Justin Tafa
Bad Man


Taking on Vanderaa in May
March 12, 2021
Taja (thumb) will face Jared Vanderaa (nose) in a heavyweight bout at the UFC event May 22, Mike Heck of MMAFighting.com reports.
Tafa was handed a 180-day medical suspension for a left thumb injury after losing to Carlos Felipe via split decision in January, but he should be good to go for the May matchup. Vanderaa made his UFC debut in February and loss via TKO to Sergey Spivak.
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Out for six months
January 18, 2021
Tafa was handed a 180-day medical suspension for a left thumb injury Monday, MMAJunkie.com reports.
Tafa suffered the injury during his split-decision loss against Carlos Felipe on Saturday. While his initial suspension will keep him out until July, he can return in as soon as 30 days if cleared by a doctor.
Drops tight one on Fight Island
January 16, 2021
Tafa lost to Carlos Felipe via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 28-29) at UFC on ABC 1 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.
Tafa may have a beef here, but this one was so close that it's difficult to get too worked up about the decision one way or another. The numbers did favor Tafa when all was said and done. He was the more active man on the feet, attempting 171 total strikes compared to just 142 from Felipe. He landed 109 compared to just 77 from his opponent. Round 1 appeared to be the only clear round, with Tafa winning it. The good news for Tafa is that his stock shouldn't suffer much due to the defeat. This was a highly entertaining fight that should only serve to help both men moving forward. Tafa has now alternated wins and losses in his first three UFC bouts.
Slated to fight Felipe on Jan. 16
October 13, 2020
Tafa will fight Carlos Felipe in a heavyweight matchup at the UFC event scheduled for Jan. 16, Combate.com reports.
This will be Tafa's first match in nearly a year, as he will be coming off a victory Juan Adams via TKO (punches) at UFC 247 back in February. Felipe most recently defeated Yorgan De Castro via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night in early October in Abu Dhabi.
Off July 25 bout
July 15, 2020
Tafa has been removed from his scheduled July 25 heavyweight matchup against Raphael Pessoa due to undisclosed reasons, Nolan King of MMAJunkie.com reports.
It's unclear what sparked Tafa's withdrawal, but he'll no longer participate in a fight that he had been a (+115) betting underdog for. In his stead, Tanner Boser will step in on short notice to face Pessoa.
Booked against Pessoa
June 11, 2020
Tafa will take on Raphael Pessoa in a heavyweight matchup set for July 25 on Fight Island, Marcel Dorff of MMADNA reports.
Tafa is fresh off his first UFC victory, earning a first-round finish against Juan Adams last February. He'll draw an opponent in Pessoa who is also 1-1, most recently taking a decision from Jeff Hughes last October. Tafa will be giving up three inches in height and four inches in reach in a fight that will be highly unlikely to see the final bell.