UFC Fighter Tai “Bam Bam” Tuivasa takes the title “King of Knockouts”

Tai Tuivasa represented Indigenous Australians and Samoans on the world stage during NAIDOCWeek at UFC264 in LA, July 2021.

Tai Tuivasa represented Indigenous Australians and Samoans on the world stage during NAIDOCWeek at UFC264 in LA, July 2021. Courtesy of UFC Australia, 2021.

In a previous post, we looked at how Indigenous UFC Fighter Tai ‘Bam Bam’ Tuivasa [is] KO’ing his way to Stardom and making firsts in the realm of mixed-martial arts as a First Nations Australian. Today, we’ll look at how Tuivasa has started turning heads in Las Vegas and increased his ranking to #3 in the heavyweight division following an undefeated streak!

After three straight losses across 2018-2019, Tuivasa has bounced back as a serious contender with an undefeated streak of 5 KO rounds.

On July 11 2021, at the UFC 264 round in Las Vegas, the Aboriginal Samoan heavyweight claimed his third-straight win by knockout against former NFL star Greg Hardy. This incredible fight saw Tuivasa KO Hardy in the first round in 67 seconds with a counter left hook. In pure Tuivasa fashion, he entered the Octagon carrying the Aboriginal flag, singing along to an iconic pop song (this time it was the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe”) and finished the round doing shoeys, with the crowd roaring. After this thrilling round, it came as no surprise that Tuivasa also received the “performance of the night” bonus, pocketing USD$75,000 (UFC, 2022).



Later that year, on December 12, Tuivasa claimed his fourth-straight win by knockout against Augusto Sakai at the UFC 269 event in Las Vegas inside the T-Mobile Arena (UFC, 2022).

In the biggest fight of Tuivasa’s career so far, he knocked out #3 heavyweight challenger Derrick Lewis at the UFC 271 co-main event on February 13, 2022 in Houston. This time, walking out to Cyndi Lauper's “Girls just want to have fun,” Tuivasa was up against a UFC heavyweight legend with the most KO’s in the UFC’s heavy-weight history. “Bam Bam” came out strong in the second round with a devastating short-range elbow, rendering Lewis unconscious (UFC, 2022). 

“As the King of Knockouts, much respect to Dereck, but like I said, I’m young and I’m upcoming and I’m taking over now…I’m Bam Bam from Western Sydney baby, FTA; (I’ll fight) whoever, whatever," Tuivasa (2022) said in a drop-the-mic moment post-fight.

This win has propelled Tuivasa into title contention and has moved up his ranking to #3 in the UFC heavyweight division as of February 14, 2022. The win has also seen him join an elite group of only 10 fighters who have recorded streaks of five wins or more, and it has put him in the running to break UFC Hall-of-Fame Chuck Liddell’s record of seven straight knockouts. Tuivasa was awarded a $50,000 bonus for his incredible performance of the night (NIT, 2022).



Tai Tuivasa is a true inspiration both in terms of his sporting achievements and as an advocate for Indigenous representation and recognition. So, let’s continue to acknowledge and celebrate the success and contributions of Indigenous athletes and sportspeople.