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UFC 271: Tai Tuivasa ready to KO Derrick Lewis after Dubai training


Ashwani Kumar

Published: Sat 12 Feb 2022, 5:06 PM

No. 11 Tai Tuivasa is all pumped up to face No. 3 Derrick Lewis in the heavyweight division clash at UFC 271 co-main event in the US on Sunday morning.

This is the biggest test in the career of the 28-year-old Australian, who lived and trained in Dubai for a year. His decision to move to the UAE has salvaged his career. Since December 2018, he went through a career slump, losing three fights in a row. In October 2020, his fortunes reversed with a first-round knockout win over Stefan Struve at UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi. And with Covid-19 restrictions in Australia affecting his training, he shifted base to Dubai.

“I love the UAE. Dubai has been awesome,” said the ‘Bam Bam’, who trained at TK MMA & Fitness in Dubai.

And last year, Tuivasa has been on a roll with knockout wins in all his three fights. In the past several months, the ‘Shoeyvasa’ saw his profile rise several stocks in the MMA.

Recollecting his decision to shift base to Dubai, he told Khaleej Times: “One night I was training in my garage. I just needed to do something and get out and work still. My best mate lived in Dubai, I had a friend and coach over there, so I thought I would go over and give it a crack. It has been really good, I’ve been able to do all the training and move around. I just have a really good group of people and support base around me so it has been working really well. So, I’ve stayed for a year.”

And now, Tuivasa knows what to expect inside the octagon as his opponent Lewis, ‘The Black Beast’, holds the record for the most knockout wins in UFC history.

“We are going to go out there trying to take each other’s heads off. The person who does it the smartest is probably going to come away with the win. It is a big challenge but I am looking forward to it. A win would get me up there in the big conversations but Derrick is my first task.”

After the fight, Tuivasa would head to Australia but promises to return to Dubai.

“My son starts school. So, I want to be around for that, but I will be back. This isn’t my last time in Dubai. I love the place. I love the people. It is an awesome place.”

The main card of UFC 271 will be the middleweight division fight between champion Israel Adesanya and No. 1 ranked Robert Whittaker. There are five bouts in the main card and action starts from 7 am on Sunday.

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