UFC 293 KO machine returns after brutal eye poke ended last fight in 30 seconds

Justin Tafa is looking to banish the memory of a horrific eye poke when he returns to the Octagon at UFC 293.

The New Zealander is running it back against NFL star turned heavyweight contender Austen Lane less than three months after their first match-up lasted only 30 seconds.

Tafa, 29, was unable to continue in Florida on June 24 and later called for his opponent to be disqualified post-event – before the bout was rearranged by the promotion.

The pair were swinging wildly before becoming embroiled in a clinch as Lane pushed out – inadvertently into the eye of his rival before the doctor stepped in.

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“I thought my eyeball had been ripped out, honestly,” Tafa told the Herald Sun after the bout. “That's why I turned around and stepped away.”

“The first thing I was thinking was, ‘can I see my kids again?’ “I didn't even care about the fight, I thought my eyeball had come out of my face.

“I just hope it's not really bad damage. Everything's blurry now. I can see your face, but everything's just blurry."

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Tafa (6-3) has won by knockout six times since his 2018 debut, including first-round finishes of Harry Hunsucker and Parker Porter in the UFC.

Lane, 35, who has a professional record of 12-3 in MMA after a lucrative career as a defensive end, has 11 knockouts of his own including one in the Contender Series.

The pair square off on the main card of the UFC Middleweight Championship bout between Israel Adesanya and Sean Strickland.

The time for talking is almost over as KSI and Tommy Fury will bury their rivarly once and for all as they face off in Manchester on Saturday, October 14th. Logan Paul will also be fighting at the event in front of what is expected to be a sell-out crowd.

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Adesanya, a two-time champion in the division, goes into the fight as a huge favourite with seven title fight wins to his name.

Strickland is a former welterweight with two losses in his most recent four bouts, with the fight initially planned to see Adesanya take on Dricus Du Plessis.

Watch UFC 293: Adesanya vs. Strickland on TNT Sports in the UK from 1am in the early hours of Sunday morning. The main card gets underway from 3am.

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