The first UFC Singapore fight card is coming together and slowly picking up steam.
Expected to feature a welterweight main event pitting former Strikeforce champion Tarec Saffiedine against Jake Ellenberger, the Jan. 4 fight, has also recently garnered a couple more bouts.
Newly signed Japanese veteran Tatsuya Kawajiri (32-7-2) will step in the Octagon for the first time across from Brazilian foe Hacran Dias (21-2-1), according to an initial report from FightSportAsia.com. Former DEEP champion Katsunori Kikuno is another UFC first-timer that will grace the card, as he expected to face Strikeforce transfer Quinn Mulhern, according to FoxSports.com.
Kawajiri has spent nearly his entire career fighting on his home turf in Japan. He has competed at the highest levels of MMA in Japan, fighting for Shooto, Pride, Dream, and One FC.
Kawajiri is currently riding a five-fight victorious streak, most recently defeating UFC veteran Michihiro Omigawa.
Dias made his way to the UFC after rising to prominence in Shooto Brazil, riding an eight-fight winning streak into his debut. Dias won his first fight in the Octagon, defeating Iuri Alcantara, but lost his last fight to Nik Lentz.
Kikuno is making the jump from Japanese fight promotion DEEP, and enters the UFC on a five-fight winning streak.
His opponent, Mulhern, is a former King of the Cage champion that has gone 3-2 in his last five fights. Mulhern made his promotional debut at UFC 158 in March, losing to Rick Story by TKO stoppage.
The Jan. 4 event will be the UFC’s first in Singapore, and should be the first of several UFC events in Asia during 2014, including at least two in Macao, according to Mark Fischer, the UFC’s Managing Director of Asia.
(Photo: Tatsuya Kawajir and JZ Cavalcante)