Former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos faced down Tai Tuivasa in an effort to stay relevant tonight (Saturday, December 1, 2018) from inside the Adelaide Entertainment Center in Adelaide, Australia, live and free on Fox Sports 1.
Tai Tuivasa walked out after a traditional dance by half a dozen men in aboriginal dress. Junior dos Santos came out to the Rocky theme song.
They touched gloves. Tuivasa put his head forward and launched himself at Junior, who circled out and Tuivasa ended up on the cage. Tuivasa countered a kick with an overhand. Junior threw up another high kick that went off the arms. Tuivasa threw two lead hooks and pinned dos Santos on the cage for a few moments. Junior spun a wheel kick at Tuivasa’s midsection. Tuivasa threw a huge overhand that whiffed into the clinch, dos Santos broke away. He stepped in and dos Santos landed a rear hook on the way in. Tuivasa landed an elbow on the break. JDS tried another spinning kick that was stuffed. Tuivasa leaned away from a one-two, tried a knee and landed on his ass, then got up and grinned at the mistake. Tuivasa was cutting off the cage, and landed a big overhand. He buckled Junior with a low kick that sent both of the Brazilian’s legs flying, then started teeing off on Junior against the cage! The round ended, but that was a strong way to close it out from Tuivasa.
They touched gloves again to start the second. Tuivasa avoided a couple jabs and Junior’s mobility seemed affected. Tuivasa landed an overhand and another couple hooks, punching his way into the clinch repeatedly. Finally, dos Santos circled off and began to use his jab, checking and returning a low kick. Tuivasa worked him to the cage again, punching into the clinch Junior landed a couple huge counterpunches that dropped Tuivasa! Junior dropped on top in side control as Tuivasa tried to survive. Junior mounted him, began dropping the big punches! Tuivasa had no answer, trying to punch back up from the bottom! Incredible finish for the Brazilian, who survived a very dicey first round to come back with a win. Tuivasa got up and swore loudly, very frustrated with the result.
It took four counters in a row to drop Tuivasa, a straight punch, an overhand, another overhand, then a hook as Tuivasa found himself at a bad angle. He will no doubt be back, but Junior dos Santos showed that his striking power can’t be disregarded, getting his first stoppage win since knocking out Tuivasa’s teammate Mark Hunt in 2013.
“What’s up Aussie!!” shouted Junior, to a muted chorus of boos. He said Tuivasa kicked him very hard, but “I have knockout power, and I can knock anyone out!” He said he would take any opponent next, but a rematch with Alastair Overeem makes the most sense right now.
Tai Tuivasa had a lot of his interview bleeped out, but ended it with “Justin Willis, you little bitch! I’m coming for you.” He told the cheering crowd that he would be back.
Official result: Junior dos Santos def. Tai Tuivasa via TKO at 2:30 of Round 2
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