|Born||6 September 1986|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Weight||170 lb (77 kg; 12 st)|
|Reach||70 1⁄2 in (179 cm)|
|Style||Karate, BJJ, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Taekwondo, Wrestling, Judo, Wing Chun|
|Fighting out of||Temecula, California, United States|
Tiger Muay Thai
|Rank||Black belt in Shihaishinkai Karate|
Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Red belt in Taekwondo
Green belt in Judo
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Amateur kickboxing record|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
Tarec Robert Saffiedine (born 6 September 1986) is a Belgian professional mixed martial artist who competed in the Welterweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. A professional MMA competitor since 2007, Saffiedine has also formerly competed for DREAM and Strikeforce, and was the last Strikeforce Welterweight Champion.
Saffiedine was born to a Lebanese father, who emigrated to Belgium to study as an ophthalmologist, and a Belgian mother. His father was a Taekwondo practitioner, and since the age of ten Saffiedine has trained in Judo, Wing Chun and Taekwondo. Saffiedine grew up in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert in Brussels and also played basketball in his youth. Inspired by the Japanese comic book Tough, he finally took up Karate at age 16, and in 2005 received a black belt in Shihaishinkai, a style of knockdown karate that includes striking, throws and ground fighting. He also has an amateur kickboxing record of 12–1–1 and later began training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai, and then Wrestling when he emigrated to the United States. Early in his career he worked a number of jobs including in a restaurant, a cinema, as a gardener, and a security guard. He received his nickname, "Sponge", from one of his coaches because he learns quickly. He is also known to switch stances frequently.
Mixed martial arts career
Saffiedine made his professional mixed martial arts debut in March 2007, beating his opponent Guillaume Janvier with a kimura submission. He went on to fight a further three times that year, all in promotions in his native Belgium and France. In January 2008, he relocated to the United States and began training with Team Quest. His first fight since his trans-Atlantic move came in June that year at Ultimate Cage Wars 12 in Canada, where he defeated his opponent Rich Bondoc with an armbar submission. In 2009, he had two fights in the United States and won both.
From there, Saffiedine went to Japan to compete in DREAM. His first fight came against Seichi Ikemoto at DREAM 10: Welterweight Grand Prix 2009 Final. The bout was not part of the Welterweight Grand Prix, but was a reserve bout. Saffiedine went on to win a unanimous decision.
His next opponent under the promotion's banner was Yoon Dong-Sik, which took place at DREAM 12. He replaced former WEC Middleweight Champion Paulo Filho in the match on short notice, and lost by way of split decision. Saffiedine normally competes as a Welterweight (170 lbs.), but since he was replacing Filho, he fought as a Middleweight (185 lbs.).
He then returned to the United States to compete at Strikeforce Challengers: Kaufman vs. Hashi, where he defeated James Terry by way of unanimous decision. He used effective striking to keep his opponent off balance, going as far as to open a cut under Terry's left eye that was bleeding profusely by early in the third round. Though his opponent, an experienced wrestler, did attempt some takedowns, Saffiedine shrugged off most of them or got to his feet quickly when the action did hit the mat. All three judges scored the fight 30–27 in favor of Saffiedine.
Saffiedine was next scheduled to face off against Nate Moore on 21 May 2010 at Strikeforce Challengers: Lindland vs. Casey. The opening round provided some back-and-forth action with Moore pushing forward with a wrestling attack, then responding well when Saffiedine began to take control with his strikes. That changed in the second, as Moore returned to his takedown-heavy strategy, but Saffiedine stood tall in the face of the attack and delivered powerful punches while remaining on his feet. A well placed punch by Saffiedine ended the fight by knockout at 1:21 of the second round – his first career knockout win.
