Australian Junior Tafa put in a valiant effort at Glory 50 in the promotion’s Heavyweight Contender Tournament, dropping a unanimous decision in his first round fight and then being stopped in the second round of the tournament’s final via leg kicks.
Tafa was given a golden opportunity to move through to the decider after his first opponent, Brazillian Guto Inocente, was ruled unfit to fight in the final due to a cut sustained above his left eye.
The Queenslander dropped a unanimous decision to Inocente in what was a back and forth affair in their semi-final matchup. Despite an experience gap, Tafa rarely took a back step and went into the fight with a calm and confident demeanour. The difference in the fight was the work rate and while he looked strong in his second outing for the North American promotion, Tafa did not do enough in the three rounds to secure the decision.
Moving through to the final as a replacement, Tafa opened the bout with a greater sense of urgency, but it was the sharp Benjamin Adegbuyi who quickly found a weakness in Tafa’s defence and exploited it to the fullest effect. Landing leg kick after leg kick, Tafa was dropped twice in the first round and once early in the second round before the referee put a stop to the bout. This marked the third time that Adegbuyi has claimed the Glory Heavyweight Tournament title.
— GLORY Kickboxing (@GLORY_WS) February 17, 2018
Tafa was well-prepared going into the tournament having worked with Mark Hunt in the lead up to Hunt’s loss to Curtis Blaydes at UFC 221. The tournament was his second fight in Glory following a successful debut late last year at Glory: China where he stopped Quanchao Luo in the first round.
On his way to winning the tournament, Adegbuyi made quick work of D’Angelo Marshall, ending their semi-final bout within 30 seconds of round number one with a big overhand right. His ability to finish his match quickly left him fresh for his final matchup with Tafa later in the card.
The night’s main event was a Welterweight Title fight between Murthel Groenhart and Harut Grigorian, the third fight between the two. This followed on from their controversial 2017 fight in which Groenhart won with a knockout after Grigorian had turned his back in the second round of the fight. This time, however, Grigorian was able to get the better of Groenhart, stropping him in the first round with a barrage of body and headshots.
On the promotion’s ‘Superfight Series’ portion of the card (televised on UFC Fight Pass), Thai superstar Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong easily accounted for challenger Christian Baya putting on a clinic and taking the unanimous decision in their Lightweight Title fight.