Derrick Lewis vs. Tai Tuivasa Heavyweight Fight Reportedly Targeted for UFC 271

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 7, 2022

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 18: Derrick Lewis prepares to fight Chris Daukaus in their heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on December 18, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

UFC is reportedly planning a heavyweight clash between Derrick Lewis and Tai Tuivasa at UFC 271 next month.

According to Farah Hannoun and Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie, UFC has yet to make the fight official, but the goal is for it to be part of a stacked UFC 271 card headlined by a middleweight title fight between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker.

The event is scheduled for Feb. 12 at the Toyota Center in Lewis' hometown of Houston.

Lewis, 36, is coming off an impressive victory over Chris Daukaus at UFC Fight Night on Dec. 18. Lewis knocked Daukaus out in the first round, giving him the career UFC knockouts record with 13.

It marked a strong bounce-back performance for Lewis, who fell to Ciryl Gane by third-round technical knockout at UFC 265 in his previous fight, which was for the interim UFC heavyweight title.

Lewis, who owns a career professional record of 26-8 with one no contest, has won five of his past six fights, including knockout victories over notable names such as Alexey Oleynik and Curtis Blaydes.

The 28-year-old Tuivasa is a fast-rising star in UFC with a 13-3 career record, including 12 wins by way of knockout.

Since losing three consecutive fights in 2018 and 2019 to Junior dos Santos, Blagoy Ivanov and Sergey Spivak, Tuivasa has rebounded in a big way, winning four in a row, all by knockout.

Tuivasa's most recent win was over Augusto Sakai at UFC 269 in December. He also beat former NFL defensive end Greg Hardy at UFC 264 during his current streak.

UFC's official heavyweight rankings currently list Lewis at No. 3 and Tuivasa at No. 11.

A fight between UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and the UFC interim heavyweight champion in Gane is scheduled for UFC 270 on Jan. 22.

Lewis could be in line for an immediate title shot if he beats Tuivasa at UFC 271, while Tuivasa would likely move up significantly in the rankings and put himself in position for an eventual title shot with a win over Lewis.