If ever a UFC card has flown under the fans radar, then surely it has to be Fight Night 34: Saffiedine VS. Lim.
The event has received little fanfare from either the promotion or the media and as such, many fans, at least the casual ones, are probably unaware that the UFC kicks off its 2014 campaign this weekend in Singapore.
Yes, on Saturday night Tarec Saffiedine, the last man to hold the Strikeforce welterweight belt, makes his UFC debut performance, when he steps into the Octagon against South Korean Hyun Gyu Lim.
As the Strikeforce 170 pound champion, Saffiedine entered into the UFC amidst some buzz and hype. However and aside from his January 13th win over Nate Marquardt and the claiming of Strikeforce’s welterweight title, he has been sidelined with injuries for the whole of the year and racked up no other fights.
Now that he’s healthy, he’s been given the dubious honor of headlining a card that most fans have paid no attention to, as well as garnering a tough opponent in Hyun Gyu Lim.
Lim is on a seven fight winning streak and through its run Hyun has managed to stop all of his opponents, with only one, Marcelo Guimaraes, making it out of the first round; he was subsequently dispatched in the second. As such and beginning in February of 2010, Lim has been undefeated in the last four years and has amassed a 100% finishing rate, while doing so; six T/KOs’ and one submission.
In short, “The Ace” is both hot and a finisher, and could well prove a difficult go for Saffiedine, particularly given that this is Tarec’s first fight in a year. As fans know, ring-rust can be a problem for some fighters and even more so, when they’re going up against an opponent that has a reputation for not only finishing, but finishing early. Given that this is the case going up against Lim, Tarec is apt to have little time to find his feet and catch his rhythm, before having the fight brought to him. Conversely, Lim is only four months removed from his last fight (a three minute-forty-eight second affair) and likely to have no rust or jitters going into the match, particularly in his own backyard of Singapore.
The book on this fight is likely to be, that if Tarec is to win he’ll probably need to grind out a decision. If not, then perhaps he can garner a victory by way of submission. As Lim has never been KO’d in 15 professional fights, but submitted twice in his three recorded losses, it appears that a decision or submission victory might be the order of the day for Tarec.
By contrast, Lim also has a tough go on his plate in Saffiedine. In his 17 professional fights “Sponge” has never been stopped and the best that any opponent has ever been able to do against him has been to take him to a decision loss; three in total. Saffiedine is good everywhere and has the power to end a fight, but that said, his last four fights and wins have all been by way of decision.
All things considered, this should be a competitive match and the longer it goes, the better it will be looking for Tarec.
In effort to wet your MMA palate in advance of this weekend’s bout, here’s Hyun Gyu Lim’s last fight and KO win, from August’s UFC 164 card and his dispatch of Pascal Krauss.
Don’t forget, the card is Saturday night and starts at 9 p.m. ET, as broadcast on your local cable station.
Outside photo courtesy of ArabsMMA.com