Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight scrappers Juan Adams and Justin Tafa will square off this Saturday (Feb. 8, 2020) at UFC 247 from inside Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
I’ll be honest, Adams’ performance against Greg Hardy last time out both surprised and disappointed me: “The Kraken” was blown out of the water (watch highlights). Nevertheless, Adams has shown some talent in his trio of UFC bouts, but he’s in real need of a victory to guarantee his spot on the roster. Meanwhile, Tafa debuted with a 3-0 record back in Oct. 2019, only to get absolutely blasted by a counter right hand from Yorgan de Castro. The big Aussie is also likely fighting for his position on the roster, so hopefully that produces a fun scrap between the two.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Chris de la Rocha (UFC on FOX 31), Shawn Teed (DWTNCS 2018)
Key Losses: Greg Hardy (UFC on ESPN 4), Arjan Bhullar (UFC Fight Night 151)
Keys to Victory: There’s a little bit of Tim Sylvia in Adams’ overall game, which falls somewhere in the middle of insult and compliment (Sylvia haters are ignoring his FIVE Heavyweight title victories). Adams succeeds in large part by being gigantic and pushing arm punches, but he’s also grittier and better in long fights than most of his peers.
For whatever it’s worth, I also thought he clearly defeated Bhullar, too.
At any rate, Tafa is a pretty standard Heavyweight: a big lad who hunts for the knockout in the opening five minutes. After that, well, things get ugly. Luckily, Adams thrives in ugly, and he seems well-prepared to take over this fight in the latter portion of the bout.
Of course, that requires not getting knocked out in those aforementioned opening few minutes. To that end, Adams’ best bet seems to be to lock horns with his foe and jam him into the fence. Clinching along the cage is exhausting, and best of luck trying to disengage with a 285-pound “Kraken.”
Key Wins: Jeremy Joiner (XFC 36)
Key Losses: Yorgan de Castro (UFC 243)
Keys to Victory: As described above, Tafa is not a complicated athlete to describe. He’s young and aggressive, with the type of power that can end the fight in an instant. All three of his professional victories come via knockout.
Tafa wants space and exchanges, while Adams wants to break his foe down over time. As the man looking to avoid the clinch, it’s pretty clear what Tafa has to do: circle laterally and avoid being backed into the fence. That’s easier said than done, however, particularly when a fighter is used to planting his feet and swinging wild.
As such, the best strategy may simply be to SEND IT! When Adams fought Hardy, he seemed simply overwhelmed by “The Prince of War’s” offensive power, and he did not respond well. If Tafa simply goes hard from the first bell, his punches may force a similar reaction — we are breaking down fighters with a combined total of 11 professional fights after all.
With low-level Heavyweight scraps such as this, there’s equal chance for fun and mind-numbing boredom.
For both men, this bout is likely about saving their positions on the roster, as neither man can afford another defeat without serious concerns for their job security. Currently, neither man looks at all primed to make an impact on the division, but the silver lining is youth. Adams is 28 years old and has shown some physical talent, while Tafa is just 26 himself. There’s a chance the winner could impress here on a relatively large platform, which would go a long way in establishing a platform for future UFC success.
That’s about it, though. This bout is for the local fans (Adams is a Houston-native) and those who love Heavyweight slobber-knockers, not for those concerned with divisional implications.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 247 fight card this weekend RIGHT HERE, starting with the Fight Pass/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 247: “Jones vs. Reyes” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.
At UFC 247, Juan Adams and Justin Tafa will battle. Which man will have his hand raised?