A contender fight where a grinder is put up against the division’s most devastating striker, heavyweights competing for a chance to move up the division’s ladder, and again, superstar in the making, ‘Super’ Sage Northcutt, continues moving forward and he has even raised the stakes by accepting a fight in a higher weight class to prove the doubters wrong.

What are we talking about?

UFC on Fox 18 in Newark, N.J., on January 30, headlined by light heavyweights ranked in the top of the division in Anthony Johnson vs. Ryan Bader with a strong co-headliner in ‘The Warmaster’ Josh Barnett vs. ‘Big’ Ben Rothwell. That’s what’s up.

And let’s not forget to mention, the many former Ultimate Fighter contestants in hopes to work their way up in the division and some with their back against the wall. The second fighter coming from Dana White´s show, Lookin´ For A Fight – the 6-0 Randy Brown – making his UFC debut, hoping to have a similar projection as ‘Super’ Sage has had so far. New Jersey’s own, Jimmie Rivera facing his toughest test yet in front of his home crowd, when he will be standing opposite #14 ranked bantamweight, the Brazilian in Iuri Alcantara.

So, which fight is not getting the attention? A contest fans shouldn’t miss, or as we like to say – flies under the radar? The long time UFC veteran, the heavy-handed ‘Juggernaut’ Jake Ellenberger who has a lot to lose if he doesn’t win this fight against the last Strikeforce welterweight champion and discipline striker from Belgium in Tarec Saffiedine.

Both athletes have faced the ‘who’s who’ in this sport, and in some of them, they came up short, and in some they tasted glory. There are a few similarities in their backstories coming into this fight on Saturday. These two have both headlined UFC cards before, however, they have both lost a lot of momentum as of late for different reasons. Saffiedine for his injuries that have kept him somewhat inactive, and Ellenberger for the four losses in his past five fights. The one fight he did win against Josh Koscheck was a nasty one where he got his first submission in his UFC career, making ‘Kos’ “foaming at the mouth” as commentator Joe Rogan described it while witnessing the north-south choke cage side.

These men are not unknown to each other, they have been scheduled to face off twice before (April, 2015 in Baltimore and Jan, 2014 in Singapore) and they both pulled out of these fights one time each because of injury. At those times, these were main event worthy and booked match-ups, but as previously stated, the landscape and momentum has changed. They are both coming of losses and with a lot to prove. That they are not on a downward spiral, the momentum will come back and past performance awards for their time in the Octagon proves, they are always game.

Ellenberger was known for his wrestling, but what he is more recognized for today is the devastation of power he packs in both hands, capable of moving mountains. In his last fight, before getting knocked out by a spinning heel-kick, he put ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson on one knee with one clean hit. Saffiedine is more technical in his stand up approach, chipping on your leg to slow you down, to later outstrike you and win by decision. Just see his latest and first victory in the Octagon against the knockout artist, Hyun Gyu Lim, where he just demolished the front leg of Lim to the point he kept falling down from the horrific pain.

Both have a strong weapon that could be used greatly in their advantage in this fight. Ellenberger using his fists that do not take prisoners, could go headhunting here, if he choose to do so, since Saffiedine doesn’t mostly use active head movement when he fights and a hard one to the temple could make it a early night. What Saffiedine does is, he moves a lot while working on the outside, switching stances in hopes of finding holes to come in and attack or trick his opponents. The leg kick he has is money, and if ‘The Juggernaut’ stays heavy on his front leg, as he sometimes does, it will leave him open for serious damage that could result in power being taking away from his punches, but if Saffiedine is reckless, that kick to the leg of Ellenberger could come at a deep cost, as he could eat a heavy hand coming in.

With so much at stake for these veterans, in a sport where short term memory is common for fans, we shouldn’t forget, these two are more than game to put on a show for the fans.

About The Author

Christian Larusson
Staff Writer

Christian Larusson is a passionate Mixed Martial Arts fan. With experience in writing for Swedish MMA sites, he now solely writes in English through blogging, PunchDrunkSports and The MMA Corner. Got his heart broken early in his life when a friend, ‘Judas’, told him that WWE/WWF wasn’t real. Then one day, he saw MMA on a friend's computer, he was overwhelmed with emotions from what his eyes had just seen. He´s been in love ever since. Christian has been published in different Swedish papers and books, nothing to do with MMA though, so who gives a shh-.