Former Strikeforce welterweight champion Tarec Saffiedine made a successful UFC debut as he defeated Hyun Gyu Lim in an entertaining main event bout at UFC Fight Night 34.
The event was held at the Marina Bay Sands in Marina Bay, Singapore and broadcast in Australia via UFC Fight Pass and Fuel TV/Fox Sports.
Early in the fight, Saffiedine constantly changed stances and looked to attack with his trademark leg-kicks. Lim though was able to time the kicks to trip Saffiedine and counter with punches. In the second round though, Saffiedine started to find his mark with punches, in particular a powerful right hook that had Lim rocked momentarily. The action picked up in the third round with both fighters getting into a technical battle on their feet with Saffiedine’s leg kicks really starting to take their toll on Lim with this thigh turning notable purple colour from the punishment. A further two leg kicks dropped Lim to the canvas, as Saffiedine followed him down to the ground. After some inactivity on the ground, the referee stood them up where Saffiedine continued with the punishing leg kicks.
Lim survived until the end of the round and came out aggressive in the fourth round swinging wild punches as Saffiedine continued his barrage of leg kicks. A nicely timed flying knee dropped Lima as Saffiedine again chose to follow his opponent to the ground. Saffiedine tired significantly in the fifth round as Lim showed courageous heart and courage and even came close to finishing Saffiedine, rocking the 27 year-old just before the buzzer went to end the fight.
In the end, all three judges awarded the fight to Saffiedine who starts of his UFC career with a win. The former Strikeforce welterweight champion takes his record to 15-3 while Lim drops to 12-4-1 (UFC 2-1).
In the semi-main event, Japanese Pride FC and Dream veteran Tatsuya Kawajiri (32-7, 2 draw) made his long overdue debut in the UFC when he took on undefeated Blackzilian fighter, Sean Soriano (8-0).
Soriano did well defending the early takedown attempts from Kawajiri and landing a flush knee that opened up a cut on the bridge of Kawajiri’s nose. Late in the round thouhg, Kawajiri was finally able to to utilise his wrestling skills to get the fight to the ground where he attacked with a rear-naked choke. Soriano was able to defend the choke as Kawajiri landed solid strikes from there until the round ended. Early in the second round, Kawajiri wrestled Soriano to the ground and again was able to take the back. This time the 35 year-old was quickly able to get the arm under the neck to force Soriano to tap however referee Steve Perceval missed the tap, which allowed Soriano to go unconscious.
The end came at 50-seconds of round two as Kawajiri took his professional record to 32-7-2 (UFC 1-0). Soriano drops his first professional bout to drop to 8-1 (UFC 0-1).
The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 2 contestant, Luis Jorge Dutra Jr, made his UFC debut however left the cage in tears after being disqualified for illegal elbows midway through the first round.
Japanese fighter Kunimoto was attacking with a takedown attempt against the cage, before the Brazilian landed a series of downward elbows which also hit the back of the head of Kunimoto. The Japanese fighter immediately went down, and the doctor and a translator were called into the cage. After a brief inspection, Kunimoto was asked if he could continue before the referee John Sharp stopped the fight awarding Kunimoto the win via disqualification. Dutra protested the stoppage before leaving the cage. The end came only 2:57 into the fight.
With the win, Kunimoto wins his fifth consecutive fight to take his professional record to 15-5-2, 1 no-contest (UFC 1-0). Dutra Jr. drops to 11-3-1.
In the opening fight of the main card, 26 year-old South Korean fighter Kyung Ho Kang overcame a first-round two-points deduction to submit his opponent, Shunichi Shimizu in the third round to capture his first UFC victory.
Kang was dominating the fight early, attacking with a triangle choke and armbar submission, however as Shimizu escaped, Kang landed a pair of illegal downward elbows. Referee Steve Perceval immediately took a two point deduction from the South Korean fighter. The situation turned further strange, when as the fight restarted Shimizu went down due to a low blow. Despite the fight being halted, the referee spoke to Shimizu and explained to the fighter that it was not a low blow before restarting the contest. As the fight went on, Kang kept the pressure on his opponent and in the third round was able to get the fight to the ground where he landed constant short elbows to mark up Shimizu. Kang then put an exclamation point but submitting Shimizu with an head-arm choke.
The submission came 3:53 into the fight as Kang took his record to 12-7, 1 no-contest (UFC 1-1, 1 no-contest). Shimizu drops to 28-9, 10 draws.
- Tarec Saffiedine def Hyun Gyu Lim via Decision (Unanimous 49-47, 48-47, 48-47)
- Tatsuya Kawajiri def Sean Soriano via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke), Rd 2, 0:50
- Kiichi Kunimoto def Luis Jorge Dutra Jr. via Disqualification (Illegal Elbows), Rd 1, 2:57
- Kyung Ho Kang def Shunichi Shimizu via Submission (Head-Arm Choke), Rd 3, 3:53
Preliminary Card (Recap):
- Max Holloway def Will Chope via TKO (Punches), Rd 2, 2:27
- Katsunori Kikuno def Quinn Mulhern via Decision (Unanimous – 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Royston Wee def Dave Galera via Decision (Unanimous – 30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
- Mairbek Taisumov def Tae Hyun Bang via Decision (Unanimous – 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Dustin Kimura def Jon delos Reyes via Submission (Armbar), Rd 1, 2:13
- Russell Doane def Leandro Issa via Technical Submission (Triangle Choke), Rd 2, 4:59