September 6, 1986 |
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Weight||170 lb (77 kg; 12 st)|
|Reach||70 in (180 cm)|
|Fighting out of||Temecula, California, United States|
|Team||Evolve MMA, Team Quest|
|Rank||Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Black belt in Shihaishinkai Karate
Third kup red belt in Tae Kwon Do
Third kyu green belt in Judo
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Amateur kickboxing record|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
Tarec Robert Saffiedine (born September 6, 1986) is a Belgian professional mixed martial artist who currently competes in the Welterweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. A professional MMA competitor since 2007, Saffiedine has also formerly competed for DREAM and Strikeforce, and was the last Strikeforce Welterweight Champion. As of October 2, 2014, Saffiedine is #9 in official UFC Welterweight rankings.
Saffiedine was born to a Lebanese father, who emigrated to Belgium to study as an ophthalmologist, and a Belgian mother. His father was a Tae Kwon Do practitioner, and since the age of ten Saffiedine has trained in judo, Wushu, Wing Chun and Tae Kwon Do. Saffiedine grew up in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert in Brussels and also played basketball in his youth. Inspired by the Japanese comic book Tough, he finally took up karate at age 16, and in 2005 received a black belt in Shihaishinkai, a style of knockdown karate that includes striking, throws and ground fighting. He also has an amateur kickboxing record of 12-1-1 and later began training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai, and then wrestling when he emigrated to the United States. Early in his career he worked a number of jobs including in a restaurant, a cinema and as a gardener and security guard. He received his nickname, "Sponge", from one of his coaches because he learns quickly. He is also known to switch stances frequently.
Mixed martial arts career
Saffiedine made his professional mixed martial arts debut in March 2007, beating his opponent Guillaume Janvier with a kimura submission. He went on to fight a further three times that year, all in promotions in his native Belgium and France. In January 2008, he relocated to the United States and began training with Team Quest. His first fight since his trans-Atlantic move came in June that year at Ultimate Cage Wars 12 in Canada, where he defeated his opponent Rich Bondoc with an armbar submission. In 2009, he had two fights in the United States and won both.
From there, Saffiedine went to Japan to compete in DREAM. His first fight came against Seichi Ikemoto at DREAM 10: Welterweight Grand Prix 2009 Final. The bout was not part of the Welterweight Grand Prix, but was a reserve bout. Saffiedine went on to win a unanimous decision.
His next opponent under the promotion's banner was Yoon Dong-Sik, which took place at DREAM 12. He replaced former WEC Middleweight Champion Paulo Filho in the match on short notice, and lost by way of split decision. Saffiedine normally competes as a Welterweight (170 lbs.), but since he was replacing Filho, he fought as a Middleweight (185 lbs.).
He then returned to the United States to compete at Strikeforce Challengers: Kaufman vs. Hashi, where he defeated James Terry by way of unanimous decision. He used effective striking to keep his opponent off balance, going as far as to open a cut under Terry's left eye that was bleeding profusely by early in the third round. Though his opponent, an experienced wrestler, did attempt some takedowns, Saffiedine shrugged off most of them or got to his feet quickly when the action did hit the mat. All three judges scored the fight 30-27 in favor of Saffiedine.
Saffiedine was next scheduled to face off against Nate Moore on 21 May 2010 at Strikeforce Challengers: Lindland vs. Casey. The opening round provided some back-and-forth action with Moore pushing forward with a wrestling attack, then responding well when Saffiedine began to take control with his strikes. That changed in the second, as Moore returned to his takedown-heavy strategy, but Saffiedine stood tall in the face of the attack and delivered powerful punches while remaining on his feet. A well placed punch by Saffiedine ended the fight by knockout at 1:21 of the second round - his first career knockout win.
He then faced grappler Brock Larson on 11 September 2010 at Shark Fights 13, on loan from Strikeforce. After a minute-long feeling-out period, Larson shot out of the gate with punches and was dropped by a side-stepping Saffiedine's first strike. From there, Saffiedine continued to outstrike Larson and was also able to defend against takedowns for all three rounds. All judges scored the fight 30-27 in favour of Saffiedine as he won via unanimous decision.
