Dong Hyun Kim managed to continue building a somewhat unheralded case as a potential welterweight title challenger with his thrilling KO of John Hathaway at the UFC Ultimate Fighter: China Finale. Kim now has a solid four fight win streak going and ten UFC wins in thirteen trips to the Octagon (with one no contest mixed in).
He has changed up his smothering style to a bit of a more wild, wide open brawling style. While that has brought him success against tough challenges in Erick Silva and Hathaway, it could hurt him against the very top of the division at 170.
Kim's style is fun to watch and he did pull off a shocking and memorable KO, and sometimes that's all you need to be put right into the title mix. There is a long list of fighters ranked ahead of him (Kim is currently #11 at 170) who would bust him up if he keeps his striking so wide open.
- The less said about the actual TUF: China finale, the better. It was a brutal affair that belonged on a card for a small regional promotion, not in a UFC cage. There's nothing you can do with Zhang Lipeng or Wang Sai in the UFC. They'll get eaten alive by the real roster. Sai deserved to win, the judges gave it to Lipeng, that's obviously bad in the short term, but it doesn't change the reality of either guy's place in this sport.
- Matt Mitrione will keep his spot in the UFC a little longer after knocking out Shawn Jordan. It wasn't a great fight, but heavyweight fights rarely are about the fight and often about the finish. Mitrione has heavy hands and if he can connect, he can finish people. As such, he is always dangerous.
- Hatsu Hioki and Ivan Menjivar was a fun fight, mostly because Hioki was in one of his modes where he grappled with urgency. Menjivar was able to defend well against the submission attacks but was on the defensive for most of the fight, that means Hioki employed his style effectively. Menjivar did badly hurt Hioki in round three, opening up a big cut in the process. But Hioki survived to take the clear decision.
- Yui Chul Nam's win over Kazuki Takudome was a deserving Fight of the Night winner. The two exchanged one-sided rounds in the first two frames before a fun finish that saw Nam do enough to earn the decision. I saw a few hailing it as an all-time classic, which is crazy. But no card suffers with a fight like this on it.
- Nam Phan's loss to Vaughan Lee came with this weird note:
I'm not making this up - Nam Phan has had at least one 10-8 round scored against him in 4 of his last 5 losses.— Mookie Alexander (@mookiealexander) March 1, 2014
- When a guy is announced by the promoter as 2-3 in his career and is coming off a TUF:China season where he went 1-2, don't expect big things. Albert Cheng showed why in his far below "UFC caliber" loss to Wang Anying.
- Jumabieke Tuerxun was sold as China's best fighter. Given his brutal performance to open the show in a loss to Mark Eddiva, that would signify that China is a market the UFC can't break into using local fighters. The talent level just isn't there.
- UFC 2014 results tracker! Tonight: 5 decisions and 3 KO. Year to date: 49 decisions/7 submissions/18 KO/1 DQ. That's a finish rate of 65% on the year.
- There have been 24 preliminary fights on the last 5 UFC cards, only two have ended in a finish. The other 22 have gone to decision.
- There has been one submission in the last 24 UFC fights. If you want to go back to the second most recent submission you have to go all the way back 48 fights to Alex Caceres' submission of Sergio Pettis.