UFC Vegas 45 Prelim Breakout Star: Justin Tafa

The Prelim Breakout Star is a once-per-event article that helps fans get to know those who will be entertaining them from the undercard. The intention of the article is not to bring attention to the most talented fighter on the preliminary card, but rather one that the common fan may have overlooked or underestimated.

Justin Tafa

Nickname – Bad Man
Affiliation – NTG Fight and Fitness
From – Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Height – 6’0″
Weight – 265 lbs (Heavyweight)
Record – 4-3 (1-3, UFC)

What makes him impressive

When arriving in the UFC, Justin Tafa was lauded as a younger version of Mark Hunt. He may not have the most impressive grappling game out there, but he does throw absolute bombs. However, he’s more than just a big puncher – which really won’t get you all too far at heavyweight. Also, he’s got the ability to stand in the pocket with just about any heavyweight. This is because he’s defensively sound and has a hell of a chin on him. Despite facing some big punchers, he was only knocked out by Yorgan De Castro and that was mostly due to rushing in to land a big shot.

Why he has been overlooked

The record is the real reason why people aren’t sold on Tafa. Despite a good showing against Carlos Felipe (a fight plenty of people thought he won), people see 4-3 in a career and 1-3 in the UFC, and they automatically write that fighter off. However, it’s interesting that the bookies don’t agree with the sentiment, as they clearly see value in Tafa still. He’s presently listed as a -330 favorite. (Odds courtesy of FanDuel).

What makes this a good match-u

Harry Hunsucker is coming off a KO loss in just 49 seconds. Granted that loss was to Tai Tuivasa, but it’s still an alarming thing when you’re stepping in there with a power puncher like Tafa. I also think the fact that Hunsucker pressed the action is actually a detriment to his ability to win this fight. Those that have done the best against Tafa tend to be those who stay at range and try to outpoint him. I doubt Hunsucker does this, which puts him right into the fire.

Prelim Breakout Star Record: 235-109-1 (2 NC) (14 DNF)  

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