Ellenberger-Saffiedine at Singapore
The UFC will make its debut in Southeast Asia with a main event that is sure to result in some fireworks.
Welterweight contenders Jake Ellenberger and Tarec Saffiedine, a pair of talented strikers, will showcase their skills at the massive Marina Bay Sands resort and casino in Singapore on Jan. 4, the UFC announced officially late Tuesday night.
Ellenberger is regarded as one of the best fighters at 170 pounds in the UFC despite a decision loss to Rory MacDonald in his last fight back in July. A win over Saffiedine would put him right back in the title conversation.
Saffiedine, who trains part of the time at Singapore’s Evolve MMA, will be making his UFC debut after an injury forced him out of UFC on FOX 8 in July, the same card that Ellenberger lost to MacDonald. Saffiedine has won four straight, including a decision victory over Nate Marquardt to win the Strikeforce welterweight title at Strikeforce’s final event in January.
The rest of the card will be loaded with Asian fighters as the UFC enters the backyard of ONE FC, which has its headquarters in Singapore. Japanese featherweight star Tatsuya Kawajiri will make his UFC debut against Brazilian Hacran Dias, Kiichi Kunimoto of Japan meets Korean Hyun Gyu Lim and Korean Kyung Ho Kang takes on the debuting Shunichi Shimizu of Japan.
The Marina Bay Sands is the most expensive standalone casino property ever built at more than $6 billion. This is just the start of the UFC’s aggressive expansion to the region, which will also include a fight in India as early as 2014 and “The Ultimate Fighter: China.”