UFC Fight Night 88 Breakdown: Tarec Saffiedine vs Rick Story

Rick StoryPrior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at a key welterweight clash at UFC Fight Night 88 when Tarec Saffiedine takes on Rick Story.   Tarec Saffiedine (Record: 16-4, +100 Underdog, Fighter Grade: B-) The 29 year old Belgian born welterweight is a well-traveled mixed martial artist. He’s trained at both Evolve MMA and Tristar Gym. He holds belts in four different martial arts disciplines. This will be Saffiedine’s second fight in 18 months. He enters this bout on the heels of a decision win over Jake Ellenberger. Saffiedine enters this bout in unusual circumstances. He was nearly forced out of this fight due to a knee injury. He was medically cleared, but only just a couple weeks prior to the fight. Given that Saffiedine has fought so infrequently, have to wonder if there will again be rust when he fights on Sunday. On the feet, Saffiedine is a precise striker landing 48% of his strikes. He usually a high amount of leg kicks and does his best work landing kicks to his opponent’s lead leg. Given his striking prowess, he has very little striking power with only one knockout in his career. He does hold five submission wins, but overall he hasn’t won by submission since 2009.   Rick Story (Record: 18-8, -120 Favorite, Fighter Grade: B-) The Washington state born and bred fighter was a standout athlete in high school playing both football and wrestling. Story has had a long career in the UFC having fought in the promotion since 2009. He enters his 18th fight under the UFC label with a two fight winning streak including giving Gunnar Nelson the first loss of his career. Story has long trained at the MMA Lab in Glendale, Arizona. Like many of the fighters who have trained there Story is a volume fighter and can hurt opponents in different ways. To start, Story has heavy hands and combines his strikes well on the feet. While he likes to go head hunting, he’s one of the better body strikers in the division. He combines that with a very good offensive wrestling background. He secures 2.72 takedowns per 15 minutes in the cage; so nearly one per round. Like Saffiedine, Story has been rather inactive due to injuries. This his first fight in 18 months.   Match-up This is an important bout for both fighters as they look to establish themselves in the top ten of the division. Both fighters have been rather inactive over the past two years and need a win to get back in the discussion in a deep welterweight division. Saffiedine only knows how to fight one way; a range fight where he can have success with leg kicks. Story hopes to turn it into a brawl so he can get inside and work strikes to the body. I expect there to be a combination of range striking as well as against the cage action in this one. Story will look to force the action as the fight wears on and should have some success. Story certainly hits harder and should be able to inflict the more impactful strikes during the fight. Both fighters have proven to be pretty durable during their careers, so I expect this fight to come down to more impactful strikes and takedowns. That’s where Story has the edge and ultimately why I see him getting his hand raised on Sunday night.

Written by Jay Primetown

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