After falling short in his debut, Vanderaa was happy to keep his fight with Tafa standing as he blasted the fighter from down under with nasty combinations over all three rounds to ultimately win a unanimous decision. The judges scored the fight 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 as Vanderaa moved to 12-5 overall in his career.
“I’m feeling great,” Vanderaa said afterwards. “I was finding my groove with the striking.”
The heavyweights were slinging heavy leather from the first exchange with Tafa throwing with bad intentions behind every punch while Vanderaa was more measured with his combinations. Vanderaa connected with the first really big strike in the fight after he blasted Tafa with a knee straight up the middle as his opponent ducked down to throw a punch.
Vanderaa was the sharper fighter throughout the opening round as he snapped off some well-timed straight punches that were cracking Tafa on the chin. With the punches landing, Vanderaa was then able to start throwing kicks with several stinging shots to the body as well as going up to the head when the opening presented itself.
After slamming home a big punch that had Tafa rattled, Vanderaa went for the kill as he unleashed a huge series of punches looking for the knockout. In return, Tafa just started swinging with everything left in his arsenal and during a wild exchange, he actually opened a gash on the side of Vanderaa’s head.
Blood began pouring out on both fighters but thankfully for Vanderaa the cut was on the side of his face so his vision wasn’t impaired.
As the third round got started, Vanderaa was still the busier fighter but he was wary of the knockout power coming back from Tafa whenever he launched a counter punch. Despite his lead in the fight, Vanderaa was still throwing everything and the kitchen sink with Tafa doing exactly the same until the final horn sounded.
With the UFC heavyweight division deeper than ever these days, Vanderaa appears to be a great addition to the roster while Tafa now falls to 1-3 in the promotion as he sits on shaky ground when it comes to his future.