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UFC 88 Main Event Pick: Tuivasa vs. Tybura

UFC 88 Main Event Pick: Tuivasa vs. Tybura

UFC 88: MAIN EVENT PICK: TUIVASA VS. TYBURA – Once again, the UFC serves up a heavyweight headliner for the UFC Apex. This marks the 16th event at the venue headlines by a heavyweight fight, second most behind the middleweight division (17). There is not much tied to this fight in terms of stakes considering the trajectory both of the fighters are on, but at least it will get one fighter back into the win column.

Tai Tuivasa looks to buck the trend of his three-fight losing streak and is likely fighting to save his UFC roster spot.

Marcin Tybura intends to rebound from his July knockout defeat to now-interim champion, Tom Aspinall.

Will the hard-hitting style of Tuivasa allow him to notch his eighth UFC knockout? Or will the finesse and overall skillset of Tybura will him to his eighth victory in his last ten fights? Read on to see how these two different styles matchup and which will be supreme.

Hey, while you’re at it, click here to check out our Godzilla Wins Daily Staff Picks!

Tai Tuivasa

Starting his UFC career back in 2017 with a three-fight winning streak, Tuivasa was immediately thrown to former champion, Junior dos Santos. That sparks a three-fight losing streak as Tuivasa struggled with the level of competition he was being fed.

The UFC then decided to hand him a few softballs to build up some momentum and he was successful with knocking out his next five opponents. Unfortunately, he now finds himself on a three-fight losing streak, although he can take solace in knowing they are some of the toughest guys in the division.

Tuivasa has largely leaned on his knockout power to win his fights. He doesn’t implement any high-level footwork or striking mechanics that make him special.

It’s mainly him walking opponents down, chopping away at their legs every so often, then unloading with bombs to the head to find the kill shot. He often telegraphs his punches and due to his lack of speed, more skilled opponents can see the shots and get out of the way.

If he leaned on his kicks more heavily, I feel he could be more successful rather than just head hunting and filling the gaps in action with occasional leg kicks. Let’s not even get to the grappling considering he is 0/3 on takedown attempts through 14 UFC bouts.

Marcin Tybura

After going 4-5 to start his UFC career, Tybura really found a resurgence in 2020 that started the best run of his UFC career. Tybura mainly dealt with durability issues in three of his last four losses before 2020 and many people were writing him off.

However, he went on a five-fight winning streak that saw him withstand the power from heavy hitters like Ben Rothwell, Greg Hardy, and Walt Harris, all of whom he was able to defeat. He finished the latter two with ground and pound.

He then ran into Alexander Volkov in a very closely contested fight, one that the wide odds in favor of Volkov was a misrepresentation of how the fight played out.

Tybura bounced back with a massive upset over previously undefeated Alexandr Romanov as well as a decision over Blagoy Ivanov. Last time out, it was a 73-second knockout loss to now-interim heavyweight champion, Tom Aspinall.

What has made Tybura so successful in this stage of his career has been his ability to mix the martial arts together so well. His fight IQ is very high, which allows him to figure out in which realm he is best suited to take his opponent.

His striking if patient, technical, and disciplined, but also his timing on takedowns and engaging in the clinch has allowed him to stay away from the brunt of power from his opponents. It’s clear guys that are technically way better than him or have a significant athleticism advantage over him will be the ones to give him most trouble. Otherwise, he can do a good job of dictating where a fight will take place and at what pace.

The Pick

In heavyweight fights involving middling fighters, bettors often lean with the fighter with knockout power and automatically call it a day. However, I think there is more to this fight, especially in favor of the underdog.

Tybura has a more well-rounded skill set and I think he can put forth a good enough effort to nullify the knockout power of Tuivasa while wearing on him.

A part of me sees this going this distance, so seeing Tybura by decision sitting at +800 has me interested, but not getting too greedy and taking his moneyline should do the job. Look for Tybura to wear on Tuivasa in the clinch, eventually transition those into takedowns, and control Tuivasa for the better part of 25 minutes.

Tybura +105

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