Tai Tuivasa is quickly becoming one of the UFC’s most popular stars.
That much was apparent at UFC 271, when even the fact that he was fighting, and knocked out, local favorite Derrick Lewis couldn’t turn the Houston crowd on him. From the moment “Bam Bam” walked out to Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, the crowd was behind Tuivasa.
Might they have preferred a Lewis victory? Certainly, but Tuivasa putting down “The Black Beast” care of a nasty elbow in the second round of the UFC 271 co-main event was an acceptable consolation prize.
It was also, without question, the biggest win of Tai Tuivasa’s career. And to go with that, the 28-year old Australian heavyweight was awarded one of two Performance of the Night bonuses.
Frankly, the Houston, Texas-based event felt like one of those shows where a few extra bonuses could have been handed out. Jeremiah Wells managed to choke out hyped-up newcomer Blood Diamond early, and Renato Moicano was hoping for big money with his submission of Alexander Hernandez on the main card. Instead, the second Performance of the Night bonus went to middleweight Jared Cannonier, who also put his opponent — in this case Derek Brunson — away with elbows.
Cannonier may also have cashed his ticket to a title fight, with Israel Adesanya suggesting a June date with the “Killa Gorilla” after defending his title later in the night.
Fight of the Night honors at UFC 271 went to Sergey Morozov and Douglas Silva de Andrade for a fight that seemed to slingshot back and forth between the two bantamweights. Morozov found success early and often in the opening round, but in the second, the Brazilian returned the favor, eventually rocking Morozov and catching him in a choke that put him to sleep.
All four fighters will be up an extra $50,000 for their efforts. Attendance at the Toyota Center was 17,872 for a gate of $4.3 million dollars U.S.