Australian heavyweight Tai Tuivasa’s first-round knockout on Saturday of former NFL All-Pro Greg Hardy was only bested by his signature celebration. Tuivasa (12-3), the 28-year-old slugger who walked bent the cage to the tune of “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls, landed a counter left hook to floor Hardy (7-4, 1 NC) before finishing him with hammer punches. But Tuivasa truly gained the crowd’s admiration inside T-Mobile Arena at UFC 264 by climbing the cage wall and drinking beer out of a sneaker, which he refers to as a “shoey.”
The win was Tuivasa’s third straight as he stepped ever-so closer to heavyweight title contention, capping off a wild 67 seconds during this featured bout on the pay-per-view main card. “I want to fight someone within the top 10 or top 15, or something like that,” Tuivasa said. “I don’t provide a f—, I’m just here to try to do my thing and celebrate .” Tuivasa opened the fight with a series of calf kicks but was countered repeatedly with a tough jab from Hardy, which appeared to raise the arrogance of the embattled former NFL start. Hardy, whose career as an NFL defensive end ended after a suspension for violence and a poorly handled comeback with the Cowboys, fell to 4-4 (1 NC) inside the Octagon since his 2019 debut.
Hardy, 32, continued to stalk Tuivasa and snapped his head back with a straight right. But Hardy was too aggressive in his pursuit to potentially finish Tuivasa and his two-punch combo attempt was perfectly countered by a stiff left from Tuivasa to drop him permanently.