UFC welterweight Jake Ellenberger was hoping for a solid bounce-back effort in welcoming promotional newcomer Tarec Saffiedine at Fight Night 34 in Singapore, but unfortunately those plans have been derailed. “The Juggernaut” is out of the January 4 main event after suffering an injury during training. Ellenberger was hoping to make amends after a poor showing his last time out in a decision loss against Rory MacDonald at UFC on FOX 8.
The organization was able find an opponent for Saffiedine in short order as “Sponge” will now square off against Hyun Gyu Lim. Saffiedine is the last of the former Strikeforce champions to make his Octagon debut. His last fight was back in January when he registered a dominant decision win over Nate Marquardt to win the Strikeforce welterweight title. He devastated the veteran with leg kicks throughout that five-round contest. Saffiedine had been initially scheduled to make his UFC debut against Robbie Lawler in July, but his injury issues prevented that from happening. He has a career record of 14-3 with six submission finishes.
Lim has recorded seven straight career wins, all by knockout or submission, and has looked very impressive in his two UFC appearances. The powerful South Korean most recently recorded a brutal knockout finish of Pascal Krauss at UFC 164, and that exciting affair earned him a Fight of the Night bonus. Lim had already been slated to appear at the Singapore event but will now get a serious step up in competition. He can definitely make a name for himself with a victory against a strong opponent in Saffiedine. “The Ace” is an explosive finisher with 11 of his 12 career victories having come inside the distance.
As for Saffiedine, missing out on a top-5 opponent has to be disappointing, but at least he will still get the opportunity to finally show what he’s made of inside the Octagon. If he’s victorious, maybe the UFC can look to reschedule that Ellenberger matchup down the road.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports