Jared Vanderaa hoping to put his striking on display at UFC Vegas 27

Jared Vanderaa hoping to put his striking on display at UFC Vegas 27 thumbnail

After having picked up two wins in a row, heavyweight Jared Vanderaa suffered his first loss in over a year in a half this past February to Sergey Spivak at UFC Fight Night.

Looking back on the loss, Vanderaa feels like he’s able to pinpoint what were the biggest determining factors in suffering the second round TKO defeat.

“I think two big factors kicked me in that ass for that fight,” Vanderaa told “One was Covid prolonged that fight, and that kind of got into my head. And then secondly was the whole oohs and aahs of being part of the UFC roster.

“When I was out at the Contender Series I got a taste of it and got to experience some of those things, but once I signed to the UFC it was a whole other level of respect or something. If I did not catch Covid I think that would play a different factor in that fight.”

Following the loss to Spivak, Vanderaa opted to make a change to his training camp, and now feels like a more cohesive team will help him moving forward.

“I started working with a new coach for wrestling, and strength and conditioning, but we didn’t work as much in those six weeks (prior to the last fight), but now I have him playing a bigger role this camp,” said Vanderaa. “I like how we worked, but let’s do the full thing to incorporate you into the camp.

“My striking coach and him started working things out and working together to get me ready for this fight. The biggest thing is that I had a camp where my camp where my coaches were all on the same page, putting me totally in focus. Hopefully that shows in this fight.”

On May 22 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Vanderaa (11-5) will look to rebound when he takes on Justin Tafa (4-2) in a preliminary heavyweight bout at UFC Vegas 27.

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“Predominantly through my career my training partners have been left handers, so I kind of have this natural flow with lefties,” Vanderaa said. “Most lefties are not comfortable fighting a righty who is good at combating fighting a lefty. That I think is a huge in my favor (against Tafa).

“I see this going anywhere. I think my stand-up should shine in this fight. I didn’t really get a chance to display that much in my Sergey fight, so I’m hoping to show here that I can use my stand-up when I need to. I’m looking forward to it.”

For Vanderaa the main goal is to compete as much as he can. It doesn’t matter who the UFC matches him up against, as long as Vanderaa is competing he’s happy.

“Honestly a piece of me wants to be like I want to shoot up the rankings and do that and do that, but a bigger piece of me wants to just fight,” said Vanderaa. “There are so many people I would like to fight and challenge. I would just like to fight two or three more times by the end of this year.

“If (Andrei) Arlovski doesn’t have an opponent, I would love to fight him. If he’s busy and they offer another person, I’d take him too. There’s a lot of people I would like to fight; Ben Rothwell; nothing against these guys but I want to fight them. I enjoy fighting and we get paid to do it.”

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