Recent RIZIN Vet Junior Tafa Gets Austen Lane at UFC 284 in Perth

Junior Tafa has signed with the UFC, will debut at UFC 284
Junior Tafa, RIZIN 40 weigh-in Credit: RIZIN FF

Heavyweight Junior Tafa is the first of our 10 Heavyweight Prospects the UFC Should Sign in 2023 to make it to the big show.

Tafa (4-0) will face Contender Series alum Austen Lane (12-3) at UFC 284 on February 11, 2023.

ESPN, the UFC’s official broadcast partner, recently added the bout to the event’s line-up. The preliminary card scrap will take place on the UFC 284 early prelims.

Tafa, who fought at RIZIN 40 on New Year’s Eve, will be fighting at home in Australia alongside brother Justin Tafa at the Perth card. A former kickboxer who competed for Glory, he’s been perfect through four fights so far.

All four of Tafa’s wins in MMA have come inside the distance. At the Bellator MMA vs. RIZIN card just over two weeks ago, he stopped Tsuyoshi Sudario with punches in just over a minute and a half.

Austen Lane may be best remembered as Greg Hardy’s first opponent on Dana White’s Contender Series. That fight did not go Lane’s way. But he stayed the course, embarking on a six-fight win streak in 2020 that brought him to the Contender Series once again last year.

This time, Lane finished Ricardo Jacobi with ground n’ pound in the opening round of their match-up. That earned Lane a UFC deal, and he’ll make his promotional debut against Tafa.

UFC 284 will take place at the RAC Arena in Perth, Australia on February 11, 2023 (Feb. 12 locally); Islam Makhachev will welcome featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski to the lightweight fold in the main event. A second title fight, this one for an interim belt, sees Josh Emmett face Yair Rodriguez at featherweight.

The following match-ups have been reported for the show to date:

  • Islam Makhachev (c) vs. Alexander Volkanovski – for the UFC lightweight championship
  • Yair Rodríguez vs. Josh Emmett – for the UFC interim featherweight championship
  • Jack Della Maddalena vs. Randy Brown
  • Loma Lookboonmee vs. Elise Reed
  • Justin Tafa vs. Parker Porter
  • Tyson Pedro vs. Zhang Mingyang
  • Jimmy Crute vs. Alonzo Menifield
  • Joshua Culibao vs. Melsik Baghdasaryan
  • Shannon Ross vs. Kleydson Rodrigues
  • Jack Jenkins vs. Don Shainis
  • Jamie Mullarkey vs. Francisco Prado
  • Shane Young vs. Blake Bilder
  • Zubaira Tukhugov vs. Elves Brenner
  • Junior Tafa vs. Austen Lane


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