He then faced grappler Brock Larson on 11 September 2010 at Shark Fights 13, on loan from Strikeforce. After a minute-long feeling-out period, Larson shot out of the gate with punches and was dropped by a side-stepping Saffiedine's first strike. From there, Saffiedine continued to outstrike Larson and was also able to defend against takedowns for all three rounds. All judges scored the fight 30–27 in favour of Saffiedine as he won via unanimous decision.
In the last ever bout in Strikeforce history, Saffiedine utilized powerful leg kicks to win a 5-round unanimous decision against Nate Marquardt at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine to become the final Strikeforce Welterweight Champion.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
It was announced shortly after the final Strikeforce event that Saffiedine would be amongst the promotion's former fighters brought over to the UFC.
Saffiedine was expected to face former EliteXC Middleweight Champion Robbie Lawler on 27 July 2013 at UFC on Fox 8. However, Saffiedine was forced out of the bout with an injury and was replaced by Siyar Bahadurzada. Bahadurzada also suffered an injury and was then replaced by Bobby Voelker.
Saffiedine was expected to face Jake Ellenberger on 4 January 2014 at UFC Fight Night 34. However, in late November, Ellenberger pulled out of the bout citing a hamstring injury and was replaced by Hyun Gyu Lim. Saffiedine won via unanimous decision. The win also earned Saffiedine his first Fight of the Night bonus award.
Saffiedine faced Rory MacDonald on 4 October 2014 at UFC Fight Night: MacDonald vs. Saffiedine. After being out-struck the first two rounds, Saffiedine was finished for the first time in his career via TKO in the third round, as he was dropped by an uppercut and follow up punches leading to the stoppage.
A bout with Matt Brown was expected to take place on 14 February 2015 at UFC Fight Night 60. However, it was announced on 1 January 2015 that Saffiedine had pulled out of the bout, citing a groin injury.
A pairing with Matt Brown was rescheduled, and was expected to take place on 30 December 2016 at UFC 207. However, Brown was pulled from the fight on 11 November in favor of a matchup with Donald Cerrone three weeks earlier at UFC 206. Saffiedine instead faced Dong Hyun Kim. Kim was awarded a split decision victory.
On November 26, 2019, it was reported that Saffiedine was released by UFC.
Championships and accomplishments
- Ultimate Fighting Championship
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|23 matches||16 wins||7 losses|
|Loss||16–7||Rafael dos Anjos||Decision (unanimous)||UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Correia||17 June 2017||3||5:00||Kallang, Singapore|
|Loss||16–6||Dong Hyun Kim||Decision (split)||UFC 207||30 December 2016||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Loss||16–5||Rick Story||Decision (unanimous)||UFC Fight Night: Almeida vs. Garbrandt||29 May 2016||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||16–4||Jake Ellenberger||Decision (unanimous)||UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Bader||30 January 2016||3||5:00||Newark, New Jersey, United States|
|Loss||15–4||Rory MacDonald||TKO (punches)||UFC Fight Night: MacDonald vs. Saffiedine||4 October 2014||3||1:28||Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada|
|Win||15–3||Hyun Gyu Lim||Decision (unanimous)||UFC Fight Night: Saffiedine vs. Lim||4 January 2014||5||5:00||Marina Bay, Singapore||Fight of the Night.|
|Win||14–3||Nate Marquardt||Decision (unanimous)||Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine||12 January 2013||5||5:00||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States||Won the Strikeforce Welterweight Championship.|
|Win||13–3||Roger Bowling||Decision (unanimous)||Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman||18 August 2012||3||5:00||San Diego, California, United States|
