A key welterweight clash between Jake Ellenberger and Tarec Saffiedine is the latest addition to UFC 172. The two fighters were originally slated to meet at Fight Night 34 in Singapore, but an Ellenberger injury scuttled those plans. With the No. 5 ranked Ellenberger now ready to return to action and Saffiedine fresh off a successful Octagon debut, they will now square off in Baltimore on April 26. While their bout in Singapore had been set as a 5-round affair, the clash at UFC 172 will be a three-rounder.
Saffiedine was the last of the former Strikeforce champions to appear in the UFC and put on a leg-kick clinic in securing a unanimous decision victory over very game South Korean Hyun Gyu Lim. Saffiedine survived a scare in the final moments of the fight when Lim, who was basically fighting on one leg, landed some powerful strikes in the fifth and final round that had the Belgian on rubbery legs. He’s reeled off a five-fight win streak since his last defeat at the hands of Tyron Woodley.
Ellenberger will be looking to get his career back on track after a very lackluster effort in his last fight against Rory MacDonald at UFC on FOX 8. The decision loss dropped his record inside the Octagon to 8-3. Ellenberger, known for his power as “The Juggernaut”, has posted 18 knockouts in 29 career victories. He’s faced many of the top names in the weight class and holds impressive victories over the likes of Jake Shields, Nate Marquardt and Diego Sanchez. Ellenberger will no doubt be looking to deliver an explosive performance in April after failing to get untracked offensively in his last fight against MacDonald.
This shapes up as a very interesting matchup between two top 10 welterweights. The No. 9 ranked Saffiedine is definitely getting a step up in competition in his second UFC appearance. He’s confident he has the skills to be a champion and will get the chance to up his stock with a win over the hard-hitting Ellenberger. If Ellenberger has any designs on being in the title mix in the welterweight division’s new landscape, he will need to look impressive against the surging Saffiedine.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports