Tai Tuivasa continued to build his brand and momentum with a stellar knockout of Augusto Sakai before celebrating with his marquee shoey on the prelims of UFC 269. Tuivasa rendered a competitive first round inconsequential by separating Sakai from consciousness less than one minute into the second round of their clash at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The opening round started a little slow with “Bam Bam” and Sakai measuring each other at range. Much of the round took place in the clinch, where Sakai landed multiple knees to the midsection before Tuivasa returned fire with short-range elbows. Tuivasa (13-3) and Sakai (15-4-1) met in the center of the middle frame to exchange shots. Tuivasa landed with a staggering counter left hook that set up the fight-ending sequence. Sakai retreated to the fence and was met with a barrage of hooks and uppercuts. A particularly brutal right hook from the Australian slept Sakai, folding him backwards. Tuivasa vs. Sakai was officially waved off at 0:26 of round two via knockout.
Tuivasa, 28, celebrated the occasion by climbing up the side of the Octagon, filling a shoe with beer and slurping it back. The exit to the back was equally refreshing, if not more unhygienic, as he chugged various beers from fans and even took a beer shower on the ramp.
Can’t get enough boxing and MMA? Get the latest in the world of combat sports from two of the best in the business. Subscribe to Morning Kombat with Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell for the best analysis and in-depth news, including instant analysis of UFC 269 at the conclusion of the event.
Sakai’s first career losing streak now extends to three consecutive losses following previous setbacks against Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Alistair Overeem.
The unranked “Bam Bam” is on the best run of his UFC career with four consecutive finishes over Sakai (No. 11), Greg Hardy, Harry Hunsucker and Stefan Struve. It marks a stark change in fortunes from Tuivasa’s three-fight skid between December 2018 and October 2019.