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UFC 221 results from last night: Tai Tuivasa vs Cyril Asker fight recap

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MMA: UFC Fight Night-Sydney-Coulter vs Tuivasa Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight knockout artists Tai Tuivasa and Cyril Asker squared off last night (Feb. 10, 2018) at UFC 221 inside Perth Arena in Perth, Australia.

Tuivasa was definitely an unknown in his UFC debut a couple months back. The pudgy build and limited experience didn’t inspire a ton of confidence, but “Bam Bam” made a name for himself by launching his 260-pound frame through the air to score a flying knee knockout in the very first round. Meanwhile, Asker had yet to really make any progress in the Heavyweight division, competing four times in the Octagon to mixed result. He was brought into this bout as an underdog to feed to Tuivasa, but it was also a chance for Asker to finally score a signature win.

Asker was light on his feet early, which was necessary considering how Tuivasa stepped deep into his right hand on every occasion. Before long, a big right hand stunned the Frenchman, who covered up along the fence. From that position, Tuivasa landed some devastating shots, alternating between the power left hook and right hand to the skull. In addition, he split his foe open lead elbows and ripped shots to the body repeatedly.

With Asker trapped along the fence, Tuivasa did not let up. “Bam Bam” was both methodical and ruthlessly powerful, keeping the pressure on his foe and dropping haymakers without gassing himself out. Asker showed remarkable heart to remain standing under a prolonged beating, but he eventually fell to his face just a couple minutes into the round.

Tuivasa definitely rush a bit to begin this fight, ignoring patience to make use of his speed and power advantages. That’ll be a risky approach if he attempts to employ it against better opposition, but Asker could not scare Tuivasa with his strikes nor takedowns.

Once Tuivasa had his opponent hurt, however, he showed his craft. Tuivasa did a tremendous job of picking shots according to the range and mixing punches to the body. It was a very promising showing from the 24 year old, and his intelligence in breaking Asker down tells me that even if he’s not yet at the level of a contender — which he may be — that he will grow to that level.

As for Asker, there’s not much to analyze. His game plan was smart and consisted of avoiding his foe’s rush and landing counters. Unfortunately, he did not find much success in avoiding the rush, as he was unable to make Tuivasa respect any part of his game. If he had land one stiff shot early, he may have been able to build from there and counter more effectively.

That didn’t happen though, and there was little Asker could do to stop his foe’s assault. Perhaps diving onto a takedown immediately would’ve been a better strategy, but that was unlikely to succeed either.

Being a Heavyweight journeyman is a rough career path.

Last night, Tai Tuivasa added another first-round knockout win to his record. Who should the knockout artist face next?

For complete UFC 221: “Rockhold vs. Romero” results and play-by-play, click HERE!