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Derrick Lewis-Tai Tuivasa Heavyweight Slugfest Added to UFC 271 in Houston


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It wouldn’t be an Ultimate Fighting Championship card in Houston these days without the inclusion of the great Derrick Lewis.

Lewis (26-8, 1 NC) will be back in action less than two months after his last victory when he takes on fellow heavy-handed brawler Tai Tuivasa (13-3) at UFC 271. The news first came from MMA Junkie on Friday, reporting that the two big men will throw down on Feb. 12 inside the Toyota Center in Houston. Other outlets confirmed this booking shortly after its announcement.

“The Black Beast” came back after an unsuccessful effort to vie for the interim strap against Ciryl Gane by shellacking Chris Daukaus in the first round in December. That knockout for the Houstonian put him on top of the list for the most knockouts in UFC history, breaking a tie held by Vitor Belfort and Matt Brown. Over the years, Lewis has beaten the likes of Francis Ngannou, Alexander Volkov, Curtis Blaydes and Roy Nelson to name a few. He will come into this three-round affair with an 85% finish rate.

Australia’s Tuivasa has been fairly streaky since joining the promotion in 2017, rattling off a trio of wins before coming up short three times in a row. Since 2020, Tuivasa has won all four of his appearances by knockout within 5:26. His current run has seen him lay waste to Augusto Sakai, Greg Hardy and Stefan Struve on his way up the rankings. “Bam Bam” trumps Lewis’ career finish rate with his own at 92%, and unlike Lewis, he has never won by submission. While Tuivasa has less than half (six) of Lewis’ record number of knockouts in the Octagon, the 28-year-old has time on his side and a skillset that could possibly reach that remarkable tally in the coming years.

UFC 271 will go down on Feb. 12 in Houston’s Toyota Center, with fans in attendance to see the headliner of Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Whittaker in a rematch for middleweight gold. It is currently unclear if Lewis-Tuivasa will serve in the co-main event slot, or if Jared Cannonier’s battle with Derek Brunson at 185 pounds retain its co-headlining slot.

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