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Tarec Saffiedine eyes top 10 ranking with win over Hyun Gyu Lim

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UFC newcomer and former Strikeforce champ Tarec Saffiedine (14-3) believes a win over Hyun Gyu Lim (12-3-1) on Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 34 card is going to earn him a spot in the UFC’s top ten 170-lbs rankings.

The 27-year-old topped Nate Marquardt in a Welterweight title match-up in Strikeforce last year, before making a move to the UFC once the promotion pulled its final plug.

Tarec Saffiedine eyes top 10 ranking with win over Hyun Gyu Lim

He has found a new home, but injuries and health issues have apparently forced the fighter onto the sidelines. It’s been almost a year since Saffiedine last dazzled under the bright lights but the Belgian insisted he has kept himself busy during the spell and feels he can still perform, regardless, on fight night.

“I haven’t been sitting at home all year long not doing anything,” Saffiedine told MMASucka.com, in an interview held in Singapore today. “I’ve been training and trying to stay in shape as much as I could. I’ve not been eating pizzas and ice creams all year either so I’m confident the layoff is not going to affect me.”

The Belgian was originally slated to face Jake Ellenberger in what would have been a blockbuster main event for the Singaporean faithfuls. But Ellenberger suffered an unfortunate injury during training, giving Hyun Gyu Lim the opportunity to step up to the plate and share the headlining status alongside Saffiedine.

IMG_0485Despite nearly a year of inactivity, Saffiedine is still in the form of his life with a four-fight win streak neatly tucked away in his pocket. Yet, Lim perhaps serves as his greatest threat to date, with the South Korean garnering two impressive stoppages in his back-to-back UFC outings.

“I’m not underestimating Lim at all. He’s a dangerous fighter and a dangerous opponent. Obviously he has a lot to gain in this fight but I’m coming to win.  I’ll beat whoever’s in front of me. I’m training really hard to face Lim and I’m ready for him,” Saffiedine said.

“I’m going to approach this fight the same way I approached my fights in the past. He’s dangerous, he has knockout power and I believe he’s not going to be any different in this fight. So I have to stick to what I do best and that’s what I’m going to focus on.”

Saffiedine has wins over Roger Bowling, Scott Smith and Brock Larson – fighters that are more experienced than Lim. But the Belgian explained how important it was for him to keep improving in his all round MMA game. Especially with the unpredictability that fighters are starting to exhibit these days.

“I’ve been training in everything – Muay Thai, Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling. When I fight, I don’t particularly focus on one area over another,” the 27-year-old said. “I always try to improve in all MMA aspects. And obviously putting together a game plan for someone like Lim will be difficult, so I always train in every area.”

Saffiedine hopes that at the end of the day, a win over a starlet like Lim would help propel him up the rankings, with long time Welterweight kingpin Georges St. Pierre taking time off the sport. He feels it’s his chance to shine now.

“I believe I’ll be back in the top ten. And hopefully I’ll be given the opportunity to fight the top five and top ten guys.”

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UFC Fight Night 34 takes place at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Singapore. The event will only be available on the all-new “UFC Fight Pass” network, which will stream proceedings LIVE starting with prelims at 6 a.m. ET, and the main card at 9 a.m. ET.

Here’s the full fight card:

MAIN CARD

  • Tarec Saffiedine vs. Hyun Gyu Lim
  • Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Sean Soriano
  • Luiz Dutra Jr. vs. Kiichi Kunimoto
  • Kyung Ho Kang vs. Shunichi Shimizu

PRELIMS

  • Will Chope vs. Max Holloway
  • Katsunori Kikuno vs. Quinn Mulhern
  • David Galera vs. Royston Wee
  • Tae Hyun Bang vs. Mairbek Taisumov
  • Dustin Kimura vs. Jon delos Reyes
  • Russell Doane vs. Leandro Issa

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Follow Thinesh on Twitter (@ThineshJohnMMA), and keep up with the latest MMA news from MMASucka via Twitter (@MMASucka) and Facebook

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20, Asian MMA enthusiast in Singapore.

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