For those of us who got up at six thirty in the morning to watch UFC Fight Night 34, it was kind of worth it. First off, free fights are free fights and I will watch them no matter what the time. The good thing about these “Fight Nights” is that they show who is up-and-coming. You get your first look at how the new guys are coming and how they react to the spotlight. It has to be massive amounts of pressure to step into the octagon for the first time, but there has to be more when you were the former champion of a rival organization, which is what Tarec Saffiedine stepped into.
Saffiedine got his biggest win after destroying the legs of Nate Marquardt to capture the Strikeforce Welterweight Championship. It was at Strikeforce’s final event, and all of the fans were expecting the new champion to get a stern test when he finally entered the octagon. After a few switches of opponents, Saffiedine was scheduled to face Hyun Gyu Lim, a Korean brawler who has two knockouts in the UFC. The fight was pretty good, considering that no matter how good Saffiedine looked, he still did not finish an opponent he was supposed to destroy. Here is where the problem lies.
Saffiedine was supposed to be a legitimate contender, however, right now, I’m not so sure he is. It could have been the octagon jitters, it could have been the amount of traveling he had to do, it could have been the weight cut, but for some reason, he seemed off. He was not a killer, he did not try to finish his opponent when he could have, and he did not take risks. He won the fight, that is for sure, but he failed to impress the UFC and the audience. The best thing he did with this fight was save his job.