Two of Strikeforce's most promising 170 pounders took to the cage last night (August 18, 2012) as Tarec Saffiedine battled Roger Bowling for welterweight supremacy on the Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman main card.
Bowling had a reputation for being one of the fiercest finishers in the division, but he hadn't faced someone even close to Saffiedine's caliber since signing up with the Strikeforce roster.
It was a battle of power versus technique, and technique ruled the day.
Saffiedine was able to implement a gameplan of solid technical striking to hold his own with Bowling on the feet and fend off any and all takedown attempts to keep the fight in his world.
What helped put "Sponge" over the top against Bowling? And where do both welterweights go from here?
Follow me after the jump for our Tarec Saffiedine vs. Roger Bowling Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman fight review and analysis
Early on, Bowling tried to be the aggressor, but Saffiedine stuck with him, outpointing him on the feet although never overextending himself.
The first round is usually a strong suit for Bowling, but he couldn't get in a good rhythm offensively and instead tried to get back on track by using his wrestling and working for takedowns along the fence. That wasn't successful as Saffiedine stuffed each and every attempt throughout the fight.
In the second round, Bowling was more aggressive with his striking, actually landing some effective shots, but he couldn't hurt "Sponge" badly enough to follow up. What really hurt Bowling was every time he'd start to get some offense together, he's thwart his own momentum by shooting in for a takedown along the fence.
By the third round, he was exhausted and while he held his own on the feet, eventually Saffiedine scored a takedown and had Bowling's back, nearly finishing the fight via rear naked choke in the waning seconds.
Despite Bowling's best efforts, the judges sided unanimously with Saffiedine.
For Roger Bowling, he had his moments, but he's got to stop with the clinch and takedown attempts after every good offensive combination. They completely ruin all momentum he has and he usually is stuck in the clinch for another 30 seconds or more working for a failed takedown. If he'd just side step instead of initiating a clinch, he might be able to continue his striking combinations. This seems like something that's been ingrained into his style so it'll be hard to unlearn, but I think he could figure it out. Other than that, this was a fight he was not expected to win but he held his own. He should be proud of his performance despite the loss.
The best possible opponent for Bowling would be Tyler Stinson. That would be an insane stand-up contest. Other potential opponents include Nah-Shon Burrel or Nate Moore.
For Tarec Saffiedine, this was the typical Saffiedine workmanlike performance. He did everything he needed to win, but didn't light the world on fire, the usual. He outpointed Bowling by a slight margin on the feet, was superior in the clinch and got the good position on the ground at the end of the fight. While he looked solid, if he really wants to be the next title contender, I would have liked to see more. He just doesn't have that killer instinct and I don't know how they could sell him against Nate Marquardt.
Despite that, Marquardt could still be on the horizon for him for the welterweight title as there isn't much waiting in the wings. If Strikeforce decides against a title shot, potential opponents include Jordan Mein and Jason High.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Do you think Saffiedine earned a title shot like he said in his post-fight interview? What did you make of her victory last night?