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UFC on ESPN 53: Quick Picks and Prognostications


Death, taxes, and the UFC matchmakers force-feeding us lower-level heavyweights on Fight Night main cards.

Despite having fun matchups like Julian Erosa vs. Ricardo Ramos on the prelims, the matchmakers saw fit to put another impromptu fight on the main card in the form of Karl Williams and Justin Tafa.

Williams was initially slated to face Junior Tafa, who was pulled from this fight to fill in for his brother back at UFC 298. Now, looking to complete “the Tafa shuffle,” Justin will return the favor to his brother by fighting in his stead to keep this booking alive.

Even though Williams’ wrestling should be enough to win this fight on paper, I’m not sure if the former high school wrestler’s game has developed enough to ensure a finish this Saturday. And if Williams is unable to put Tafa away, then he’ll likely be subjected to standing with the Samoan southpaw in between his wrestling bursts.

If Tafa’s whizzer defense can hold up as well as Lukasz Brzeski’s did against Williams, then I suspect that the New Zealand native will have his fair chances of taxing his former light-heavyweight foe on the feet and off the breaks.

It’s not a pick you can be confident in, but I’ll take a flier on the underdog Tafa to find a knockout in Round 2.

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