Australian heavyweight Tai Tuivasa will attempt to build on the considerable hype that he generated by flying through the air like a featherweight and crumpling Rashad Coulter with a knee on his promotional debut at UFC Fight Night 121 last month when he returns to action early next year at UFC 221.
The UFC announced on Monday that ‘Bam Bam’ will make his second trip to the octagon at the event in Perth on February 11th to face 31-year-old Frenchman Cyril Asker.
The 24-year-old Tuivasa turned pro in 2012, but didn’t compete for a three-year period between November of that year and December of 2015. He quickly made up for lost time however, scoring a 44-second TKO on his return to action, a 21-second KO in June of 2016 and another stoppage win that October.
When he finally got the call-up to MMA’s big leagues, the former professional rugby league player really made the most of the opportunity, impressing fans in Sydney with his athleticism, agility and his eventual KO of Coulter towards the close of the first round.
— Can'tSleepWon'tSleep (@CSWSpodcast) November 19, 2017
The win moved Tuivasa to 6-0, with all those wins coming by way of KO/TKO, and earmarked him as a real prospect in a division in need of new blood.
Asker made his UFC debut in April 2016, losing via KO to Jared Cannonier at UFC Fight Night 86. He rebounded with a stoppage win over Dmitry Smoliakov at the beginning of 2017, before being halted by Walt Harris in a mere 104 seconds 5 months later. Just one week after Tuivasa slept Coulter, however, Asker brought his promotional record back to par with a submission win over Yaozong Hu in Shanghai. He is now 9-3 overall and 2-2 in the UFC.