This past Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 293, we saw a battle between two top ten heavyweights with a lot on the line. The hometown guy “Bam Bam” Tai Tuivasa (15-6) was fighting in front of his home country looking to avoid a third straight loss as he took on “Drago” Alexander Volkov (37-10).
Stylistically, this was a tough matchup for Tuivasa. Tuivasa is the type of fighter who needs to get on the inside to be successful. Volkov is the longest heavyweight in the division and he’s very hard to deal with. Tuivasa entered the bout having been stopped in his previous two bouts by Ciryl Gane and Sergei Pavlovich.
When the fight started, it was clear where the focus was for Tuivasa. He started chopping with big leg kicks. However, Volkov was able to take them and first big shots right down the middle. Tuivasa was struggling coming over the top and was getting hit clean by Drago.
Late in the first round, Tuivasa was nearly finished by a big flurry from Volkov. In the second round, Tuivasa really started to dig in with his calf kicks. However, they were becoming clearer to see coming and Volkov caught one and took it to the ground.
Once it was there, Volkov advanced to the mount and locked in an Ezekiel choke. Tuivasa tried to fight it but ultimately tapped leading to another loss at UFC 293.
What’s next after UFC 293?
Tai Tuivasa has lost three straight fights for the second time in his career. The last time this happened, he was nearly cut by the UFC. However, he rededicated himself to his career and would go on to win five straight fights all by knockout. Now, he’s back in that first boat having lost three fights in a row.
So, where does he go from here. To be honest, there are not a ton of great options right now. Had they not just fought last year with Tuivasa getting the knockout win, I’d point to Derrick Lewis as an option. A fight I’ve loved for Lewis is a fight that would work for Tuivasa as well and that’s Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
Either way, I think the UFC should give someone Tuivasa can bang with in his next fight.