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Justin Tafa on another fight swap with brother Junior: ‘Just like old times back at the playground’

LAS VEGAS – These Tafa Brothers are starting to make a habit of being interchangeable.

In February, Justin Tafa was set to take on Marcos Rogerio de Lima, but had to pull out in the middle of fight week with an injury. Fortunately, his brother Junior was on hand and stepped in to save the fight.

This time around, it’s Junior that had to withdraw from a fight against Karl Williams (9-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) on Saturday at UFC on ESPN 53 (ESPN/ESPN+) at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, and Justin Tafa (7-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) is stepping in to repay the favor.

“It’s just like old times back at the playground,” Justin Tafa said at Wednesday’s UFC on ESPN 53 media day. “Sometimes I’m not ready to fight, so my brother goes and steps in and fights for me. … We were really confident that my brother could have put de Lima away. I’ve seen my brother knock out top-10 heavyweight boxers – and after going out on a bender. He can knock anyone out on any given night.

“We weren’t planning on him not taking this fight. When we went back to Australia, we saw the severity of his injury and I told him I’ll go and check myself and if they say I’m ready, I could be ready by fight night. I’ll take the fight and do a solid for him.”

Junior Tafa was put away by de Lima after a bevy of leg kicks, so Justin no doubt will be hoping for a better experience against Williams in Saturday’s co-main event.

Check out Tafa’s full media day interview in the video above.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 53.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie