It’s time for the “main event” of the FOX Sports 1 prelims, and it has former Strikeforce Challengers stud Tarec Saffiedine taking on fading slugger Jake Ellenberger.
We all know their respective skill sets. With Saffiedine, you have a precision striker capable of landing accurately with both his kicks and his punches. On the Ellenberger side of the coin, you have someone with strong wrestling and a right hand from hell – but also someone who’s aged badly in the past few years.
All of that stuff proves to be true in the first. Ellenberger, looking to land his power punch, is constantly trudging forward, eating kicks to the thigh and blocking kicks to the head, and when he swings, Saffiedine is moving his head out of the way and tagging him with a counterpunch. The wrestler does land of a good one, timing a bomb perfectly so it detonates against the Belgian fighter’s head. Saffiedine stumbles for a moment, but he recovers, and remains wary.
The former Strikeforce Challengers champ keeps up the surgeon routine in the second, finding openings here and there and even landing a sweet front kick to his foe’s face. Ellenberger, meanwhile, scores with a takedown in the final ten seconds.
The crowd boos like crazy in the third, sick of watching Saffiedine methodically pick and choose his shots while Ellenberger swings at pitches that are long gone by the time he acts. A wild scramble in the final minute silences the haters, and when Saffiedine takes Ellenberger’s back and works for a choke, someone screams “Rip his head off!” The fight ends with Saffiedine halting a takedown attempt, and the judges award him the unanimous decision when the scorecards are read.