The UFC is kicking off 2014 by making its debut in Singapore, and using its UFC Fight Night 34 (dubbed UFC Singapore) event to launch its new UFC Fight Pass digital subscriber platform. For fans in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, the only way you can watch UFC Singapore is via UFC Fight Pass.
Former Strikeforce champion Tarec Saffiedine headlines UFC Singapore in a five-round non-title bout against South Korean fighter Hyun Gyu Lim in the main event, while Japanese stalwart Tatsuya Kawajiri finally makes his promotional debut in the co-main event by facing Sean Soriano.
Check out the fight-by-fight recaps below, updated throughout the event, which begins with the first preliminary bout at 6:30 a.m. ET / 3:30 a.m. PT … Yes, that is a.m. It’s not a misprint.
Tarec Saffiedine vs. Hyun Gyu Lim
Lim opened strong, catching a Saffiedine kick and forcing him to the mat with a counter right hand in the opening round, but Saffiedine quickly recovered, working to establish his jab-leg kick attack.
Saffiedine continued the approach in the second round, landing with much greater efficiency. His success with the jab and leg kicks set Saffiedine up to start landing some power right hands. Saffiedine seemed to gain a lot of confidence and found his rhythm in round two, landing at a much higher pace than Lim.
He continued to build momentum in the third round, landing several more leg kicks, staggering Lim, and forcing him to the canvas. Saffiedine dropped down into Lim’s half guard, methodically grounding and pounding Lim until the referee stood them up. Saffiedine continued with the leg kicks and Lim again fell to the mat, but survived the frame.
Lim came out aggressively in round four, although he was barely able to remain on his feet. Saffiedine continued to assault the leg, landing several kicks, leaving Lim hobbling around the Octagon. Saffiedine doubled Lim over with a knee to the body, then dropped him with a jumping knee to the face. He followed Lim to the canvas, grounding and pounding, but unable to put him away.
Saffiiedine continued attacking the leg in the final round, but Lim answered with several punch combinations, forcing Saffiedine to cover up. Saffiedine landed the jab, but was slowed quite a bit in the final round. Lim kept coming after him, if slowly, but Saffiedine continued to go to the well, kicking the leg out from under Lim, only to have him return to his feet time and again. Lim unloaded in the closing moments of the fight, rocking Saffiedine, sending him stumbling across the Octagon.
Saffiedine, primarily out of desperation, clung to Lim in the final seconds, hanging on just long enough to secure the unanimous decision victory.
Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Sean Soriano
Soriano started the fight strong, doing a good job fending off Kawajiri’s takedown attempts, but eventually got taken to the mat. Kawajiri soon moved to Soriano’s back, locking on a body triangle, but couldn’t secure the choke.
That changed quickly in round two, however, when Kawajiri again secured the takedown, this time quickly sinking a rear naked choke. Soriano tapped, but referee Steve Perceval didn’t see it. Soriano went to sleep, Kawajiri winning his UFC debut at the 50-second mark of the second round.
Kiichi Kunimoto vs. Luiz “Besouro” Dutra
Almost as quickly as this fight began, it came to an unsatisfying end. Kunimoto and Dutra took a little time feeling each other out before Kunimoto shot for a takedown, pinning Dutra up against the fence. Dutra unleashed several brutal elbows, but several clearly landed to the back of Kunimoto’s head, sending the Japanese fighter face down to the canvas.
Referee John Sharp asked Kunimoto several times if he could continue. He could not. Since the fight-ending strikes were illegal, Dutra was disqualified and Kunimoto was awarded the victory.
Kyung Ho Kang vs. Shunichi Shimizu
This fight was all Kang’s, save for an inexplicable two-point deduction charged to him by referee Steve Perceval. Kang looked to be close to ending the fight in the first round when he blocked Shimizu’s takedown attempt, put him in a triangle choke and unleashed a flurry of elbows, at least one of which was deemed an illegal 12-to-6 downward strike by Perceval, thus the two-point deduction.
Shimizu survived the round, but it was much the same for the remainder of the fight, Kang stuffing his takedown attempts and dominating with ground and pound.
Knowing that the two-point deduction put him on the back foot on the scorecards, Kang poured on the offense in round three, again dominating with ground and pound before taking advantage of a Shimizu scramble, attaining top mount, and securing an arm-traingle choke for the finish at 3:53 of the final round.
Max Holloway vs. Will Chope
Chope opened the fight strong, utilizing his reach advantage to employ a strong jab and stinging leg kicks. Holloway was on the short end until he adjusted towards the end of the opening round and started to fight through Chope’s reach. He ended the round with a solid flurry of punches and knees.
The Hawaiian picked up in round two where he left off in round one. Chope was much more hesitant now and Holloway kept unloading with a mix of punches and knees. He eventually landed a spinning back kick to the solar plexus that took all the wind out of Chope’s sails. Holloway unleashed another flurry of punches, a combination of head and body blows that sent Chope to the canvas, where the fight was stopped at 2:27 of round two.
Katsunori Kikuno vs. Quinn Mulhern
For a fight where Mulhern had a nine-inch reach advantage and Kikuno packed a powerful punch, this fight sort of stuttered from the beginning. Mulhern continually shot for the takedown, but Kikuno continually stuffed the attempts and put Mulhern on his back, but rarely did any damage. Even returning the fight to the feet several times, Kikuno landed a few punches and kicks, but again, didn’t mount much damage.
The fight played out that way through all three rounds, Kikuno eventually being awarded 30-27 scores by all three judges for the unanimous decision victory in his Octagon debut.
Royston Wee vs. Dave Galera
Wee controlled this fight from beginning to end. He took Galera to the mat in every round, not doing a lot of damage, but working a consistent ground and pound attack. Every time Galera would regain his feet or go for a submission attempt, Wee would regain control and stymie Galera’s offensive attempts. If that weren’t enough, Galera landed a blatant illegal upkick to Wee’s face in the third round while Wee was on both knees, forcing the referee to immediately deduct a point for the foul.
Wee became the first Singaporian to win in the Octagon, earning a unanimous nod from the judges, all three scoring it 30-26.
Mairbek Taisumov vs. Tae Hyun Bang
Bang came into this fight looking to utilize his boxing skills to counter Taisumov, which he did at certain points, but not effectively enough. It was Taisumov that remained the busier fighter, controlling where the fight went, scoring frequently with a bevy of kicking attacks and landing several takedowns in the second and third rounds.
Bang didn’t mount much offense, and the judges awarded a unanimous decision, 30-27 on all three scorecards, in favor of Taisumov.
Dustin Kimura vs. Jon Delos Reyes
Delos Reyes cracked Kimura immediately with several heavy punches. Kimura shot for the takedown, but Delos Reyes defended well, forcing Kimura to his back and hammered him with more punches and hammerfists. Kimura bided his time, however, and secured Delos Reyes’ arm to finish with the armbar at 2:13 of round one.
Leandro Issa vs. Russell Doane
Doane did some good work in the opening round with his striking, but got caught by Issa in a triangle late in the round. He couldn’t find his way out, but defended until the horn.
Doane went to work in the second round, staggering Issa on a couple of occasions with hard right hand punches. Issa shot and took Doane down, but Doane landed on top and softened Issa up with elbows from a crucifix position. Issa reversed position, but landed in a triangle choke, eventually going completely out at 4:59 of the second round.