Tai Tuivasa isn't so sure his UFC-Sydney win was by flying-knee knockout, but it'll do

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

SYDNEY – Tai Tuivasa wasn’t entirely sure how he did it, but he felt pretty good about his first-round knockout of Rashad Coulter at UFC Fight Night 121.

And why not? A brutal stoppage win in his UFC debut was good news for the former boxer and professional rugby player. And fighting in front of his home crowd didn’t prove too nerve-wracking, especially once Tuivasa (6-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) settled in.

“Once my music came on, and I heard my peoples, I was at home,” Tuivasa told MMAjunkie. “Once I’m in the cage throwing punches, I’m all good.”

Still, Tuivasa wasn’t entirely clear on how he’d accomplished this feat when questioned so soon after the bout. Asked about the kick that had scooped Coulter’s leg out from under him, Tuivasa seemed surprised to learn he’d thrown one.

As for the flying knee that dropped Coulter (8-4 MMA, 0-2 UFC) cold on the mat in the final minute of the opening round? Tuivasa wasn’t convinced that his hang time made him deserving of the distinction.

“I don’t think it was a flying (knee),” Tuivasa said. “I don’t even think I got off the ground that much. But it was there.”

Now, at 24 and with an undefeated professional record in MMA, Tuivasa finds himself suddenly in the UFC spotlight. He’s yet to fight outside of Australia, but a memorable win in his UFC debut is bound to draw some attention, which he isn’t exactly shying away from, despite his relative inexperience.

“I’m here to fight,” Tuivasa said. “If I get caught, I’m coming to swing. That’s what we do. That’s why I’m in this sport. If you’re not here to become the best, you’re wasting your time.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC-Sydney prelims brought some violent fights and finishes – and one pretty slick one

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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC

The UFC Fight Night 121 prelims brought some memorable action, even if some of it was so violent that those involved may not remember it all.

Fortunately, it was all captured on film, from the sudden fight-ending strikes to the back-and-forth battles.

The best example of the latter came in the form of the 160-pound catchweight bout between Frank Camacho and Damien Brown. After a near rear-naked choke finish early on, both men settled into a wild stand-up scrap that thrilled the Sydney crowd right up until the final horn.

Camacho would come away with the split-decision victory, much to Brown’s dismay, but how could anyone be too disappointed after a fight like that – one worthy of “Fight of the Night?”

As for the “performance” bonuses, heavyweight Tai Tuivasa made his case in the very next fight with a flying knee knockout of Rashad Coulter, followed by a right hand that – thankfully – just missed the chin of the downed Coulter.

Not to be outdone, flyweight Ryan Benoit tried to atone for his failed weight cut with a blistering head-kick knockout of Ashkan Mokhtarian in the third round. Despite eating a couple hard lefts earlier in the fight, Benoit proved that all it takes is one well placed shot to decide the matter beyond doubt.

But it wasn’t all knockouts. Despite getting bloodied up on the feet early, Nik Lentz rebounded with a guillotine choke to force the tap from Will Brooks in lightweight action.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 121 results: Tai Tuivasa takes out Rashad Coulter with first-round knee KO

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With a leaping right knee, Tai Tuivasa announced his arrival to the UFC’s heavyweight division.

Tuivasa (6-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) took out Rashad Coulter (8-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) with a first-round knockout in his promotional debut, getting the stoppage with 25 seconds left in the first round. It was another first-round knockout for “Bam Bam” Tuivasa.

The heavyweight bout was part of the preliminary card of today’s UFC Fight Night 121 event at at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. It aired on FS1 following additional prelims on UFC Fight Pass and ahead of the main card on FS1.

Coulter tied Tuivasa up quickly and drove him to the fence. But Tuivasa reversed the position quickly and pushed his back to the cage. About a minute in, they broke apart and Tuivasa landed two big punches, then tied things back up. But 90 seconds in, Coulter managed to get a takedown and got on top in side control.

Tuivasa got back up and escaped back to his feet. Midway through, they nearly tied up again, but Tuivasa clipped Coulter with a jab, then a solid leg kick. Tuivasa stepped in with 90 seconds left and tripped Coulter to the canvas. Then he loaded up with right hands and connected before Coulter got back to his feet. Huge elbows landed for Tuivasa with a minute left, but Coulter stayed on his feet.

Tuivasa landed with kicks after that and stayed patient. A big right kick took Coulter’s legs out from under him, and when Coulter got back to his feet, Tuivasa took advantage. He landed a huge leaping left knee that put Coulter out and on the canvas.

Tuivasa continued the perfect start to his pro career with his sixth straight win. All six have come by first-round knockout. Coulter lost for the second straight time, including a knockout loss to Chase Sherman at UFC 211 in May in front of his home Texas fans. He now has the first losing skid of his pro career.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 121 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s John Morgan contributed to this report on site in Sydney.)

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 121 media day face-offs: Sorry, there were no boomerangs

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SYDNEY – While former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum has been involved in the biggest headlines surrounding this week’s UFC Fight Night 121 event in Australia, “Vai Cavalo” was a bit more subdued on stage today when standing across from opponent Marcin Tybura.

UFC Fight Night 121 takes place Saturday (Sunday locally) at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. It airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Standing in stark contrast to this week’s hotel-lobby clash, Werdum (22-7-1 MMA, 10-4 UFC) and Tybura (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) were respectful during a quick meeting on stage at a ballroom inside this week’s host hotel. The same stood for the session’s other featured athletes, including Elias Theodorou (13-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) vs. Daniel Kelly (13-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC), Alex Volkanovski (15-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) vs. Shane Young (11-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) and Rashad Coulter (8-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) vs. Tai Tuivasa (7-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC).

Check out the video above to see this week’s media day face-offs.

For more on UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night in Sydney gets its first bout – with a pair of KO artists

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The lineup is officially taking shape for the UFC’s return to Australia.

Newcomer Tai Tuivasa (7-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is slated to fight fellow heavyweight slugger Rashad Coulter (8-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at the UFC event, likely to be UFC Fight Night 121, UFC officials announced via dailytelegraph.com.au.

The event takes place Nov. 18 (Nov. 19 in Australia due to the time difference) at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. It’s expected to air on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Tuivasa, a 24-year-old Australian, turned pro in 2012 and has fought infrequently over the years. However, when he does fight, it usually doesn’t last long; the former rugby player posted first-round knockout wins in all seven of his career victories. Most recently, he defeated former UFC fighter James McSweeney, whose corner halted the bout after the first round, in October 2016. Tuivasa needed knee surgery after the bout.

“James snapped three of my knee ligaments with a leg lock,” Tuivasa told dailytelegraph.com.au. “After the fight, I required a knee reconstruction. That’s why I’ve had to wait an entire year between fights.

“I signed with the UFC almost immediately after the win, but I’ve just had to wait for the knee to get right. And now it feels awesome.”

He meets a fellow KO artist in Coulter, a former Bellator and LFA fighter who signed with the UFC earlier this year. In his promotional debut, the 35-year-old Texan suffered a knockout loss to Chase Sherman, which halted his five-fight winning streak – one that included five first-round knockouts. However, he picked up a $50,000 “Fight of the Night” bonus despite the defeat.

For more on UFC Fight Night in Sydney, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie