The fact Tai Tuivasa’s been booked to fight a former champ, on a pay-per-view card, in just his third UFC bout, hasn’t gone unnoticed by MMA observers. If you disagree with the UFC’s promotional strategy, however, it sounds like you might have a problem with “Bam Bam”.
Tuivasa is set to take on Andrei Arlovski tonight at UFC 225, in a fight that will go down on the PPV’s main card. The Australian fighter has been tapped for the opportunity, after Tuivasa out Rashad Coulter and then Cyril Asker in his first two, UFC fights.
Well, in advance of what is unquestionably his biggest fight to date, Tuivasa had this to say about the push he’s been getting from the UFC (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“I claim myself to be a fighter. I don’t want to go fighting the lowest guys. I want to fight the guys who are legends and who are the best or who have been the best. Because one day I want to be the best. And to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.
“And I appreciate the push,” Tuivasa said. “The UFC, I feel like they’re pushing me there, and I think that I’m worth it. I don’t think there are many heavyweights doing what I’ve been doing, and I think I’m here to get (those) sparks back to the division.”
Yup. It’s pretty hard to argue here that Tuivasa hasn’t been getting more of a push from the promotion, than say, most fighters do three fights into their UFC run. Of course, it does happen from time-to-time, whereby, a fighter arrives in the UFC with some hype behind them already, and accordingly, they’re featured in promo ads, high stakes fights quicker than normal.
But, with Tuivasa, it’s pretty understandable. The heavyweight has scored, two memorable stoppages in both of his UFC bouts, and then of course, there was the now famous “shoey”, which heightened the buzz about the 25 year-old. There’s also his connection with the legendary Mark Hunt, and that’s just another interesting story line that’s tied to Tuivasa.
The question is, will the hype train and Tuivasa get by Arlovski tonight? Who is one of the most experienced heavyweights in the game? And has won two straight?
We shall see.