Marcin Tybura survives early onslaught, chokes out Tai Tuivasa in UFC Vegas 88 main event

Marcin Tybura might have a new scar after UFC Vegas 88 but he’ll still leave with a win following a wild few minutes in the octagon with Tai Tuivasa.

Going up against one of the heaviest hitters in the sport, Tybura knew he would have to weather an early storm as Tuivasa came charging at him with a barrage of punches as soon as the fight started. Tuivasa closed the distance and blasted Tybura with a huge elbow that opened a gash across his head as blood started flowing down his face.

Despite the early onslaught, Tybura survived and then took Tuivasa to the ground where he secured his victory. Tybura hammered away at Tuivasa with punches until he saw an opening to lock on a rear-naked choke that eventually put his opponent to sleep.

The end came at 4:08 in the opening round with Tybura getting the submission win.

“It was striking and looking for the takedown,” Tybura said about his strategy for the fight. “I knew there was a cut and the first takedown, I didn’t succeed so I just knew I had to try it again. He was tough on the ground. I punch him so hard and he didn’t give up. He’s a very tough man.

“He managed to turn [on the ground] so I had to look for something else and there was a submission. I choked him for so long and he was having a very hard time and he was not giving up. I hear him breathing so hard and his skin changing color. I had a little bit more power to apply and I did.”

It looked like a classic Tuivasa fight at the beginning as he came out swinging for the fences with every punch and he connected on more than a few of them. The elbows on the inside that opened up the cut on Tybura’s head gave Tuivasa even more confidence to surge ahead, but that eventually led to his downfall.

Once Tybura was able to clinch up with Tuivasa, he worked tirelessly until he dragged the fight to the ground and the heavyweights never got up again. Tybura maintained his control with a vicious ground and pound attack but Tuivasa just refused to give up.

So that led to Tybura switching to the submission and even then Tuivasa refused to tap out until he eventually just went to sleep from the rear-naked choke. It was an important win for Tybura after he fell to current interim heavyweight champion Tom Aspinall in his last outing and he now moves to 3-1 in his past four fights.

He’s hoping this latest win will give him a chance to climb back up the ladder at heavyweight.

“I just want to prove to everybody that I’m capable of doing good in the top 10,” Tybura said. “Anyone from the top 10 would be great for me.”

As for Tuivasa, he suffers his fourth loss in a row — all by knockout or submission — and it’s entirely possible that his tenure with the UFC might come to an end after this latest setback.

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