Belgian treat for MMA fans

Belgian treat for MMA fans
Jake Ellenberger (left) and Tarec Saffiedine, the headline act of Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) first show in Singapore.

A rising grappler, touted as a future Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) star, will headline the outfit's first show in Singapore.

Belgian Tarec Saffiedine will make his Octagon debut against hard-hitting fan favourite Jake Ellenberger at Marina Bay Sands on Jan 4.

This is among 10 bouts - mainly featuring promising Asian fighters - lined up for the United States-based company's inaugural live event in South-east Asia.

The eyes of the mixed martial arts world will be on 27-year-old Saffiedine, fresh from a four-fight win streak that earned him the Strikeforce welterweight title before that outfit closed.

"I'm super-excited about my UFC debut and can't wait to show the fans what I am capable of," said the Brussels native who was born to a Lebanese father and Belgian mother.

Saffiedine, a Brazilian jiujitsu purple-belt holder who boasts a 14-3 win-loss record, is seen as a potential challenger to UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, who has not lost in six years.

But he will have to first get past Ellenberger (29-7 record), who is nicknamed The Juggernaut for his deadly right hook.

The 28-year-old American, who was with Saffiedine at a press conference at MBS yesterday, said: "It's an honour to be part of UFC's first Singapore event - it's up to me to prove what you guys have been missing so far."

That, however, will come at a price.

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