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

Hyun-Gyu-Lim The main event of UFC Fight Night 34 is a five-round welterweight bout between former Strikeforce welterweight champion Tarec “Sponge” Saffiedine and rising star Hyun Gyu “The Ace” Lim. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers sees Saffiedine as a -210 betting favorite (bet $210 to win $100), while Lim is a +175 underdog (bet $100 to win $175). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Saffiedine at -175 and Lim at +135, meaning the early money has come in on the favorite Saffiedine. Although I believe Saffiedine is the rightful favorite here, I believe the line is too high on him now and I see value in Lim, who I will be picking for the upset win. Here’s why. Saffiedine (14-3) is the former Strikeforce welterweight champion, having won the title from Nate Marquardt via decision at the Strikeforce Finale. However, that fight was nearly one year ago and Saffiedine has been out with injuries ever since, which is something to keep on mind as he makes his UFC debut this weekend. The 27-year-old Saffiedine is a wonderful technical striker with some of the best leg kicks in the business. He is also tough and durable, and has an underrated ground game. However, he isn’t as active as he should be considering his striking acumen, and he lacks in finishing ability. On the plus, he has been five rounds before and has proven he has excellent cardio, so if this fight with Lim goes past the third round he will have a huge advantage as far as gas tanks go. However, he has to get the fight to those rounds, because if this fight ends in the first few rounds, I highly doubt it’s Saffiedine getting the win, but rather his opponent, Lim. Lim (12-3-1) is one of the most powerful and unorthodox strikers in the entire UFC welterweight division. The 28-year-old is thus far 2-0 in the Octagon with two brutal KO victories over Pascal Krauss and Marcelo Guimaraes stemming from his powerful knee strikes. However, while he does have power, Lim is also very wild and sloppy on the feet and a more technical striker — like Saffiedine — should be able to pick him apart once he tires, which Lim tends to do. However, in the first round, Lim is super dangerous and has the ability to stop any 170 pounder out there. One of the biggest welterweights on the roster at 6’2″ and blessed with a 79″ reach, Lim is one of the fighters I am keeping an eye out on as a future contender in the division, and if he can take out Saffiedine, he’ll immediately jump into the top 15 of his weight class. And I think he’ll do just that. I expect this fight to mainly take place in the stand-up, and although Saffiedine is the more technical striker, I don’t think it will matter as I see Lim using his unorthodox, wild, powerful striking early on in order to get a knockout victory within the first two rounds of the fight. Saffiedine is a great fighter but I capped this fight closer to -150 Saffiedine/+120 Lim, so at +175 I am definitely like the South Korean to come through with the win here, and for him to emerge as one of the premier welterweight fighters on the planet in his first UFC main event.

Written by Adam Martin.

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