This past Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 271, we saw a battle between two of the most beloved heavyweights in the promotion. Knockout artists Derrick Lewis (26-9, 1 NC) and Tai Tuivasa (15-3) went head-to-head looking to get into the title picture at heavyweight.
The fight went almost as expected except for the fact that it went past the first round. In all honesty, I thought that Derrick Lewis would get the job done at UFC 271 and it looked like he was going to in the first round. In the first round, Lewis blasted Tuivasa and even landed a couple of takedowns.
To start the second round, Lewis rocked Tuivasa. However, the UFC’s knockout king couldn’t find the one shot that would put Tuivasa out. Instead, Tuivasa remained composed and in the fight. Then, just over 90 seconds into the second round, Tuivasa rocked Lewis.
Both men were trading big shots and then they ended up in a clinch. During the clinch, Tuivasa pushed Lewis back up against the fence and launched a vicious elbow that landed to Lewis’ chin. The Black Beast crumbled and Tuivasa picked up the biggest win of his career at UFC 271.
What’s next after UFC 271?
Tai Tuivasa entered Saturday as the 11th ranked heavyweight in the UFC. After his knockout win, he’s taken over the third ranking which was previously held by Derrick Lewis. Now, Tuivasa is perhaps just one more good win away from challenging for the heavyweight title.
With that, who should be next for Tuivasa? Well, the cloudiness at heavyweight makes things a little difficult. The UFC is working to mend fences and make a new deal with the heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou who fought out his contract at UFC 270.
Ngannou also has to have knee surgery which will keep him out most of 2022. At the moment, there appears to be some preliminary talks to have Jon Jones face off against Stipe Miocic for an interim title with the winner fighting Ngannou once the champion is healthy.
If that happens, Tuivasa would need another win and some patience before he gets a UFC title shot. That said, there is a fight that makes a ton of sense. I think the UFC should pair Tuivasa up against Ciryl Gane (10-1). Gane is coming off of a loss to Ngannou at UFC 270 and he’s currently ranked first in the rankings.
It’s a logical fight for both men and it’s just the type of test that Tuivasa needs. In fighting Lewis, Tuivasa had an opponent that would stand and trade with him. If he fights Gane, he’ll have to solve the puzzle that only Francis Ngannou has seemed to crack. If he could, you wouldn’t be able to deny Bam Bam of a title shot.