In the last ever bout in Strikeforce history, Saffiedine utilized powerful leg kicks to win a 5-round unanimous decision against Nate Marquardt at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine to become the final Strikeforce Welterweight Champion.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
It was announced shortly after the final Strikeforce event that Saffiedine would be amongst the promotion's former fighters brought over to the UFC.
Saffiedine was expected to face former EliteXC Middleweight Champion Robbie Lawler on July 27, 2013 at UFC on Fox 8. However, Saffiedine was forced out of the bout with an injury and was replaced by Siyar Bahadurzada. Bahadurzada also suffered an injury and was then replaced by Bobby Voelker.
Saffiedine was expected to face Jake Ellenberger on January 4, 2014 at UFC Fight Night 34. However in late November, Ellenberger pulled out of the bout citing a hamstring injury and was replaced by Hyun Gyu Lim. Saffiedine won via unanimous decision. The win also earned Saffiedine his first Fight of the Night bonus award.
Saffiedine faced Rory MacDonald on October 4, 2014 at UFC Fight Night: MacDonald vs. Saffiedine. After being out-struck the first two rounds, Saffiedine was finished for the first time in his career via TKO in the third round, as he was dropped by an uppercut and follow up punches leading to the stoppage.
A bout with Matt Brown was expected to take place on February 14, 2015 at UFC Fight Night 60. However, it was announced on January 1, 2015 that Saffiedine had pulled out of the bout, citing a groin injury.
Championships and accomplishments
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|19 matches||15 wins||4 losses|
|Loss||15–4||Rory MacDonald||TKO (punches)||UFC Fight Night: MacDonald vs. Saffiedine||October 4, 2014||3||1:28||Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada|
|Win||15–3||Hyun Gyu Lim||Decision (unanimous)||UFC Fight Night: Saffiedine vs. Lim||January 4, 2014||5||5:00||Marina Bay, Singapore||Fight of the Night.|
|Win||14–3||Nate Marquardt||Decision (unanimous)||Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine||January 12, 2013||5||5:00||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States||Won the Strikeforce Welterweight Championship.|
|Win||13–3||Roger Bowling||Decision (unanimous)||Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman||August 18, 2012||3||5:00||San Diego, California, United States|
|Win||12–3||Tyler Stinson||Decision (split)||Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine||January 7, 2012||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||11–3||Scott Smith||Decision (unanimous)||Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson||July 30, 2011||3||5:00||Hoffman Estates, Illinois, United States|
|Loss||10–3||Tyron Woodley||Decision (unanimous)||Strikeforce Challengers: Woodley vs. Saffiedine||January 7, 2011||3||5:00||Nashville, Tennessee, United States|
|Win||10–2||Brock Larson||Decision (unanimous)||Shark Fights 13: Jardine vs Prangley||September 11, 2010||3||5:00||Amarillo, Texas, United States|
|Win||9–2||Nate Moore||KO (punch)||Strikeforce Challengers: Lindland vs. Casey||May 21, 2010||2||1:21||Portland, Oregon, United States|
|Win||8–2||James Terry||Decision (unanimous)||Strikeforce Challengers: Johnson vs. Mahe||February 26, 2010||3||5:00||San Jose, California, United States|
|Loss||7–2||Yoon Dong-Sik||Decision (split)||DREAM 12||October 25, 2009||3||5:00||Osaka, Japan||Middleweight bout.|
|Win||7–1||Seichi Ikemoto||Decision (unanimous)||DREAM 10||July 20, 2009||2||5:00||Saitama, Japan|
|Win||6–1||Mike Arellano||Submission (keylock)||War Gods 5||May 30, 2009||1||2:44||Alpine, California, United States|
|Win||5–1||Scott Rose||Submission (arm-triangle choke)||Long Beach Fight Night 4||April 4, 2009||1||0:58||Long Beach, California, United States|
|Win||4–1||Rich Bondoc||Submission (armbar)||Ultimate Cage Wars 12||June 27, 2008||1||2:18||Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada|
|Win||3–1||Raymond Jarman||Decision (unanimous)||Shooto Belgium: Encounter the Braves||December 15, 2007||3||5:00||Charleroi, Belgium|
|Win||2–1||Sebastian Grandin||Submission (armbar)||Xtreme Gladiators 3||June 9, 2007||1||2:38||Paris, France|
|Loss||1–1||Kamil Uygun||Decision (unanimous)||Night of the Gladiators||April 21, 2007||2||5:00||Brakel, Belgium|
|Win||1–0||Guillaume Janvier||Submission (kimura)||Shooto Belgium: Consecration||March 31, 2007||1||1:15||Charleroi, Belgium|
- "Fight Card - UFC Fight Night MacDonald vs. Saffiedine". UFC.com. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
- "Tarec Saffiedine - Official UFC Fighter Profile". UFC.com. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
- UFC Fighter Rankings
- Breakout Strikeforce star Tarec Saffiedine discusses big win, journey to big show
- "Brock Larson vs. Tarec Saffiedine rounds out main card of stacked Shark Fights 13 event". fiveouncesofpain.com. 2010-08-26. Retrieved 2011-04-06.