|Win||12–3||Tyler Stinson||Decision (split)||Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine||7 January 2012||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||11–3||Scott Smith||Decision (unanimous)||Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson||30 July 2011||3||5:00||Hoffman Estates, Illinois, United States|
|Loss||10–3||Tyron Woodley||Decision (unanimous)||Strikeforce Challengers: Woodley vs. Saffiedine||7 January 2011||3||5:00||Nashville, Tennessee, United States|
|Win||10–2||Brock Larson||Decision (unanimous)||Shark Fights 13: Jardine vs Prangley||11 September 2010||3||5:00||Amarillo, Texas, United States|
|Win||9–2||Nate Moore||KO (punch)||Strikeforce Challengers: Lindland vs. Casey||21 May 2010||2||1:21||Portland, Oregon, United States|
|Win||8–2||James Terry||Decision (unanimous)||Strikeforce Challengers: Johnson vs. Mahe||26 February 2010||3||5:00||San Jose, California, United States||Return to Welterweight.|
|Loss||7–2||Yoon Dong-Sik||Decision (split)||DREAM 12||25 October 2009||3||5:00||Osaka, Japan||Middleweight bout.|
|Win||7–1||Seichi Ikemoto||Decision (unanimous)||DREAM 10||20 July 2009||2||5:00||Saitama, Japan|
|Win||6–1||Mike Arellano||Submission (americana)||War Gods 5||30 May 2009||1||2:44||Alpine, California, United States|
|Win||5–1||Scott Rose||Submission (arm-triangle choke)||Long Beach Fight Night 4||19 April 2009||1||0:58||Long Beach, California, United States|
|Win||4–1||Rich Bondoc||Submission (armbar)||Ultimate Cage Wars 12||27 June 2008||1||2:18||Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada|
|Win||3–1||Raymond Jarman||Decision (unanimous)||Shooto Belgium: Encounter the Braves||15 December 2007||3||5:00||Charleroi, Belgium|
|Win||2–1||Sebastian Grandin||Submission (armbar)||Xtreme Gladiators 3||9 June 2007||1||2:38||Paris, France|
|Loss||1–1||Kamil Uygun||Decision (unanimous)||Night of the Gladiators||21 April 2007||2||5:00||Brakel, Belgium|
|Win||1–0||Guillaume Janvier||Submission (kimura)||Shooto Belgium: Consecration||31 March 2007||1||1:15||Charleroi, Belgium|
- "Fight Card – UFC Fight Night MacDonald vs. Saffiedine". UFC.com. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- "Tarec Saffiedine – Official UFC Fighter Profile". UFC.com. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
- Breakout Strikeforce star Tarec Saffiedine discusses big win, journey to big show Archived 30 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- "Brock Larson vs. Tarec Saffiedine rounds out main card of stacked Shark Fights 13 event". fiveouncesofpain.com. 26 August 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
- Tarec Saffiedine: "I'm prepared for everything in this fight". Fighthype.com (20 May 2010). Retrieved on 2017-06-17.
- Tarec Saffiedine – a ProMMAnow.com interview Archived 15 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Prommanow.com (1 March 2010). Retrieved on 2017-06-17.
- Chris Nelson. "Paulo Filho No-Shows DREAM.12, Tarec Saffiedine Rumored to Replace".
- Non, Sergio (27 February 2010). "Tarec Saffiedine cruises to Strikeforce decision over James Terry". USA Today.
- Tarec Saffiedine Post Fight Interview
- "Brock Larson vs. Tarec Saffiedine completes Shark Fights 13 pay-per-view lineup". mmajunkie.com. 25 August 2010.
- Hunt, Loretta. (12 September 2010) Prangley Hands Jardine 5th Straight Loss. Sherdog.com. Retrieved on 2017-06-17.
- 5 Fights Official for Jan. 7 Strikeforce Challengers. Sherdog.com (6 December 2010). Retrieved on 2017-06-17.
- "Tyron Woodley vs. Tarec Saffiedine Heads Strikeforce Challengers 13". MMAWeekly.com. 6 December 2010.
- "Update: Saffiedine-'Cyborg' Now Unlikely for 'Feijao vs. Henderson'". Sherdog.com. 3 February 2011.
- Knapp, Brian. (12 January 2013) Tarec Saffiedine Dethrones Nate Marquardt, Claims Welterweight Crown in Strikeforce Finale. Sherdog.com. Retrieved on 2017-06-17.
