UFC Vegas 88: Marcin Tybura chokes out Tai Tuivasa in 1st round to bounce back in heavyweight ranks

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 16: Marcin Tybura of Poland punches Tai Tuivasa of Australia in their heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 16, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Marcin Tybura needed a while to choke out Tai Tuivasa, but he got there. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images) (Jeff Bottari via Getty Images)

Marcin Tybura is still a man to be feared in the UFC heavyweight ranks, judging from what he did to Tai Tuivasa.

The Polish fighter handed the fan favorite his fourth straight loss via rear naked choke in the first round at UFC Vegas 88 on Saturday, a triumphant return after his loss to Tom Aspinall last July.

The fight was lost as soon as Tybura had his legs wrapped around Tuivasa's midsection midway through the round. The next few seconds were not an enjoyable stretch of time for Tuivasa, as Tybura repeatedly rained down hard blows from his back until he was finally able to adjust. He didn't adjust in a productive way, though, as he eventually opened the door for the RNC.

Tuivasa managed to hold out for several seconds more, but was done after 4:08 in the first.

"I punched him so hard and he didn't give up. He's a very tough man," Tybura said after the fight. "I heard him breathing so hard and I saw his skin changing color, so I thought it's getting closer. I have a little bit more power to apply and I did."

The win improves Tybura's career record to 25-8, with his 12 wins as a UFC heavyweight now ranking fifth in the division's history. He declined to call out anyone specific after the fight, explaining he wanted to only focus on the opponent immediately in front of him.

However, he did mention he would be happy with a top 10 opponent.

On the other side, it's a tough day for Tuivasa. The Australian seemed on his way to becoming a true contender as recently as 2022 when he KO'd Derrick Lewis, but has since lost to Ciryl Gane, Sergei Pavlovich, Alexander Volkov and, now, Tybura. It's hard to see him facing another top 10 opponent soon, and it's hard to imagine where he goes if he can't reverse the skid soon.