MMA Record: 7-0
UFC Record: 2-0
Notable Wins: Cyril Asker, Rashad Coulter
Notable Losses: None
Last Fight: KO win over Cyril Asker
Fighter Profile: One of the top young heavyweights in the sport, Tuivasa has looked exceptional in his MMA career so far, going a perfect 7-0 including 2-0 in the UFC with all of his wins coming by knockout. He’s a big guy but he has a lot of athleticism and he’s able to utilize all of his limbs to knock his opponents out as all of his body parts have knockout power in them. Tuivasa is still untested going into deep waters and we don’t know how his chin or cardio will hold up, or his takedown defense for that matter, but the UFC has been very smart in the way it has been booking his fights so far. This is a guy who has all the makings of a future star, but he still needs to prove himself against a ranked opponent, and a win over Arlovski will put him into the heayweight top-15.
MMA Record: 27-15, 1 NC
UFC Record: 16-9
Notable Wins: Stefan Struve, Frank Mir, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, Ben Rothwell, Roy Nelson
Notable Losses: Stipe Miocic, Alistair Overeem, Josh Barnett, Francis Ngannou
Last Fight: Decision win over Stefan Struve
Fighter Profile: The former UFC heavyweight champion, Arlovski has fought the best heavyweights in the world for nearly the past 20 years with a tremendous amount of success every step of the way. The Belarusian was blessed with knockout power and speed and it’s allowed him to have a terrific career in the sport of MMA but one thing that’s always been a problem for Arlovski has been his chin as he’s been knocked out 10 times in his career so far. To his credit, Arlovski’s chin has held up in his last two fights as he’s picked up upset wins over Junior Albini and Stefan Struve, but the UFC is doing him no favors by matching him up against one of the heavyweight division’s top prosepcts in Tuivasa. If Arlovski fights a smart fight he could maybe utilize his experience and cardio to win a decision, but on paper this looks like another tough matchup for him where another knockout loss could be looming.
Fight Breakdown: I can’t see this fight ending in any other way besides a brutal KO win for Tuivasa. The big Aussie is 14 years younger, he’s faster and more athletic, and he possesses devastating KO power in all of his limbs. Arlovski’s chin is something you can’t trust and going up against a guy with this much explosive knockout power just seems like a terrible scenario for him. The UFC views Tuivasa as a future star and the matchmakers have booked him in a fight against a big name that favors him stylistically. I’m taking Tuivasa to win this fight by first-round knockout, and he should be a frontrunner to win a “Performance of the Night” bonus.
Prediction: Tai Tuivasa via KO