UFC 252 free fight: Junior Dos Santos hands Tai Tuivasa his first career defeat

Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos reminded everyone why he’s no stepping stone.

Dos Santos (21-7 MMA, 15-6 UFC) faced formerly unbeaten Tai Tuivasa in the main event of UFC Fight Night 142 in Australia, where he was determined to take out the surging contender on enemy territory.

Tuivasa charged at Dos Santos and put the pressure on him right off the bat. Dos Santos remained calm, and utilized his jab to keep Tuivasa at bay, but “Bam Bam” did a great job of cutting him off. Tuivasa continued to lunge forward at Dos Santos and forced the Brazilian against the fence before landing with a heavy leg kick. He then followed up with a nice combination and finished an encouraging first round by clipping Dos Santos before the buzzer.

Tuivasa continued his aggressive approach in Round 2 as he backed Dos Santos up against the cage once more, before tagging him with big overhand rights. However, Tuivasa started to get reckless and Dos Santos clipped him hard with a big counter right that dropped the Australian to the canvas. Dos Santos followed his man to the ground, transitioned to full mount and claimed the finish with ground strikes.

Dos Santos went on to take out Derrick Lewis and extend his winning run to three in a row, but then suffered back-to-back stoppage losses to Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes.

Dos Santos returns to action on Aug. 15 when he meets Jairzinho Rozenstruik (10-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) at UFC 252, which takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN/ESPN+.

Before he faces Rozenstruik, relive Dos Santos’ finish of Tuivasa in the video above.

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