The UFC is finalizing a big time matchup in the heavyweight division for their July PPV. MMA Junkie reported yesterday that the promotion was closing the deal on a heavyweight clash between knockout artists Greg Hardy (7-3, 1 NC) and Tai Tuivasa (11-3).
The matchup will take place at UFC 264 on July 10th. Greg Hardy has been asking for this matchup and the former NFL player is getting his wish. Hardy wanted someone to stand and trade with and he will get that in Tuivasa.
In 2020, it looked like Greg Hardy was taking a big step forward in his UFC career. He had a good decision win over Yorgan De Castro before knocking out Maurice Greene in October.
After that knockout of Greene, the UFC turned Hardy around quickly to have him fight Marcin Tybura in December. A win over Tybura would have likely put Hardy in the UFC‘s top fifteen in the heavyweight division.
In the first round, Hardy looked fantastic. His striking was good and his speed was giving Tybura fits. However, Hardy gassed out badly and in the second round he was taken down. Once on the ground, he looked completely lost and Tybura got the TKO over an exhausted Greg Hardy.
For Hardy to take the next step in his UFC career, he needs a signature win. He needs a win over a big guy with a good following behind him. He’s going to get that chance on July 10th.
UFC 264 heavyweight clash
In June of 2019, it looked like Tai Tuivasa was going to challenge for the UFC heavyweight title. The Australian was a perfect 9-0 and he was souring in the heavyweight division. That’s when he met former champion, Junior Dos Santos.
JDS knocked Tuivasa out in the second round. After that, the UFC gave Tuivasa the tough Blagoy Ivanov and Ivanov won by decision. At UFC 243, Sergey Spivak was able to secure an arm-triangle choke against Tuivasa in the second round.
After starting his career perfectly, Tuivasa has lost three in a row. With his back against the wall, the UFC gave Tuivasa a fight with Stefan Struve last October. Tuivasa got back to his winning ways with a first round knockout.
He followed that up with another first round knockout a couple of weeks ago over Harry Hunsucker. Now, with back-to-back knockout wins, Tuivasa looks to have his mojo back. Whoever wins at UFC 264 is going to take a big step forward and I think it’s safe to say this fight won’t go the distance.