Tuivasa entered the matched ranked No. 4 in the division hoping to rebound from a loss to former interim titleholder Ciryl Gane in his last outing. Pavlovich was ranked one spot higher in the No. 5 position and riding a four-fight winning streak.
It didn’t take long for things to heat up. Pavlovich connected with a right hand followed by a combination. Tuivasa returned fire. A stiff jab knocked Tuivasa down. He immediately got back to his feet and fired back but missed with a wild right hand. Pavlovich landed again. A right hand sat Tuivasa down. After a few follow-up shots, referee Dan Miragliotta stopped the fight.
“I’d like to say thank you to Tai. He’s a great guy. A really strong guy,” Pavlovich said following the win. “I do a lot of work to get here, a lot of work to get to my results, so thank you to everyone who is with me on this.”
“We dissected my opponent in all of his different disciplines,” continue Pavlovich. “I was really ready for this. This was a very important fight for my career.”