The welterweights were at war on the main card of the Strikeforce: "Rousey vs. Kaufman" event tonight (Sat., Aug. 18, 2012) at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California, as Tarec Saffiedine took on Roger Bowling.
Despite not possessing much name value, these two brought a perfect style match-up to make for an exciting throwdown to get things primed for the upper card. Plus, in a division as shallow as 170-pounds, an impressive victory would go a long way in catapulting one up the ladder.
It wasn't particularly exciting, and neither man was all that impressive, but Saffiedine picked up the victory by way of unanimous decision by scores of 30-27 across the board.
Simply put, he was better where it counted, in the clinch and on the mat. "I give my hat to Roger, he's a really tough opponent," Saffiendine remarked after the fight. He also credited his technique.
Good enough to challenge Nate Marquardt? "Yes, sir, who is with me for the title?"
Saffiedine, for whatever reason, looked a bit clumsy early. Bowling was light on his feet, bouncing in and out with punches and kicks. He was also going to the body, with great success.
Bowling bull rushed after Tarec worked a Thai Plum, something he was going back to time and again. It was working, too, seeing as his knees were getting through and doing enough damage to force a rushed takedown attempt.
The problem for Bowling is Saffiedine was better against the cage, so they reset and Bowling went back to rushing in with punches and again looking for a takedown. When the first round came to a close, it looked an awful lot like we had a stalemate on our hands.
The second round started with an errant finer poking Bowling in his eyeball. Thankfully, it wasn't bad enough to stop the fight and he retained his aggressiveness. In fact, he started landing some hard shots, a big left and then a right.
This quickly led to a clinch that again wasn't much more than a stalemate. They exchanged some heavy hands to end the round and it still looked relatively close heading into the final frame.
The fighters knew this to be true, which is why they came out with a real sense of urgency. Bowling came in heavy with punches but was quickly shut down in the clinch.
Then, with just 50 seconds remaining in the fight, Saffiedine jumped Bowling and took his back. He locked in the rear-naked choke with five seconds remaining but couldn't get the tap before the horn sounded.
No matter, he earned the unanimous decision win.
Remember, too, to check out MMAmania.com's complete blow-by-blow coverage of all the Strikeforce: "Rousey vs. Kaufman" bouts by clicking here.