UFC 298: Marcos Rogerio de Lima Decimates Junior Tafa with Calf Kicks

Marcos Rogerio de Lima and Junior Tafa, UFC 298
Marcos Rogerio de Lima and Junior Tafa, UFC 298 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

One of the more surprising stories of UFC 298’s fight week was Junior Tafa stepping in to replace brother Justin against Marcos Rogerio de Lima in the event’s lone heavyweight fight.

With the Tafa brothers both fighting at heavyweight the move made sense — but even if he had been part of Justin’s camp, it was still an incredibly risky choice for Junior Tafa, with de Lima a very dangerous talent.

Early on, there was a bit of trading and a couple of kicks, before the pair planted and traded a bit. Rogerio de Lima then went back to his kicks, getting in some low kicks and chewing up the calf of Tafa. But with Tafa off-balance and already limping, Marcos Rogerio de Lima opted to close the distance, tie things up, and look for a takedown.

Eventually, that takedown would come, allowed Rogerio de Lima to settle into half-guard and pepper Junior Tafa with punches. Tafa, unable to turn or scramble out, settled for tying up the Brazilian, who was threatening to take the back or move to mount at times.

Tafa came out in the second clearly walking gingerly, and was felled off the first kick, though to his credit Junior did make it back to his feet. He wouldn’t stay there long, however, and the fight wouldn’t last much longer. One more sharp calf kick, and Tafa went down, falling to his back unable to get up. “Pezao” de Lima added a few ground strikes to earn the stoppage from ref Frank Trigg, ending Tafa’s remarkable attempt to fill in for his big brother.

Official Result: Marcos Rogerio de Lima def. Justin Tafa by TKO, Round 2, 1:14