It’s taken quite awhile for final Strikeforce welterweight champion Tarec Saffiedine to make his Octagon debut, but it appears that the day is finally here.
And it will be no warm welcoming to the UFC.
Saffiedine is booked to face No. 5-ranked welterweight Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger at the UFC’s yet-to-be named Singapore debut that will take place next January 4. MMA Junkie broke the news that each fighter has verbally agreed to the bout.
It’ll be a tough test for both fighters, as each will need a big win to regain lost momentum. Ellenberger was last seen turning in the worst performance of his career at UFC on Fox 8 against Rory MacDonald. Ellenberger never got his trademark aggressiveness working, and he was held at bay by the taller MacDonald’s jab. Ellenberger said he wasn’t himself for that bout, but that’s all water under the bridge at this point.
Saffiedine won the Strikeforce title in a huge upset over Nate Marquardt at the promotion’s final show back in January. It put him on the welterweight map, and he signed on to make his UFC debut against the streaking Robbie Lawler at UFC on Fox 8 as well. However, a slew of injuries have since derailed the Belgian kickboxer’s training regimen.
Now, it appears that he’s slowly getting back to health and will immediately show whether or not he has the tools to compete in one of the most talent-heavy divisions in all of MMA. Before losing to MacDonald, Ellenberger destroyed Marquardt with a stoppage at UFC 158 this March, so the two have a recent opponent in common. Can Saffiedine shock the world again and hand “The Juggernaut” two losses in a row?