Tarec Saffiedine was victorious at Ultimate Fight Night 34 in Singapore this past Saturday, and also took home FOTN honors for his main event bout against Hyun Gyu Lim. ‘The Ace’ was on a seven fight win streak that included two UFC knockouts, and was by no means a pushover.
‘Sponge’ was the last Strikeforce Welterweight Champion and his UFC debut against Lim showcased his notorious leg kicking ability. Now on a five-fight streak, Saffiedine will surely be looking at a tough opponent in his next outing. The question is who should take on the Belgian Shihaishinkai black belt?
Well the Welterweight division is rich in talent, but actually very tied up right now. Saffiedine is ranked at number ten in the division, and there are some interesting fights that you could argue should be next. Directly ahead of ‘Sponge’ in the rankings is ‘Hitman’ Martin Kampmann, and that could be a fun fight to make.
Although coming off two straight KO losses, Kampmann has proved to be a tough and entertaining scrapper. His 11-6 UFC record isn’t exactly astonishing, but he is probably the toughest gatekeeper in the division right now. Also available for a scrap is number eight ranked ‘Immortal’ Matt Brown; another great potential barnburner.
Brown was originally slated to face Carlos Condit in a number one contender bout, but was forced to withdraw due to injury. CC now faces Tyron Woodley at 171 and Brown is yet to be matched with anyone else. ‘The Immortal’ may feel hard done by losing out on his contender fight, but a win against Saffiedine would help secure his status as a future belt challenger.
On the subject, ‘Sponge’ does have unfinished business with Tyron Woodley, ‘T-Wood’ beat him back in the Strikeforce days and this could set up well for a future grudge match. Woodley recently KO’d Josh Koscheck, who is also without a future opponent at present. It may prove to be the nail in the coffin for Kos, but I think his hopes for a future title shot are pretty dismal anyway.
An obvious option would be Saffiedine’s original UFN 34 opponent Jake Ellenberger. ‘The Juggernaut’ was forced to withdraw from the fight due to injury and, at #5, would probably be the best name that ‘Sponge’ could hope for. Then again, rankings are rapidly becoming less and less credible. Who knows, it could be Saffiedine vs. Lawler/Hendricks next….