Dricus du Plessis faced his first big test in the UFC overnight, taking on ranked fighter Brad Tavares in Las Vegas and passed with flying colours.
Du Plessis earned a unanimous decision after three rounds made up largely of stand-up striking.
Famed for his finishes, Du Plessis couldn’t land a knockout blow against the experienced Tavares but was the clear winner as he outstruck Tavares.
Tavares finished the fight bloodied from numerous wounds to the face inflicted by the dangerous fists of Du Plessis as well as a particularly savage knee to the face.
Try as he might Du Plessis could not finish Tavares however, all the judges scored the fight 29-28 in favour of the South African.
Watch: Dricus du Plessis gives Octagon interview
Du Plessis gave credit to Tavares in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan.
Rogan remarked that the fight was a ‘wild one’ an apt description as both men landed some heavy blows but neither would lose their feet, either from strikes or takedowns.
“Mr Rogan, wow, I’ve got to tell you Vegas you’ve got the toughest mother effer in the world right here in your town, Brad Tavares.
“Holy smokes, he took some big ones, I took some big ones too but that man can take a punch.
“What better fight than this to break into the top 15 to go to my first decision.
“It was an honour sharing the cage with him in front of all you folks.”
A first decision fight for Stillknocks
Du Plessis went to the grapple early in the fight but revealed it was unplanned as he adjusted to the way his opponent was attacking.
From that time on Du Plessis also felt it was best if he stayed on his feet, a tactic which paid off for him.