UFC Fight Night 34 Preview for ‘Saffiedine vs Lim’ Preliminary Card on UFC Fight Pass

KatsunoriKikuno_crop_north_crop_northUFC Fight Night 34, AKA the first international show featured on the UFC Fight Pass and the inaugural UFC show from what has become a hot bed for MMA, Singapore. Let’s take a look at the preliminary card for UFC Fight Night 34: Saffiedine vs. Lim. Headlining the prelims are two featherweights, one a UFC regular in Max Holloway (7-3) and one a newcomer to the Octagon, Will Chope (19-5). The 23-year-old Phuket Top Team member, Chope is a monster of a a featherweight standing at 6-4 and knowing how to use his length. Holloway is used to fighting uphill battles, and he excels when the odds are against him, as we saw in his fights against Leonard Garcia and Justin Lawrence. Chope has 12 wins in the first round, 8 via RNC and while Holloway has a solid grappling resume, he gets overpowered and outsized often. This, on paper, doesn’t bode well for Holloway. However, Holloway has a broken foot in the first round to put an asterisk next to his performance in the Conor McGregor fight, and he has absolutely fought a higher caliber of fighter than Chope. Both of these young men have great years ahead of them, but for now, Holloway is just the better and more proven fighter against tougher competition than Chope has ever faced. The lightweights are up next, with DEEP and Dream veteran Katsunori Kikuno (21-5-2) making his UFC debut against Strikeforce, KOTC and 0-1 UFC veteran Quinn Mulhern (18-3). On paper, this could be an absolutely astonishing grappling match, as both men are aces on the mat. Mulhern is fighting out of Jackson’s Camp in New Mexico, and brandishes a black belt in BJJ, while Kikuno is a black belt in judo and has a mean set of hands. Kikuno likely has the edge on the feet, but Mulhern isn’t a knockout necessarily waiting to happen. This is a tough fight for both no doubt, as Kikuno is as comfortable on the ground as Mulhern. Likely, it could be an in and out type of fight, with Mulhern playing the Jackson game in picking his shots while Kikuno tries to close the distance. Good, interesting fight to make. Mulhern no doubt wants to bounce back from his disappointing debut against Rick Story, and Kikuno wants to build on his five-fight winning streak. A bit of history is made with the next bantamweight battle as Royston Wee (2-0) becomes the first person from Singapore to fight in the UFC. His opponent is Dave Galera (5-0) another newcomer who has finished all of his opponents. Not much is known about either of these men, which is why they are probably pitted against each other. Who knows, this could win Fight of the Night. Galera seems to have stronger hands, but we’ll learn more about these mystery men on Saturday. Mairbek Taisumov (20-4) will make his debut against a veteran absent for mostly the last three years due to mandatory military service, Tae Hyun Bang (16-7), who will know doubt be itching to fight the second time this year. Taisumov hails from Chechnya and you may know him from his impressive performances in M-1, where he showed off his great submission skills and nasty kicking power. Taisumov is a legitimate prospect, while Bang has some rust to shake off. Still, this could be an explosive fight, with both men liking to finish fights. Bang lives up to his namesake, with 8 knockouts and 8 decisions while Taisumov has 10 knockouts and 9 submissions. Yeah, this one likely won’t go to the judges. That’s a solid play. This really is starting to feel like a show hosted out of Singapore. The lower weight classes are almost exclusively featured, and every fight is filled with someone who could be a hell of an up and comer. 24-year-old featherweight, Dustin Kimura (10-1) wants to bounce back from the first loss of his career, one he suffered via 1st round guillotine to Mitch Gagnon at UFC 165. This promising fighter’s opponent is Jon delos Reyes (7-2), a man making his debut who has not fought in over a year. Considering Kimura is a tough fight, that doesn’t bode well for Reyes, someone who has not faced very good competition in his career. This is his fight to steal.

Written by Jason Nawara

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UFC Fight Night 34 Bet: Max “Blessed” Holloway (-215) vs Will “The Kill” Chope (+195)

UFC Fight Night 34 Fight Breakdown: Tarec Saffiedine (-210) vs. Hyun Gyu Lim (+175)