Tarec Saffiedine: “I Believe a Win Against Roger Bowling Would Put Me Right There For a Title Shot”
By Kelsey Mowatt
At a time when fans are debating who will be first to challenge Strikeforce’s newly minted welterweight champ Nate Marquardt, Tarec Saffiedine is hoping to secure his title shot on August 18th, when he fights fellow contender Roger Bowling.
Aside from a unanimous decision loss he suffered against Tyron Woodley in January, 2010, Saffiedine has now gone 4-1 with the promotion. An impressive win over Bowling next month in San Diego, would certainly go a long ways to bolster the Team Quest fighter’s contender status.
“I won’t look past Roger because he’s a really tough opponent, but after this fight I will have had seven fights with only one loss,” said Saffiedine, who has also scored a win over Brock Larson at Shark Fights 13 since he signed with Strikeforce. “If Strikeforce gives me that title shot I will gladly take it you know? I don’t really decide it, but, I believe a win against Roger would put me right there for a title shot. Hopefully that’s what’s going to happen.”
In January, Saffiedine further distanced himself from the loss to Woodley, through defeating Tyler Stinson by split decision. Although over eight months will have elapsed by the time Saffiedine fights Bowling, the 25 year-old-fighter is just happy to be competing in another high profile bout.
“I would love to fight at least three times a year but the last two years that’s not the way it’s happened,” said Saffiedine, who also scored a UD win over Scott Smith last July. “I’m really happy and glad to be fighting for Strikeforce so I can’t complain about that. I’d love to fight a little more; I know they don’t have a lot of shows, but I think they’re picking up more shows so that’s great.”
Of course, while Saffiedine (12-3) has been working his way back up the welterweight rankings, so has Bowling (11-2). Since the 29 year-old-fighter dropped a second TKO loss to Bobby Voelker last summer, the explosive fighter has scored stoppage wins over Jerron Peoples and Brandon Saling.
“It’s a big fight for both of us,” the Belgium fighter noted. “I think the fight makes sense because he’s an up-and-comer and he has some big wins; he’s a good guy to beat to get closer to a title shot. It’s a great fight for me.”
On paper, the match-up should have fans excited, due to the striking abilities of both men and their willingness to exchange.
“He likes to brawl, but he’s not a technical fighter, he’s more of a brawler and is explosive,” the experienced Karate practitioner noted. “So I have to be aware of that and be careful. As far as technique he’s not the most technical stand-up fighter…As long as I keep working with my game plan everything should be fine.”
“That’s what he does. He exchanges and tries to take people down or put them against the cage and clinch,” Saffiedine added, when asked if he believes Bowling may look to close the distance. “So I’m working a lot on my stand-up and my wrestling.”
Saffiedine continues to develop his skills and wrestling at Team Quest, and as a result, the DREAM vet believes he is a much better fighter today than he was when he arrived in Strikeforce.
“Definitely. Of course Team Quest is known for its wrestling but when I came here the first time it was pretty big in wrestling with Dan Henderson, Jesse Taylor, those guys were really amazing. That helped me out a lot with my wrestling…Right now we also have an amazing Jiu-Jitsu coach and Muay Thai coach, so I’m able to also evolve my stand-up game and Jiu-Jitsu…It’s perfect for me.”