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UFC Fight Night prediction — Tai Tuivasa vs. Marcin Tybura: Fight card, odds, start time, live stream

Tai Tuivasa and Marcin Tybura are looking for a change in fortunes. The UFC Apex cage is going to look tiny when these two heavyweights duke it out at UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Tuivasa (15-6) needs a win badly. The Aussie fighter is currently experiencing the second three-fight losing streak of his professional career. His most recent rough stretch came against some of the division’s best — Ciryl Gane, Sergei Pavlovich and Alexander Volkov — all via stoppage. Tuivasa finds some comfort in knowing he’s fighting the heavyweight elite, but his motivation to beat Tybura is quite simple.

“F—, I don’t want to lose,” Tuivasa told CBS Sports. “No one likes being the loser. Obviously, my last three opponents have been no slouches so that’s kind of a good thing. In my last fight [against Volkov], I think I could have come out on top. There were just a few things that didn’t go my way. That’s just it. I need to get my get back this weekend. That’s how it works. You win, you lose, but you need to get back up and dust yourself off.”

Tybura (24-8) has been one of the more underrated heavyweights for a while. Tybura entered his last fight having quietly amassed a great 7-1 run against the low and middle ends of the UFC heavyweight scale. It only took 73 seconds for Tom Aspinall to crush his momentum. There is no shame in losing to the man who would soon after become interim heavyweight champion, but Tybura finds little comfort in that.

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“I felt really good before that fight. I was in the best shape. Everything was on point in camp. The loss was very tough for me,” Tybura told CBS Sports. “Of course, it brings a little sweetness that he’s interim champion right now. But there weren’t many things I could change for this camp.

“I took a couple of weeks off the gym to rebuild my hunger for this because this loss killed a bit of my attitude. I had to rebuild it.”

UFC Fight Night on Saturday could have ample action but, on the surface, it’s one of the weakest cards the promotion has produced in recent memory. The main card’s only ranked fight outside the main event features Pannie Kianzad vs. Macy Chiasson in the shallow women’s bantamweight division. The fight with the biggest fun factor is Gerald Meerschart vs. Bryan Barberena. The middleweights have lost their last five fights combined but have an 87% finishing rate across 55 total wins between them. “The Ultimate Fighter” winner Bryan Battle is slotted in the co-main event against Ange Loosa.

Below is the rest of the fight card for Saturday with the latest odds before we get to a prediction and pick on the main event.

UFC Fight Night card, odds

Favorite Underdog Weight class
Tai Tuivasa -115 Marcin Tybura -105 Heavyweight
Bryan Battle -180 Ange Loosa +155 Welterweight
Kennedy Nzechukwu -750 Ovince Saint Preux +525 Light heavyweight
Isaac Dulgarian -205 Christian Rodriguez +170 Featherweight
Macy Chiasson -205 Pannie Kianzad +155 Women’s bantamweight
Gerald Meerschaert -250 Bryan Barberena +205 Middleweight

UFC Fight Night viewing information

Date: March 16 | Start time: 7 p.m. ET (main card)
Location: UFC Apex — Las Vegas
TV channel: ESPN+

Prediction

Tai Tuivasa vs. Marcin Tybura: The betting lines have this fight at a near pick ’em for good reason. Tuivasa is on a terrible stretch but has faced tougher opposition than his next opponent. Tybura is more well-rounded but has suffered five KOs in eight losses as he prepares for a legitimate KO artist. This fight should play out in the spirit of striker vs. grappler. Tuivasa has a live-by-the-sword, die-by-the-sword attitude with 18 stoppages in 20 fights. He’s notched KOs in 13 of his 14 wins. Tybura must take down Tuivasa. Tybura averages 1.39 takedowns per 15 minutes against a fighter who has never landed a takedown in seven years in the UFC. We haven’t seen Tuivasa’s takedown defense tested much lately, but it’s concerning that Derrick Lewis, who basically never wrestles, got him down twice in their fight. I think Tybura is one of the more under-appreciated fighters in the division. He did seem to turn a corner ahead of the Aspinall fight. It’s easy to forgive that performance knowing just how good Aspinall is. Unfortunately, I don’t think Tybura has enough offensive threats or defensive soundness to stop Tuivasa from landing that one big bomb. Tuivasa via KO2

Who wins UFC Fight Night: Tuivasa vs. Tybura, and how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on UFC Fight Night, all from the MMA expert who profited more than $6,200, and find out. 

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