DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The U.S. vaccine mandate is far from ideal for Tai Tuivasa, but he’ll do what’s necessary to ensure that his fight isn’t jeopardized.

Tuivasa (12-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) faces Augusto Sakai (15-3-1 MMA, 4-2 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 198 on Nov. 20, which takes place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

The new COVID-19 vaccination travel policies, where foreign individuals will need to be fully vaccinated with proof of one of seven WHO-approved vaccines, will be effective Nov. 8, less than two weeks before Tuivasa makes the walk against Sakai. The 28-year-old Aussie is not currently vaccinated, but he plans on taking the shot so he can make it to his fight.

“It’s very close,” Tuivasa told MMA Junkie on his next fight. “Rules are rules, I don’t really like rules, but it is what it is. I’m sure me and my team will have to work around it…I’ll make it to the fight.”

Tuivasa was originally slated to face Walt Harris in October, but after Harris was forced out, he ended up drawing an even higher ranked fighter in No. 10 heavyweight Sakai.

“Yeah, definitely,” Tuivasa said on ending up with a better deal. “I said I wanted someone up there and that’s what I got. I think it’s gonna be a better fight for the fans. I rate Sakai as a fighter so I think it’ll be a good showdown.”

He continued, “He likes to stand up and bang, I like to stand up and bang so personally I think it’ll be a good one for the fans, and I still got the same game plan as always. I come out, I focus on myself, and try and get the win. Try and knock his head off.”


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