The UFC kicks of 2014 with arguably its most lackluster card ever as it seeks to expand its international presence with shows almost entirely catered to local markets. Still, the card has some things to like, namely, the UFC debuts of Tatsuya Kawajiri, Katsunori Kikuno and former Strikeforce welterweight champion Tarec Saffiedine.
What: UFC Fight Night 34: Saffiedine vs. Lim
Where: Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Casino, Singapore
When: Saturday, the fight card begins at 6 a.m. EST on UFC Fight Pass and the main card kicks off at 9 a.m. EST also on UFC Fight Pass.
Tarec Saffiedine vs. Hyun Gyu Lim
Lim is a large welterweight and a strong puncher, but hasn't faced the same caliber of fighter Saffiedine has. Saffiedine also has the ability to methodically fight, slowing down the pace of the contest to chip away at big punchers or strong starters. Lim could obviously land a big shot if Saffiedine doesn't show up, but otherwise this is his fight to lose.
Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Sean Soriano
Soriano can seemingly do it all well, but against someone with Kawajiri's background? That's the key question. I suspect it's a little too much for the Blackzillian at this stage in his career. Kawajiri should be able to match if not beat or at least out power Soriano in nearly every dimension of the game.
A battle of the international prospects here. Both are a little long in the tooth for their status in the game, but also have vast international experience. I've seen more of Dutra than Kunimoto, so I'll be ultra scientific and lean towards the Brazilian.
I'm not particularly high on Kang, but he's got more than enough to dispatch with Shimizu. Be it wrestling or striking at distance, he should have zero issue in this contest.
From the preliminary card: