Tarec Saffiedine will become the last of the former Strikeforce champions to compete in the UFC when he squares off against Hyun-Gyu Lim in the main event of Fight Night 34 in Singapore this weekend. “Sponge” hasn’t fought since a dominant five-round decision victory over Nate Marquardt in January of 2013 that made him the organization’s final welterweight champion.
It was an impressive performance, but the momentum for the 27-year-old has been stalled by injuries since then.
The Belgian kickboxing specialist has been itching to make his Octagon debut and now his health will finally allow that to happen. In the past, injury issues prevented him from competing in a UFC matchup against welterweight title contender Robbie Lawler, and also removed him from discussions about a possible clash against Matt Brown.
Saffiedine had been originally slated to battle Jake Ellenberger in the UFC’s first main event of 2014, but “The Juggernaut” was forced out of the encounter because of a hamstring injury. Now the 14-3 Saffiedine gets a highly dangerous, but relatively unknown opponent in Lim.
Saffiedine only has one knockout victory to his credit, but does possess five submission victories in his career. He has outstanding leg kicks as he showcased in his brutal beatdown of Marquardt, and has never been knocked out or submitted.
“The Ace” has impressed in his relatively brief Octagon career by recording two stoppage victories. The South Korean most recently turned in a Fight of the Night performance in his first-round TKO victory at UFC 164 against Pascal Krauss. Lim has tremendous raw power that has been on prime display with six first-round finishes during his current seven-fight win streak.
He’s shown himself to be a tremendous closer with 11 of his 12 career wins having come by either knockout or submission. A win over Saffiedine would definitely be the biggest of Lim’s career and would immediately vault him into top-15 territory in the new-look 170-pound landscape.
This is a fight that Saffiedine has waited a long time for, and he needs to impress. Saffiedine has won his last four fights since his last loss back in 2011 against Tyron Woodley. If Saffiedine is serious about joining a number of his Strikeforce brethren in impressing in the UFC, he simply can’t afford to falter in his Octagon debut.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports