Tarec Saffiedine left Strikeforce as its welterweight champion, the last titleholder before the promotion went under. He took the belt from Nate Marquardt, punishing the UFC vet’s legs with vicious leg kicks.
Saffiedine predicts that in the upcoming match up, UFC champ George St-Pierre will defeat Johny Hendricks when the two collide at UFC 167 later this month.
“GSP wins the fight,” Saffiedine told MMA Fighting. “Johny is really tough, he has big heavy hands and good wrestling, but GSP is a technical level above him. Hendricks wants to brawl, but GSP uses his footwork and jab.”
Saffiedine adds he only foresees one problem for GSP.
“GSP hasn’t fought a southpaw so we will see how he reacts to that,” Saffiedine said.
Saffiedine, 14-3, has never been knocked out or submitted. He will have his own hands full when he makes his UFC debut against Jake Ellenberger on Jan. 4 at UFC Fight Night 34. Ellenberger brings heavy hands into the fight. Matched with Saffiedine’s striking ability, the fight could be a compelling stand-up battle.
He has won four straight and has not lost since January of 2011, when he lost a unanimous decision to Tyron Woodley.
St-Pierre is looking to extend his run as champion against the hard-hitting Hendricks, who has KO’d Martin Kampmann and Jon Fitch. Hendricks also holds victories over Josh Koscheck and Carlos Condit. Although Hendricks gets attention for his power, he is also skilled on the ground. He’s a former high school and college wrestling star.
With a victory over Ellenberger, Saffiedine could be in line for a title shot against the winner of the GSP-Hendricks fight.