It was mixed results for our Australian trained contingent at UFC Fight Night 188 earlier today with Josh Culibao walking away with the win on the preliminary card but heavyweight Justin Tafa losing a slug-fest.
Tafa, fighting on the main card, fought fire-with-fire however his American opponent, Jared Vanderaa, moved well, making Tafa miss with big haymakers early in the fight.
A left from Tafa in the second round opened up a massive cut on the forehead of Vanderaa and immediately starts bleeding profusely. The fight continued and both ended it swinging for the fences in a round that could have gone either way.
The cutman did an amazing job in between rounds to work on the cut and Vanderaa remained the busier of the two. Both continued to clench on their mouthguards and throw everything they had. Tafa was hit with a low blow late and needed some time to recover. The brawl continued until the final bell.
The judges scored it 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 all to Vanderaa.
“I’m feeling great. I was finding my groove with the striking,” Vanderaa said post-fight.
Vanderaa moves his career record to 12-5 (UFC 1-1), while Tafa drops to 4-3 (UFC 1-3).
Earlier in the night, Culibao claimed the first UFC win in his career, with a unanimous decision nod against Shayilan Nuerdanbieke.
Nuerdanbieke made his intentions known in the first-round going for constant takedowns, edging the first round with basic control. The Chinese fighter was only successful with one takedown from eight attempts in the next two rounds with Culibao out striking him throughout the contest.
UFC stats have the Igor MMA trained fighter outlanding Nuerdanbieke with significant strikes 53-17.
Culibao moves his record to 9-1-1 (UFC 1-1-1) while Nuerdanbieke drops to 19-7 (UFC 0-1).
Culibao went on to call out Chase Hooper as his next opponent and wants to fight two more times before the years end.
“I feel like it was a pretty clinical performance.”@CulibaoMMA feels like he's ready to show the featherweight division he's a future contender after securing his first UFC win and wants to fight Chase Hooper next.
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— UFC News (@UFCNews) May 22, 2021