Tarec Saffiedine (14-3, 1 KO, 5 Subs)
Tarec Saffiedine is one tough hombre who has been flying under the radar until he defeated Nate Marquardt in the last ever Strikeforce title fight. Saffiedine, the one and done Strikeforce champion, has yet to compete under the banner of his new employer but he should get a test in Singapore when Hyun Gyu Lim steps in for an injured Jake Ellenberger.
The 27-year-old Belgian is the prototypical hybrid fighter having his martial arts pedigree rooted in Shihaishinkai which is a very physical and aggressive form of karate. After earning his black belt he veered off into BJJ, Muay Thai and wrestLimg. Like his contemporaries he seamlessly blends these forms into an effective and strategic fighting style which has allowed him to strike with the strikers and wrestle with the grapplers.
Saffiedine’s last bout was a unanimous decision over a big name fighter in Nate Marquardt. He has also gone the distance with and prevailed over another veteran cage fighter, Scott “Hands of Steel” Smith (whose first fight with Cung Le in December of ’09 is among the best I have ever witnessed), whom he defeated via unanimous decision in July of 2011.
Hyun Gyu Lim (12-3-1, 9 KO’s 1 Sub)
Something clicked for Lim shortly after February 21st, 2009 which just happens to be the date of his last defeat inside the cage. It was a unanimous decision loss to the immortal Dmitry Samoilov which came off the heels of a defeat via submission only two months earlier to the equally illustrious Max Fernandez.
But since those consecutive defeats Lim has been a man possessed. He has rattled off seven consecutive victories, picked up a belt that confirms him as the Pacific Xtreme Combat Welterweight champion and absolutely throttled the opposition in the process. Of his seven consecutive wins, six have come by way of knockout while the other was a submission of Ryan Biglar via guillotine choke.
I guess we have to ask ourselves who has Lim really beaten? Well I can answer that and tell you - no one of note. However, his last two fights have been under the UFC banner and nobody gets their ticket punched inside the Octagon unless they've got game. Lim's last opponent, the German Pascal Krauss, was KO'ed by a series of wicked knees and punches delivered in brutal fashion by the highly chiseled Hyun Gyu Lim.
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Many may leap to the conclusion that Lim will be at a severe disadvantage because he only received notice that he would be replacing Ellenberger in late November. No time to prepare, train and scout his opponent effectively. Well, only the latter applies because Lim was due to be on this card anyway however he was originally slated to fight Kiichi Kunimoto. So no big deal in that respect and Saffiedine is at the same disadvantage in terms of scouting his opponent because he found out at the same time that Ellenberger was out and Lim was in.
Now that we have that out of the way, how do these two fighters match up? It appears that Saffiedine is the more complete fighter with a more sophisticated pedigree. However, the fact of the matter is that Lim has been on a search and destroy mission while Saffiedine has been besting his most recent opponents by decision.I'm going to give the flame throwing South Korean the edge here. At 6'2" he is a tall welterweight but not lanky. In fact, he is ripped and jacked so Saffiedine won't be walking through this guy anytime soon. As of this writing there are no UFC odds on this fight but when WilliamHill.com or Bet365.com does start dealing, go shopping and get the best price on Hyun Gyu Lim in your UFC picks.