On January 4th, 2014, The Ultimate Fighting Championship kicked off their 2014 campaign by traveling out to Singapore to present UFC Fight Night 34. Available live on their new UFC Fight Pass platform, the event was an opportunity to display some of the foreign talent that the organization is developing outside of the United States, along with some of their lower roster fighters that may be less known to mainstream fans. This was a strong event to start the year off while further developing another potential star in the wide open welterweight division.
The last man to hold the Strikeforce welterweight title Tarec Saffiedine, made his debut in the Octagon nearly a year after winning the title from Nate Marquardt. When Saffiedine defeated Nate for the belt he displayed his brutal leg kicks and Hyun Gyu Lim suffered the same fate in Saturday's main event matchup.
Lim had some early success against Tarec as he was able to drop him twice in the opening round. Both times Saffiedine would bounce back to his feet and reassert himself as the better standup fighter. Saffiedine continued to score with leg kicks and combinations that would work over his opponent from head to toe.
The leg kicks would take a toll on Lim as he had a hard time moving about the cage by the third round, but that wouldn't stop him from attempting to press the action. That opening would allow Tarec to drop him multiple times in the later stages of the fight, including landing a lying knee. Lim nearly snatched away a victory when he scored some last minute blows that rocked his opponent. Tarec was able to tie him up in the clinch and save himself until the final buzzer.
All three judges awarded the fight to Saffiedine in unanimous fashion with the scores: 49-46, 48-47 and 48-47.
Japanese standout Tatsuya Kawajiri needed two rounds to finish off the debuting Sean Soriano with a rear naked choke.
Kawajiri wasted little time to take down his opponent and dominate him on the ground. Kawajiri nearly finished the fight in the first round but settled for dropping shots from the full mount position. Tatsuya would use the same tactics in the second round when he scored another takedown and quickly finished the fight with a rear naked choke.
The most impressive part of his debut was the fact that he was direct in calling out future opponents.
“[I want to fight] someone stronger than this,” Tatsuya stated. “I can be stronger with a stronger opponent. I was surprised that Soriano was so good.”
Illegal elbows from Luiz Jorge Dutra, Jr. created the scariest image of the night. He was disqualified from his bout against Kiichi Kunimoto after landing standing elbows in the first round of their fight. Many of the shots landed on the back of Kiichi's head which are illegal in mixed martial arts. Dutra was disqualified for his actions and Kunimoto was removed from the Octagon on a stretcher for precautionary reasons.
With many new faces presented to the MMA community, UFC Fight Night 34 helped Saffiedine and Kawajiri reintroduce themselves to the fight world; while giving other athletes the opportunity to build their fan base.
Tarec Saffiedine defeated Hyun Gyu Lim via unanimous decision.
Tatsuya Kawajiri defeated Sean Soriano via submission in round two.
Kiichi Kunimoto defeated Luiz Jorge Dutra Jr. via disqualification in round one.
Kyung Ho Kang defeated Shunichi Shimizu via submission in round three.
Max Holloway defeated Will Chope via TKO in round two.
Katsunori Kikuno defeated Quinn Mulhern via unanimous decision.
Royston Wee defeated Dave Galera via unanimous decision.
Mairbek Taisumov defeated Tae Hyun Bang via unanimous decision.
Dustin Kimura defeated Jon delos Reyes via submission in round one.
Russell Doane defeated Leandro Issa via technical submission in round two.