Tai Tuivasa and Derrick Lewis are set to touch gloves at UFC 271 in the co-main event on Saturday in Houston.
Tuivasa, who hails from Australia, could join New Zealander Israel Adesanya or countryman Robert Whittaker as big winners on the night for Australasia
It won’t be easy against Lewis, who has a devastating knockout punch. UFC odds have Lewis as the firm favorite, but we don’t think it will be a walk in the park for the American.
Tai Tuivasa vs Derrick Lewis
No Bad Blood
One thing we love about Tai Tuivasa and Derrick Lewis is their relaxed attitudes.
The pair have become friends, mostly because of their distaste for both Greg Hardy and Jon Jones, with the latter being a potential matchup later this year.
However, despite getting along well, Lewis refuses to do a “shoey” given the circumstances.
“Yeah, he’s good, man. I like him,” Lewis told MMAJunkie. “I like Tai, and I really appreciate him knocking out Greg Hardy like he did in the last fight. Greg was talking a lot of trash that week, so I appreciate it, but I just don’t like the beer-drinking out of the shoe and all that.
“What y’all do out there? I don’t like all that. That’s nasty. My feet smell cheesy. I just can’t imagine just another man’s sweat in – I don’t know.”
Lewis has the added pressure of being the sportsbook favorite following his incredible knockout win over Chris Daukaus at UFC Fight Night in December.
It was a good bounce-back victory after being knocked out by Ciryl Gane in August. Lewis, who is one of the most chilled fighters in the UFC, stays relaxed in the Octagon, which is a huge advantage.
It doesn’t matter how much time is left on the clock, he’s a knockout threat. His 2018 come-from-behind knockout win over Alexander Volkov came with just 11 seconds left on the clock, despite being behind.
That’s the threat Tuivasa needs to be aware of, otherwise it could be lights out for the Aussie.
Tuivasa Packs Power
Tai Tuivasa continued to get better with every UFC fight. He showcased his power when knocking out Augusto Sakai at UFC 269 early in the second round.
The likable bruiser improved to 14-3 with the victory and he also has wins over Stefan Struve and Andrei Arlovski on his record.
He went through a tough 2019, but he has come out the other side, and now a potential heavyweight title fight is on the horizon.
The 28-year-old knocked out Hardy and the towering Struve, which is possibly his most impressive win. Tuivasa was giving away a stack of height, but he lowered Struve to his level to land a knockout with one second left in the first round.
Much like Lewis, he has mutual respect for his opponent.
“I’m a big fan of Derrick, as well,” Tuivasa said. “I think we’re kinda the same, you know what I mean? We go in there to bang on, and we’re usually the crowd favorites so shout out to Derrick.”
Betting online markets have Tuivasa at +150, which is a fair price for the power puncher. He’s +225 to win by knockout, so bettors can lock in excellent odds.
Bam Bam to Land KO Blow
Going against Lewis isn’t the easiest bet to make, but we can’t turn down the value for Tuivasa.
He showed off his power last time in the Octagon and that should worry Lewis, who can get lazy at times.
The +150 odds make him one of our best UFC bet for UFC 271, so include him in your selections.