Saturday 1st March, Macau, China
Despite the likelihood that almost nobody in the Western World watched TUF China or can name even one Chinese mixed martial artist off the top of their head (no, Cung Le is Vietnamese) this is actually quite a tidy little card, and the fact that it’s showing during the middle of the day in the UK (yes, I paid for Fight Pass) makes a nice change.
Headlining the event is Korea’s Dong Hyun Kim (18-2-1) who has rallied from a 1-2 streak in 2011-12 to assemble a 3-0 run over some quality opposition and reassert himself as a challenger in the UFC’s welterweight division.
Always extremely durable and a stifling grappler, ‘Stun Gun’ showed his striking power in his knockout victory of Erick Silva back in October. Almost impossible to finish, hard to score points against and only too happy to embrace the grind, Kim is a real challenger for anyone at 170lbs.
I guess that counts double if you’ve been inactive for almost a year and a half like his opponent John Hathaway (17-1) has been.
Despite the layoff, Hathaway is also riding a 3-0 streak for a total UFC record of 7-1 with the only blemish coming against the ever-game Mike Pyle back in 2010.
Atypically for a British fighter, Hathaway is a noted grappler with some explosive takedowns and perfectly capable of grinding out decision victories – in fact he’s not been involved in a stoppage since his UFC debut against the outmatched Tom Egan in 2009.
As such, these two fighters make for an interesting battle with neither with a glaring advantage in any area and the probability of their grappling cancelling out means it could be surprisingly entertaining. The winner will have the second best active streak in the division, and that kind of thing counts for a lot.
With one of the TUF tournament finals scrapped, we are left with Wang Sai (6-4-1) vs. Lipeng Zhang (6-7-1) as the real attraction for the local fans. Sai has the better record, more international experience and is the larger fighter, so I’ve got to pick him as the winner here.
Also on the main card we have heavy hitting heavyweights Shawn Jordan (15-5) and Matt Mitrione (6-3), and a pair of exceedingly technical lighter weight matches as Hatsu Hioki (26-7-2) and Ivan Menjivar (25-11) at featherweight and Nam Phan (18-12) and Vaughan Lee (13-9-1) at bantamweight. Neither of those matches are going to suck, I guarantee you that.
The pick of the undercard matches is Zak Cummings (16-3) against the undefeated Alberto Mina (10-0) with Cummings riding a three fight win streak and promotional debutant Mina having never even gone the distance in his perfect career to date.
8am EST / 1pm GMT on Fight Pass, 9.45pm on BT Sport
John Hathaway vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Zhang Lipeng vs. Wang Sai – “TUF: China” welterweight tourney final
Shawn Jordan vs. Matt Mitrione
Vaughan Lee vs. Nam Phan
Hatsu Hioki vs. Ivan Menjivar
UFC Fight Pass, 6:15 am EST / 11.15 am GMT
Yui Chul Nam vs. Kazuki Tokudome
Zak Cummings vs. Alberto Mina
Albert Cheng vs. Anying Wang
Mark Eddiva vs. Jumabieke Tuerxun