WATCH: Tai Tuivasa knocks out Stefan Struve in first-round at UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi

Tai Tuivasa is back in a big way.

Fighting for his job at UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi, Tuivasa did exactly what he needed to do to make sure he stays on the UFC roster, knocking out Stefan Struve in the first-round.

There was a ton of pressure on Tuivasa who entered the contest riding a three-fight losing skid.

“Honestly, it makes me work hard,” Tuivasa said in his post-fight interview with UFC commentator Jon Anik.

“Obviously you have that in the back of your head. It’s good to win man, its good to be back.”

It was a more measured approach from Tuivasa who had to overcome a massive reach advantage over Struve who towered over him at over 7-feet tall.

Tuivasa worked the body and chopped away at the leg of Struve before eventually turning up the heat and landing a flurry of punches to finish the fight in round one. There was not a moment to spare, with referee Jason Herzog waving the fight off with one second to go in the round.

The 27-year-old spent a little over a month at the American Kickboxing Academy earlier in 2020 before coming back to Australia as the world began to shut down.

The win is Tuivasa’s first since defeating Andrei Arlovski in 2018. It was his 8th win by KO and brings Tuivasa’s professional record to 9-3.

Tai Tuivasa vows to bounce back at UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi: ‘I’m not a loser’

 

My earliest combat sports memory is watching David Tua knock people out with his left hook.  I am extremely passionate about combat sports in Australia and my home country of New Zealand and I endeavour to grow the profile of martial arts and its athletes in both countries. Persistent Brazilian jiu-jitsu battler.