The last Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Tarec Saffiedine finally makes his UFC debut after a year long absence this Saturday as he takes on surging South Korean Hyun-Gyu Lim in the main event of UFC Singapore. The fight card is the first live event to be streamed on the UFC’s new online network “UFC Fight Pass” and will begin airing with prelims at 6:30 AM/3:30 AM ETPT. Take a look below for a complete breakdown and prediction of this Saturday Morning’s main event.
Welterweight Bout: Tarec “The Sponge” Saffiedine (14-3) vs. Hyun-Gyu Lim (12-3-1)
Breakdown: The last time we saw Tarec Saffiedine he was brutalizing the lead leg of Nate Marquardt on the final card in Strikeforce history. That fight was easily the most impressive of Saffiedine’s career as he looked like a far more polished striker than the UFC veteran. Saffiedine used great counter striking in that bout dropping Marquardt in the first round but the highlight of his striking was his kicking ability. Saffiedine’s leg kicks buckled Marquardt multiple times in the bout and severely limited his opponent’s mobility. If Saffiedine wants to defeat Lim this Saturday he has to perform the same way he did against Marquardt.
While Saffiedine does bring in very good striking there are a few holes in his game Lim can take advantage of. In his bout with Roger Bowling, Saffiedine was obviously the better striker between the two but was constantly tagged by Bowling who was moving forward and winging his punches without much technique. Lim is a better striker than Bowling with much more power. If Bowling can consistently hit Saffiedine then Lim can definitely turn “The Sponge’s” lights out. Another weakness of Saffiedine is his takedown defense. Against Tyron Woodley, Saffiedine constantly found himself either against the cage or on the mat against the decorated wrestler. In that fight Saffiedine did show some great submission skills off his back which is something to keep in mind.
Hyun-Gyu Lim is not as technical of a striker as Tarec Saffiedine, but he possesses wicked knockout power that he showed in his two UFC bouts against Marcelo Guimares and Pascal Krauss. In both fights, Lim utilized both punches and knees to violently put away his opponents. Against Guimares, Lim was the far better striker but was still constantly being hit by the Brazilian which leads to questions about his striking defense. Another concern from this fight was Lim’s over-aggression. Lim was rushing forward the entire bout which left him open for takedowns. In the second round Lim seemed to tired before landing a brutal knee out of nowhere and finishing Guimares with punches on the ground. Against Krauss, Lim was far more impressive. Lim face planted Krauss early with a punch before finishing the German with punches and knees against the cage. If this version of Lim shows up it could be a short night for Saffiedine.
Prediction: Lim can finish the fight early but against a seasoned striker like Saffiedine that’s hard to imagine. Look for Saffiedine to weather an early storm and take advantage of a fading Lim late in the fight. My prediction is Tarec Saffiedine to defeat Hyun-Gyu Lim by decision.