Justin Tafa

Justin “Bad Man” Tafa is a 29-year-old kickboxer from Australia. Tafa is currently on a 2 fight winning streak, both of which were first-round knockouts. Thus far, in the UFC, “Bad Man” is 3-3 with 3 1st round knockout wins and 3 losses- 2 decision and 1 knockout.

Austen Lane, ex-NFL defensive end, is making his UFC debut following a 1st round knockout of his own on DWCS. Lane’s professional record is 12-3 with 11 wins and all 3 of his losses coming by knockout. This one should be a slugfest for as long as it lasts.

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Betting Odds

Tafa opened as the favorite and has slightly grown wider throughout the week.

  • Justin Tafa: -180 (BetUS)
  • Austen Lane: +145 (BetUS)

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Fight Breakdown

Tafa is a sneaky athletic fighter with surprising output and devastating power. The southpaw striker often relies on his chin to absorb punishment while countering with his own power shots. Because of this, Tafa has a negative strike differential and can often lose fights that exit the first round. In the first round, though, he’s incredibly dangerous. He looks to land calf kicks early to immobilize his opponent and create a stationary target.

Looking for a toe to toe brawl, once his opponent is stationary, Tafa will load up on his shots and throw until someone drops. The combination of power and a tough chin has produced highlight knockouts against the lower-level heavyweights on the UFC roster. However, if Tafa can’t find the 1st round knockout or if an opponent can mix up their game beyond a blow-for-blow brawl, Tafa hasn’t shown an ability to respond with success.

Lane will likely be a willing dance partner for Tafa. Being an ex-NFL player turned professional fighter, Lane is athletic and uses his size well moving forward. He tends to throw in wild combinations and wants to brawl with his opponents. NFL pun intended, Lane’s offense is to blitz forward throwing haymakers until he finds the knockout or he gets finished himself. All three of his losses have come in the first round and all by knockout. Most of his wins have come in the same fashion.

Just like Tafa, Lane’s game lacks refinement and is often a test of who can land and take the bigger shots. Unlike Tafa, though, Lane has intermittently shown a willingness to clinch. Likely pulling from his football roots, Lane will lunge into an opponent, look to push them against the cage, and hold the clinch. He typically doesn’t deal much damage from this position and rarely advances it, instead this position can give him a cardio break and present alternative avenues of attack for his opponent to worry about. Still, though, in the majority of his fights, Lane looks to get into an exciting brawl until someone falls.

Prediction and Best Bet

Bottom line, one of these two is likely going to knock the other out and in a fight like that, I’ll gladly side with the more experienced, more versatile, and more proven fighter in Tafa. I expect Tafa to beat up the lead leg of Lane early, force Lane into an ill-advised blitz, and counter with the knockout blow.

Best Bet: Tafa by knockout (-110)

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