Heavyweight bangers Tai Tuivasa and Sergei Pavlovich came into their UFC Orlando main card bout off of the backs of thrilling fights: Tai earned Fight of the Night in his loss to Ciryl Gane while Pavlovich got a knockout win over the always tough Derrick Lewis.
The fourth and fifth ranked fighters in the heavyweight division respectively may have represented the most anticipated fight on Saturday’s card outside of the main event, as Tuivasa especially has become a fan favorite in the last year or so with his knockouts and shoeys.
An embrace in the center kicked off the fight and the big boys got to feeling each other out. Pavlovich came out swinging quickly and hurt Tuivasa but Tuivasa swung back, landing on Pavlovich. However, the Russian came back again and knocked down Tuivasa with a jab. Tai worked to get back to his feet but when he got back up he got stung again. Tai’s face began bleeding from the sheer thudding power of the punches alone and then one more big right hand dropped Tuivasa to the mat where ground and pound finished him off.
Pavlovich has now beaten Derrick Lewis and Tai Tuivasa in back-to-back fights and stamped himself as a legitimate title contender. Questions may arise in the aftermath about whether Tai’s quick comeback after a brutal knockout loss to Ciryl Gane was premature, but the win by Pavlovich was completely legitimate and very impressive.
Official Result: Sergei Pavlovich def. Tai Tuivasa by TKO (punches), Round 1, 0:54