leg kicks out in the center. Dos Santos then clipped Tuivasa! The right hand wobbled him, but Tuivasa tried to shake it off. Rather than pull back, he re-engaged. Moments later, Dos Santos rocked him with another right! A third right, a left hook, and a heavy right knocked him down. Dos Santos then landed several more punches on the ground! JDS got on top in mount, firing ground n’ pound, while Tuivasa could do little more than punch up from the bottom. Before long, ref Herb Dean had seen enough, waving it off. Junior Dos Santos had come into enemy territory, and spoiled Tai Tuivasa’s big moment — and his perfect record.
— UFC (@ufc) December 2, 2018
“I have knockout power, and I can knock anyone out!” Dos Santos exclaimed after the fight. He called for a rematch with Alistair Overeem when all was said and done.
“Justin Willis you little bitch, I’m coming for you boy,” Tuivasa said afterward. The Australian was clearly still upset over the altercation involving Willis at the weigh-ins a day earlier. Both fighters still have plenty of fight left in them, and Tuivasa should learn a lot from the loss. Dos Santos, meanwhile, has now won two straight.
Junior Dos Santos def. Tai Tuivasa by TKO, Round 2, 2:30