- Whitman, Mike. (16 January 2013) UFC Reveals List of Strikeforce Fighters Making Jump to Octagon. Sherdog.com. Retrieved on 2017-06-17.
- Staff (11 April 2013). "Robbie Lawler vs. Tarec Saffiedine targeted for UFC on FOX 8 in Seattle". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- Staff (4 June 2013). "Bahadurzada replaces injured Saffiedine, meets Lawler at UFC on FOX 8". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
- Staff (11 July 2013). "Siyar Bahardurzada out at UFC on FOX 8, Bobby Voelker faces Robbie Lawler". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
- Staff (12 October 2013). "Jake Ellenberger-Tarec Saffiedine targeted for UFC's January debut in Singapore". MMAjunkie.com.com. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
- Dave Doyle (30 November 2013). "Jake Ellenberger reveals hamstring injury forced him out of UFC Fight Night 34". MMAjfighting.com. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
- Dann Stupp. "UFC Fight Night 34 results: Tarec Saffiedine chops down Hyun Gyu Lim". MMAjunkie.com. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- Matt Erickson and John Morgan. "UFC Fight Night 34 bonuses: Saffiedine, Lim, Holloway, Doane earn $50,000". MMAjunkie.com. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- Staff (24 January 2014). "Jake Ellenberger says he's fighting Tarec Saffiedine at UFC 172 in April". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
- Dave Walsh (28 March 2014). "Jake Ellenberger vs. Robbie Lawler Slated for UFC 173". mmanuts.com. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
- Matt Erickson (31 July 2014). "Rory MacDonald vs. Tarec Saffiedine headlines UFC Fight Night 54 in Halifax". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
- Steven Marrocco (5 October 2014). "UFC Fight Night 54 results: Rory MacDonald stops Tarec Saffiedine with TKO in third". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- Staff (17 November 2014). "Matt Brown vs. Tarec Saffiedine headlines UFC Fight Night 60 in Colorado". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
- John Morgan and Dann Stupp (1 January 2015). "Injured Tarec Saffiedine out of planned UFC Fight Night 60 headliner with Matt Brown". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
- Marc Raimondi (4 November 2015). "Jake Ellenberger vs. Tarec Saffiedine added to UFC on FOX 18". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
- Ben Fowlkes (30 January 2016). "Tarec Saffiedine outworks Jake Ellenberger for decision". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
- Mike Bohn and Matt Erickson (19 March 2016). "UFC Fight Night 88 gets 8 new fights". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
- Steven Marrocco (29 May 2016). "UFC Fight Night 88 results: Long layoff no problem for Rick Story in smooth win over Tarec Saffiedine". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
- Ariel Helwani (18 October 2016). "Matt Brown vs. Tarec Saffiedine targeted for UFC 207". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
- Dave Doyle (11 November 2016). "Donald Cerrone vs. Matt Brown slated for UFC 206". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
- Adam Hill (15 November 2016). "Tarec Saffiedine gets new opponent for UFC 207". reviewjournal.com. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
- Dave Doyle (30 December 2016). "UFC 207 results: Dong Hyun Kim ekes out split decision over Tarec Saffiedine". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
- Staff (3 April 2017). "Rafael dos Anjos to make welterweight debut at Singapore UFC event". channelnewsasia.com. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
- "UFC Singapore Results: Rafael dos Anjos defeats Tarec Saffiedine | BJPenn.com". | BJPenn.com. 17 June 2017. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
- Martin, Damon (26 November 2019). "Former Strikeforce champion Tarec Saffiedine released from the UFC roster". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
- MMAjunkie’s ‘Fight of the Month’ for January 2014. MMAjunkie (8 February 2014). Retrieved on 2017-06-17.
| 3rd and final Strikeforce Welterweight Champion
12 January 2013 – 12 January 2013
Strikeforce banner dissolved into UFC