LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JULY 10: Tai Tuivasa of Australia reacts after knocking out Greg Hardy in their heavyweight fight during the UFC 264 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 10, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
A battle of heavy hitters that was supposed to happen weeks ago finally goes down this weekend as Tai Tuivasa, with his visa issues behind, looks to continue his run up the heavyweight ladder against Augusto Sakai who is looking to start one of his own.
Both men possess heavy hands, but one possesses a better gas tank, so it will be interesting to see which one ends up making a difference first.
Tai Tuivasa versus Augusto Sakai Preview
Tuivasa would start his UFC career with two wins over Cyril Asker and Andrei Arlovski, and he had a record of 9-0 with only Arlovski making it to a decision. He had seemed to have earned the respect of many and was seen as a potential future contender. Sadly, he would lose his next three fights against Junior dos Santos, Blagoy Ivanov, and Sergey Spivak and many had started to lose faith in the Aussie. But a recent resurgence paired with a post-fight celebration has his star brighter than ever.
The knockouts he has had on his recent run, most recently of everyone’s least favorite UFC fighter Greg Hardy, have all been sensational, but it is the shoey celebrations that have put him over the top. With another knockout and shoey on Saturday, the sky could again be the limit for Tuivasa.
For Augusto Sakai, he finds himself in the unique situation to crash the Aussie party and start a run of his own. Sakai has strong hands of his own, but he has a more complete game than most Brazilian heavyweights do anymore. It’s that complete game that can cause issues for Tuivasa. He has shown a struggle with the grappling side of the heavyweight division and that is where Sakai could win this.
Neither man is ranked as of this moment and while a win for Sakai may need more juice to get there, it is entirely possible that Tuivasa cracks the top-15 of the division with a win on Saturday.
X-Factor of the Fight
It is simple, really. if Tai Tuivasa connects with Augusto Sakai’s chin, will it be able to hold up? Against the likes of Alistair Overeem and Jairzinho Rozenstruik, they both were able to knock out Sakai with ease almost as they both hurt him early and often but it is the Overeem fight that creates the biggest worry. Against Overeem, Sakai lasted four full rounds before succumbing to the punishment the Dutch kickboxer was dishing out, but then against Rozenstruik, he only lasted one round.
Both men’s chins will really decide this fight more so than any other skill they possess, so whoever gets clipped clean first may be the first one out when it is all said and done.
This fight is here for a good time, not a long time.
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