Hold onto your shoes ladies and gentlemen, Tai Tuivasa is back!
The Australian heavyweight hasn’t been in the Octagon for a year, but is confirmed to be returning against Stefan Struve at UFC 254 on October 25th.
Headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje, this card has already been touted as one of the biggest of the year. Now that these two heavy hitters have been thrown into the mixer, it’s looking livelier than ever.
HOLD ON TO THOSE SHOES, BAM BAM IS BACK 👟🍺
— UFC_AUSNZ (@UFC_AUSNZ) September 24, 2020
It’s actually been a while since fans have seen Struve in action too, with the Dutchman’s last outing resulting in a second round TKO loss to Ben Rothwell back in December. At 7 foot tall, Struve is the tallest fighter in the history of the UFC. Still just 32, he is a veteran of 23 fights in the promotion having made his debut against Junior Dos Santos back in 2009.
He represents an intriguing challenge for Tuivasa who desperately needs to get back in the win column. The 10-3 slugger is currently riding a three-fight skid. It’s unfamiliar territory for the 27-year-old, who won his first 10 pro fights including his first three in the UFC.
Tuivasa, a former rugby league player, has awesome KO power, plenty of charisma and a penchant for drinking beer out of people’s shoes. Needless to say, he quickly became a fan favourite.
But the Australian’s career hit a bump in the road when he headlined his first UFC event in his home country. Up against Dos Santos, Tuivasa was outclassed by the former champion. Having dropped a Unanimous Decision to Blagoy Ivanov at UFC 238, he was then submitted by Sergey Spivak four months later. A 3-fight skid in the UFC makes life precarious for even the biggest names.
Despite his popularity, a casual joke on social media lead many to believe that it was the end of the road for “Bam Bam.”
— Zen Ginnen (@ZenGinnen) August 12, 2020
It will be interesting to see if Tuivasa can regain the kind of form that took the heavyweight division by storm when he first arrived. If he’s to secure his position in the UFC, he’ll probably need to. Either way, it’s a clash with the potential to bring plenty of fireworks.
Will Tai Tuivasa be back necking celebratory shoeys at UFC 254, or will it be another W for the veteran Stefan Struve?