On the heels of his first knockout loss, Greg Hardy called out Tui Tuivasa last month for a “real fight” with “ass loads of bombs and broken faces”. That fight is now for real and Hardy’s wish has been granted as the two heavyweights are set to lock horns this summer at UFC 264.
Combat Sports Insider was the first to report the bout and sources confirmed it via MMA Fighting. The sources requested anonymity because the UFC has not officially announced the bout.
UFC 264 is expected to be headlined by the third fight between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. Former welterweight title challengers Gilbert Burns and Stephen Thompson are also slated to clash in the event. UFC 264 is currently penciled for July 10th with UFC President Dana White hoping that it can be booked at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena.
First Knockout Loss of Career
Hardy was last seen in the last UFC event of the year where he was pounded out by Marcin Tybura in the second round of a scheduled three-round bout. The loss was the first knockout loss of Hardy’s MMA career and it snapped a two-fight winning streak for the former NFL star.
A former All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection in the NFL, the 32-year old Hardy transitioned to MMA after his NFL career was cut short by domestic violence charges and a league-initiated suspension. Hardy joined the Contender Series where he earned a UFC contract. For a guy who got into the sport at a late age, Hardy has done well in the UFC with a record of 7-3 with six wins via knockout.
Earlier this week, Hardy posted via Instagram a cryptic message referencing a fight at UFC 264 against “Australia’s favorite son”. Without thinking too hard about his post, it was obvious that the former Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers defensive end was talking about Tuivasa.
Back to Back Wins
Tuivasa is three weeks removed from a 49-second run through of Henry Hunsucker after his original opponent Don’Tale Mayes was removed from the bout on fight week. The victory gave the shooey-drinking Australian back-to-back wins. Prior to that bout, Tuivasa also scored a first round knockout win over veteran Stefan Struve.
The 28-year old from Sydney won the Australian Fighting Championship heavyweight title in 2016 and after making one successful title defense, he joined the UFC and picked up three straight victories, including a decision win over former champion Andrei Arlovski. But he hit a rough patch after that as he lost his next three bouts before coming up with his current two-fight win streak.
A former professional rugby player for the Sydney Roosters, Tuivasa has professional boxing experience, having fought seven times inside the squared circle, winning five times with two losses. He has an MMA record of 11-3 with 10 knockouts. Like Hardy, Tuivasa is looking to break into the heavyweight rankings for the first time and a win by either fighter here should do that for the victor.
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