Tai Tuivasa made a short trip to the Octagon and has a long trip home to Australia after his devastating loss to Sergei Pavlovich at UFC Fight Night in Orlando, Florida. Pavlovich pummeled Tuivasa to a bloody pulp in less than one minute on Saturday night.
A friendly hug between Tuivasa and Pavlovich at the beginning of the fight was the only respite for fan-favorite Tuivasa. Pavlovich dropped "Bam Bam" with a jab early in Round 1 and swarmed his compromised opponent. Tuivasa covered up against the fence, absorbed shots and occasionally launched counter-fire. Pavlovich dodged most of Tuivasa's strikes and continued to unload a heavy barrage. The wounded fighter fell against the fence and referee Dan Mirgliotta was forced to intervene.
Pavlovich (17-1) entered the bout as the No. 5 ranked heavyweight contender. He will likely usurp Tuivasa's No. 4 ranking as he begins to nip on the heels of those in contention for the championship. Pavlovich scored his fifth consecutive first-round knockout in the UFC and has been flawless since losing to Alistair Overeem in his 2018 promotional debut.
Tuivasa (14-5) has now lost consecutive fights and will need to rebuild. Five consecutive knockouts earned Tuivasa a September main event spot against former interim titleholder Ciryl Gane in Paris. It wasbut one that ultimately ended in a stoppage loss. There were concerns about Tuivasa's quick turnaround against Pavlovich, three months to the day after his painful loss to Gane.