Backing Tuivasa as Slight Favorite a Dangerous Proposition

March 12, 2024
1 month

The lifespan of a UFC heavyweight’s career can end suddenly. Tai Tuivasa enters the danger zone when he takes on Martin Tybura in the main event of a fight night card on Saturday in Las Vegas. In September 2022, Tuivasa was a win over former interim champion Cyril Gane, away from being a serious threat for a title shot.

While the 30-year-old Australian fought valiantly and knocked down Gane, he was no match for the body kicks and powerful striking. Gane scored a third-round knockout that was a sign of things to come. In Tuivasa’s next fight, he fought ferocious striker Sergei Pavlovich.

Pavlovich ran over Tuivasa, knocking him out in 54 seconds. Taking a step down in competition didn’t seem to help. In his next fight, Tuivasa would be submitted by Alexander Volkov. The big question for Tuivasa is, what does he have left? He had been fighting championship-level fighters for the past few years.

Tybura is just an average heavyweight. He has lost two of his four fights. This heavyweight bout won’t go the distance. This is a fight to reluctantly back Tuivasa, but if he loses this one, his future in the UFC could be in serious doubt. Tybura has been knocked out five times during his career.

Tuivasa is a big hitter. This is the chance for the Australian to make things right.

Bets to Consider: Tuivasa ML, Tuivasa by KO/TKO/DQ

Battle Ready for the Next Challenge

Ange Loosa has never had a finished during his MMA career. Bryan Battle’s last three wins in the UFC have come by knockout or submission. This bout will be an interesting matchup of two fighters who are 30 and under and have big things ahead of them. Loosa is 2-1, according to the best MMA news site, including decision wins over Rhys McKee and A.J. Fletcher.

Battle has settled into the welterweight division well. He is 5-1 in the UFC and has shown off some surprising power and an ability to finish fighters. Battle will have a major challenge trying to find a way to stop a fighter as durable as Loosa.

Bets to consider: Over 2.5, Battle by decision

Dulgarian Wants to Make a Splash

Climbing the ladder in the UFC requires several things that are going in your favor. Isaac Dulgarian built some major momentum last August. Duglarian moved to 6-0 on his career by finishing Francis Marshall via ground-and-pound with 12 seconds remaining in the first round of their fight.

Dulgarian’s reward is that he will get a chance to challenge Christian Rodriguez. Rodriguez also built his reputation by earning a major victory on a big stage. At UFC 287, Rodriguez scored a decision win over young prospect Raúl Rosas Jr. Rodriguez followed it up with another win over Cameron Saaiman to move to 10-1 in his career.

Dulgarian has shown his power, but Rodriguez isn’t a guy who is easily finished. This fight should go the distance.

Bets to consider: Over 2.5, Rodriguez by decision

Chiasson Needs to Get a Routine Down

Macy Chiasson’s toughest battle in the UFC has been with the scale, according to MMA news sites. After an 18-month break from fighting, Chiasson is returning as a favorite against Pannie Kianzad. Chiasson’s last three fights have all been at catchweight.

One of those bouts had to be fought at a different weight because Chiasson didn’t make weight. Chiasson’s opponent this time around, Pannie Kianzad, hasn’t been the most active fighter. Since the start of 2021, Kianzad has won only four times.

Kianzad lost two of those fights, including a decision loss to Ketlen Vieira last time out. Kianzad is an excellent defensive wrestler. She has the highest takedown defense percentage in UFC women’s bantamweight history, 92.9 percent. Chiasson is coming off a knockout loss to Irene Aldana.

This will be an ugly fight between two inactive fighters. Back the underdog in this one, but it will be a sweaty decision.

Bets to consider: Kianzad by decision, Kianzad ML, Over 2.5

OSP, Nzechukwu Should Produce Fireworks

Kennedy Nzechukwu is always able to produce fireworks. Nzechukwu has a long build and is able to attack his opponent in multiple ways. Nzechukwu is coming off a knockout loss against Dustin Jacoby. 

But before the loss to Jacoby, Nzechukwu stopped his last three opponents by finish. Ovince Saint Preux is toward the end of the line in his UFC career. At one time, OSP was considered a championship-level fighter.

OSP even fought Jon Jones for the interim light heavyweight championship at UFC 197. But OSP lost that fight by decision and never climbed back up the ladder. OSP has lost three of his past four fights. All of those defeats came via KO.

OSP does have a puncher’s chance to beat Nzechukwu but will likely have a hard time striking with the younger man. During his career, OSP has lost five times by knockout. Expect Nzechukwu to land some powerful fights and finish this early.

Bets to consider: Nzechukwu by KO/TKO/DQ, Under 1.5 rounds

Meerschaert Needs to Turn Things Around

Gerald Meerschaert has made a career out of locking up wild submissions. Twenty-seven of Meerschaert’s 35 career wins have come by submission. Now, Meerschaert enters this fight on a two-fight losing streak.

Meerschaert will take on another veteran who is a rough pitcher. Bryan Barberena has lost three straight fights, including two by submission. Barberena, who is a solid striker, can’t let this fight go to the ground. Meerschaert is vulnerable to being submitted himself, but Barberena isn’t at that level to catch him, according to MMAfighting latest news.

Back Meerschaert by submission.

Here are quick picks on the rest of the card:

  • Lightweight, Natan Levy (+225) vs Mike Davis (-295)
  • Women bantamweight, Josiane Nunes (-143) vs Chelsea Chandler (+116)
  • Flyweight, Jafel Filho (-186) vs Ode Osbourne (+150)
  • Featherweight, Joshua Culibao (-167) vs Danny Silva (+135)
  • Women’s strawweight, Cory McKenna (-112) vs Jaqueline Amorim (-112)
  • Bantamweight, Charalampos Grigoriou (-177) vs Chad Anheliger (+140)

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By Dean McHugh.