- Tarec Saffiedine: "I'm prepared for everything in this fight"
- Tarec Saffiedine – a ProMMAnow.com interview
- Chris Nelson. "Paulo Filho No-Shows DREAM.12, Tarec Saffiedine Rumored to Replace".
- Non, Sergio (27 February 2010). "Tarec Saffiedine cruises to Strikeforce decision over James Terry". USA Today.
- Tarec Saffiedine Post Fight Interview
- "Brock Larson vs. Tarec Saffiedine completes Shark Fights 13 pay-per-view lineup". mmajunkie.com. 2010-08-25.
- Prangley Hands Jardine 5th Straight Loss
- "Tyron Woodley vs. Tarec Saffiedine Heads Strikeforce Challengers 13". MMAWeekly.com. 2010-12-06.
- "Update: Saffiedine-‘Cyborg’ Now Unlikely for ‘Feijao vs. Henderson’". Sherdog.com. 2011-02-03.
- Tarec Saffiedine Dethrones Nate Marquardt, Claims Welterweight Crown in Strikeforce Finale
- UFC Reveals List of Strikeforce Fighters Making Jump to Octagon
- Staff (11 April 2013). "Robbie Lawler vs. Tarec Saffiedine targeted for UFC on FOX 8 in Seattle". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- Staff (2013-06-04). "Bahadurzada replaces injured Saffiedine, meets Lawler at UFC on FOX 8". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2013-06-04.
- Staff (2013-07-11). "Siyar Bahardurzada out at UFC on FOX 8, Bobby Voelker faces Robbie Lawler". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
- Staff (2013-10-12). "Jake Ellenberger-Tarec Saffiedine targeted for UFC's January debut in Singapore". MMAjunkie.com.com. Retrieved 2013-10-12.
- Dave Doyle (2013-11-30). "Jake Ellenberger reveals hamstring injury forced him out of UFC Fight Night 34". MMAjfighting.com. Retrieved 2013-11-30.
- Dann Stupp. "UFC Fight Night 34 results: Tarec Saffiedine chops down Hyun Gyu Lim". MMAjunkie.com. Retrieved 2014-01-04.
- Matt Erickson and John Morgan. "UFC Fight Night 34 bonuses: Saffiedine, Lim, Holloway, Doane earn $50,000". MMAjunkie.com. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- Staff (2014-01-24). "Jake Ellenberger says he's fighting Tarec Saffiedine at UFC 172 in April". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
- Dave Walsh (28 March 2014). "Jake Ellenberger vs. Robbie Lawler Slated for UFC 173". mmanuts.com. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
- Matt Erickson (2014-07-31). "Rory MacDonald vs. Tarec Saffiedine headlines UFC Fight Night 54 in Halifax". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2014-07-31.
- Steven Marrocco (2014-10-05). "UFC Fight Night 54 results: Rory MacDonald stops Tarec Saffiedine with TKO in third". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2014-10-05.
- Staff (2014-11-17). "Matt Brown vs. Tarec Saffiedine headlines UFC Fight Night 60 in Colorado". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2014-11-17.
- John Morgan and Dann Stupp (2015-01-01). "Injured Tarec Saffiedine out of planned UFC Fight Night 60 headliner with Matt Brown". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2015-01-01.
- Marc Raimondi (2015-11-04). "Jake Ellenberger vs. Tarec Saffiedine added to UFC on FOX 18". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2015-11-04.
|3rd and final Strikeforce Welterweight Champion
12 January 2013 – 12 January 2013
Strikeforce banner dissolved into UFC