UFC 298 Results: 24-Hour Notice Prelim Fighter Suffers Nasty Leg Kick TKO

MMA is merciless, and it showed at UFC 298 in Anaheim. Junior Tafa, standing in for his injured brother Justin Tafa, wasn’t granted the underdog story that many were hoping for.

Despite being the younger Tafa brother, “The Juggernaut” was a top-five competitor in GLORY kickboxing before his UFC career, which makes his loss even more surprising. His opponent, Marcos Rogerio de Lima, invested early in low calf kicks, essentially crippling his Kiwi foe in under one round.

De Lima baffled the UFC commentators when he decided to take his one-legged foe down to the ground, but he later explained that he was working to exhaust his opponent. In between rounds, Tafa got a fiery pep-talk as though his corner were trying to inspire his very own Rocky moment, but it was too little too late. As the second round began, Tafa went for broke, but de Lima intercepted his straight shots with more chopping kicks. The Kiwi titan fell flat on his back and de Lima resumed some ground and pound – the fight was called off.

Video via UFC

It’s a devastating defeat for Tafa, who is now 1-2 in his UFC tenure. However, he’ll surely get some favorable treatment for saving the fight on a day’s notice. As for de Lima, he protects his ranking and re-enters the win column after a stunning knockout defeat to Derrick Lewis in mid-2023.

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Mathew Riddle