Tuivasa vs Mayes – UFC Vegas 22
‘Man Mountain’ Don’Tale Mayes faces the unenviable task of taking on Australia’s Tai Tuivasa in a UFC Vegas 22 heavyweight clash on March 21. Although he’s facing only his second fight in 18 months, Tuivasa should attract plenty of money to win with the bookies as he has been working hard in training in Dubai against the perfect sparring partner, Muay Thai kickboxing legend, Thailand’s Gokhan Saki. While there are good reports on Mayes form in Dana White’s Contender Series, few remain convinced he can go the distance with Tuivasa, who is a hardened veteran by comparison, yet still only 28-years-of-age.
The bookies share that well-found confidence in Tuivasa. If you are betting on the UFC, the Garden State’s online sportsbooks have the Aussie as a -250 favorite. Mayes is the rank outsider at +200. However, do the odds tell the full story? Let’s dig a little deeper.
The tale of the tape
A 11-3, Tuivasa has reason to be confident. He comes in 5 pounds heavier, however it’s all power, packed into a shorter unit. For his part, Mayes, is 4 inches taller at 6’6”, but lean by comparison, with a 6-inch reach advantage. His record stands at 8-4 overall, but only 1-2 in the UFC.
Both fighters are rebounding after a couple of losses with Tuivasa winning his last outing with a first-round knockout of Stefan Struve at UFC 254 and Contender Series graduate Mayes defeated Roque Martinez in a unanimous points decision in UFC 182 in November.
Tuivasa connects a lot for a big man with 4.2 strikes per minute on average at 49% accuracy, absorbs 3.45 strikes per minute with a 50% defense rating. Mayes’ stats are comparable at 4.13, 45%, 4.46, and 43% across those same categories.
Both men’s punches are packed with power, however, it is Tuivasa’s lightness on his feet for a big man that could prove the difference in the end. The Australian’s ability to evade crushing blows is his main strength, and his workouts of late have been all about that.
A return to the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose under the tutelage of Javier Mendes was the initial part of Tuivasa getting back to his best last time out, the big Aussie now faster than he has been in years.
We’re predicting a Tuivasa KO/TKO on punches in Round 2.
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