MMA: Tarec Saffiedine confident of repeating UFC victory in Singapore

Saffiedine battering his opponent incessantly with a barrage of kicks and punches during the Ultimate Fighting Championship event held at the Marina Bay Sands in 2014.
Saffiedine battering his opponent incessantly with a barrage of kicks and punches during the Ultimate Fighting Championship event held at the Marina Bay Sands in 2014.PHOTO: SINGAPORE SPORTS COUNCIL

SINGAPORE - Back in 2014, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) came to Singapore for the first time, and was headlined by Belgian fighter Tarec Saffiedine. He squared off against Hyun Gyu Lim and defeated the Korean in five rounds.

Three years later, Saffiedine is set to return for UFC Fight Night Singapore, where he will take on former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos on June 17 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

In a phone interview on Thursday (June 8) night, Saffiedine said: "It's (fight against dos Anjos) like any fight, he was a former champion and I asked for the fight because I believe I can beat him.

"He's a good fighter, good on his feet."

He boasts a 16-6 record and is currently ranked 11th in the welterweight category. Dos Anjos has a 25-9 record and sits fifth in the lightweight category.

Asked about his form, Saffiedine said: "I'm feeling great right now, I've been training in Thailand for five weeks and am in great shape."

The Belgian, who has lost his past two fights, has had his fair share of injuries in recent years but insisted he "does not think any professional is 100 per cent" fit all the time and insisted he is ready for his fight.

"My big injuries are behind me, I've had nothing major in the last year and a half. I've been training hard and am ready for next week."

The headline act of UFC Fight Night Singapore will be the match-up between Holly Holm and Bethe Correia, and Saffiedine is backing the former champion Holm to prevail.

"Honestly I haven't watched the odds, but I believe Holm is the better fighter, " he said. "Even though she lost her title at UFC 208, I think she is the better fighter and that she should win."

Despite only fighting in Singapore once, Saffiedine has trained and travelled to the Republic over the years.

"You've got to enjoy Singapore. It's a beautiful country and city and it was an amazing experience fighting here," he said. "I've fought in Asia and the fans are warm and humble. It was an amazing experience."