Following a loss in his first fight of 2021 to Sergey Spivak at UFC Fight Night in February, heavyweight Jared Vanderaa was looking to rebound when he took on Justin Tafa at UFC Fight Night in May.
Following three rounds, Vanderaa was able to pick up the unanimous decision victory, and pick up his first win proper in the UFC.
“I felt like that fight went not according to plan,” Vanderaa told MMAWeekly.com. “The plan was to take him down and beat him up on the ground, and you saw how that went.
“It was a good fight at the end of the day because I got Fight of the Night. I know my corner was like I was going to get Fight of the Night, and I knew I could, but my focus was just on winning.”
Having had mixed results when a fight goes the distance, Vanderaa was hoping his fight wouldn’t come down to a decision, but a win’s a win in his book.
“I didn’t care how I won other than I didn’t want to go to the judges,” said Vanderaa. “The judges do not like me. In that case it worked out in my favor and I got a bonus as well.”
This Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada, Vanderaa (12-5) will look to build a winning streak for himself when he takes on Alexander Romanov (14-0) in a preliminary heavyweight bout at UFC Fight Night: Dern vs. Rodriguez.
“I have to survive him trying to eat me for three rounds,” Vanderaa said of Romanov. “That’s the big one. After that if I run in a circle enough I don’t think he has the cardio to keep up. I’m going to tire him out and beat him by exhaustion.
“I definitely think his wrestling is something formidable, but I feel I have the edge in the striking department, the cardio, and I think he comes in heavy and that could be a detriment to his game plan.”
For Vanderaa continuing to win and stay in the UFC is the biggest thing right now, as he doesn’t want to be a fighter that constantly cycles in and out of the promotion.
“That’s the main goal is to continue winning and maintaining that contract,” said Vanderaa.
“My goal was to fight in the UFC and retire in the UFC. I’m there now and I’ve seen some of those guys who do a little stint in the UFC and get kicked out then take a few fights and come back and do all right, but I want to stay in the UFC (and not have to leave and come back).”