Justin Tafa (5-3; 2-3 in the UFC) is from New Zealand and is fighting out of Australia. While many fighters on this card are representing the Perth region, there is perhaps no one better suited to get the fans up to their feet and excite the crowd than Tafa, as he resembles the island legend, Mark Hunt, both in visual makeup as well as jaw-thumping power. Looking to play spoiler to an Aussie eruption is his opponent, Parker Porter (13-7; 3-2 in the UFC). While Porter may not have the electrifying power of Tafa, he has seemingly entered his prime as a fighter, having gone 3-1 over his last four fights and has put forth some impressive, decisive wins in that span.
This fight is between two heavy-framed heavyweight fighters who have no qualms whatsoever with willing to take one to throw one. Given this is the case, this fight is likely to end in the blink of an eye and is therefore, one you certainly want to watch!
Justin Tafa is a very short -130 favorite over Parker Porter who comes back at a +110 underdog.
- Justin Tafa: -130
- Parker Porter: +110
Justin Tafa is a hard-hitting islander who loves to fight. Whether it be New Zealand, Australia, or even Hawaii, the island-spirited fighters all seemingly have two key traits: 1) hard-hitting and 2) an impressive chin. Tafa certainly has both traits, which is important to have in this division given fight-end-power is needed to mitigate the risk of standing too long against a dangerous opponent, and, a strong chin allows him to have the chance to land one of his own power strikes before falling victim to one of his own.
As with many UFC fighters, Tafa is not merely a one-trick pony, that is, only having an overhand right hand. In his last fight, Tafa displayed some of the fight tools he has at his disposal, having won by way of a head-kick knockout against the taller opponent, Harry Hunsucker. While I do not expect Tafa to continue his kick-dominate attack moving forward in the division, having won by this method is quite important given his opponent will have to respect the attacks coming from down low, which, only exacerbates Tafa’s ability to land his electrifying right hand. What will be interesting to see is if Tafa believes in his kicking game enough to use his hands to set up another devastating kick KO or if he will use kicks as a mere way to keep range and look to end the night by way of his punches. Either way, Tafa will certainly look to win inside the distance as his ground game is less than desirable, and as the fight gets longer, the greater the probability is that he will be taken to the mat which will be the least favorable position for him to be in come this fight.
The reason why Tafa needs to do everything in his power to stay standing is not only due to his subpar ground game, but also, the fact that Parker Porter is quite heavy on top, where, he has shown to have some decent ground and pound. This praise is by no means stating Porter is to the level of a Spivak, Almeida, or Romanov when it comes to grappling, but, what it does say is that Porter has the tools in his fight arsenal to not only take the fight to the mat but once there, keep it there and inflict damage from top position.
Porter’s ability to get the fight to the mat will likely stem from first, finding success on the feet as he is by no means an impeccable wrestler. Luckily, for him, is that he does have some decent striking if kept standing, particularly against lower-level opponents. Specifically, Porter does a nice job landing an outside leg kick against his opponent and has surprisingly solid movement on the feet for being quite thick and heavy. This movement will be extremely important in this fight as if he throws a leg kick without anything in front of it and/or does not throw it at a safe angle, then Tafa can rush in with an overhand right and end the night. This way of losing is indeed a possibility given the power of Tafa coupled with the lack of power on Porter’s end where his opponent will likely not be too fearful to rush in. But, if Porter can fight intelligently early on, he will likely find his way to the mat as the fight progresses which is where he needs to be in this bout.
This fight is a great matchup for both men. While Tafa can fight quite freely on the feet, thus exacerbating his main threat of fight-ending power, I do believe the well-rounded game of Porter will allow him to get his hand raised at the end of the fight. Ultimately, I see Porter using intelligent, cautious striking to keep a safe distance, and the moment an opportunity arises to clinch his way to the mat, he will take it. Because I trust Porter’s ability to get this particular fight to the ground, I am taking him here albeit the threat of Tafa always looms large.
Bet: Parker Porter to win (+110)