South Korea-based promotion Road Fighting Championship hosted their 32nd major event on Saturday night. This card was held in Hunan, China, and while most international MMA organizations struggle in the region, Road FC managed to successfully host their 3rd show in the country in the past 7 months.
As one of the most exciting and consistent promotions in the region, Road FC mixes events with a blend of known veterans from the MMA scene, along with today's top talent from Korea and the Asian region. While the planned appearance of Riki Fukuda was scrapped due to injury, the event still had this nice blend of talented regional stars coupled with two UFC veterans and a heavyweight showcase to bring in the more casual fight fan.
Soo Chul Kim, who has long been considered the best Korean fighter outside Zuffa, moved up to featherweight and fought yet another UFC veteran in hostile territory. As he took on China's Jumabieke Tuerxun, Kim's very first combination seemed to have badly hurt the hometown star in the body. Jumabieke tried to survive, but Kim managed to end it with another well placed shot to the torso that led to the finish in under 3 minutes.
With the victory, the 24-year-old Kim now has 6 wins over UFC veterans, and is currently unbeaten in his last 8 bouts. He started his career as a teenager going 4-4, and has since managed to go on an impressive run as of late. His last loss was a 2013 decision against Bibiano Fernandes.
Also on the card is a heavyweight showcase featuring Bob Sapp's return to active competition as he faced China's Aorigele. The self-proclaimed 'Kung Fu Panda of China' needed only 35 seconds to knock out the former PRIDE star. Watch the clip below.
TUF China's Albert Cheng also competed against Korea's Hyeung Seok Lee, with the UFC vet picking up a well earned decision victory to extend his winning streak.
Also picking up quality victories on the card are Japanese prospect Kai Asakura, and female fighters Heqin Lin and Ye Ji Lee.
A day after the event, Road FC announced that their broadcast on CCTV 5 was the third on their time slot, drawing 40 million viewers in China. CCTV 5 is the sports channel of media giant CCTV, and is the main sports broadcaster in China. It's on free TV and reaches well over 360 million homes.
To compare, TUF China was broadcasted on Liaoning TV, which is on satellite TV. The UFC told me before that they were proud to average 10 million viewers for that show.