UFC Vegas 71: Pavlovich vs. Blaydes will keep it moving on the prelims with a heavyweight matchup between The Ultimate Fighter season 30 winner Mohammed Usman and UFC debutant Junior Tafa. Both fighters are essentially making their promotional debuts and each will be looking to make a statement in front of their bosses. You can expect a big slugfest between these two heavy-hitting heavyweights. Check out our UFC odds series for our Usman-Tafa prediction and pick.
Mohammed Usman (8-2) is the younger brother of the former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and is looking to follow in the footsteps of his big brother. He already won TUF just like him and now he is looking to follow that same path to become the next heavyweight champion. In his first matchup he gets ultra-hyped Junior Tafa.
Junior Tafa (4-0) is cut from the same cloth as his older brother Justin Tafa. He is a highly regarded kickboxer who transitioned from Glory Kickboxer to an MMA fighter. He will be looking to make a big splash in his UFC debut this weekend against Mohammed Usman.
Here are the UFC Odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
UFC Las Vegas Odds: Mohammed Usman-Junior Tafa Odds
Mohammed Usman: -110
Junior Tafa: -110
Over (1.5) rounds: 1.5 (-108)
Under (1.5) rounds: 1.5 (-118)
How to Watch Mohammed Usman vs. Junior Tafa
Stream: ESPN App
Time: 4:00 p.m. ET/ 1:00 p.m. PT (Prelims)
Why Mohammed Usman Will Win
Mohammed Usman may not be the most skilled heavyweight on the UFC roster but he has some traits that can cause the upset win here in Tafa’s debut fight. He is a strong powerhouse of a human being that even though he’s not the most technical fighter if he lands he can knock out any fighter. Also thanks to his brother he has some decent wrestling chops to land takedowns, ground and pound, and top control.
He is going against a very inexperienced MMA fighter in Junior Tafa that has been fighting MMA professionally for just 1 year. If Usman comes in with the right game plan there is a good chance he could exploit some of the holes his other four opponents didn’t. Usman will most certainly need to mix it up and make Tafa work. If he is able to do that he can be victorious in his first fight inside the octagon.
Why Junior Tafa Will Win
There is a reason why Junior Tafa is a highly touted prospect and it’s not only because he’s the younger brother of Justin Tafa. He has some insane power behind his strikes and has been lighting up his opponents ever since stepping inside a cage. Even though he has been fighting MMA for just about a year, he has at least fought for some reputable regional promotions like Brave FC, RIZIN, and Hex Fight Series.
Tafa is definitely the lesser experienced fighter in MMA but he has been fighting his whole life. He has fought through adversity as a kickboxer for Glory and that will translate well inside the octagon. Usman may be a scary opposition and is the brother of a high-level wrestler, but he is no Kamaru Usman. He doesn’t have the takedowns or top control like his big brother and there’s times he blatantly just will not use it. If Usman fails to takedown Tafa it’s going to be a very short night for him.
Final Mohammed Usman-Junior Tafa Prediction & Pick
This feels like a fight where the UFC wants to see what they have from both fighters. This is a fight where both fighters have the right style to exploit their opponents’ glaring weaknesses. If Usman can get his wrestling going and land takedowns he can certainly score the win but I’ll go with the latter. Mohammed Usman looks lackluster as he normally does and he gets torn up on the feet as Tafa gets his fifth consecutive knockout.
Final Mohammed Usman-Junior Tafa Prediction & Pick: Junior Tafa (-110)
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