Will Topnoi Kiwram be the first man from Thailand to make it to the UFC?
Road to UFC’s opening round concluded Friday in Singapore, with eight more fighters advancing to the semifinals. Among the big winners is the Rizin veteran in Topnoi, who won a fun and competitive decision over Yuma Horiuchi.
Topnoi dealt with adversity as he got stuck in back control for stretches, but for the most part, the Muay Thai showman displayed crisp strikes along with that flair and showboating he’s been known for. He improved to 8-3 in his career, and moved on to the flyweight semifinal round.
Also putting on a show were two South Korean fighters, Kyung Pyo Kim and Jeong Yeong Lee, who both had finishes in about half a minute. “The Korean Tiger” in Lee got a slick armbar just 36 seconds into his featherweight tournament match up, where he even used the fence to get a proper angle for the finish.
“Red Horse” Kim, on the other hand, got a fast KO over Asikerbai Jinensibieke, landing big shots and stopping his experienced Chinese opponent in exactly 30 seconds of the very first round.
Lu Kai also impressed during the event, showing that Judo base and going on extensive Kesa Gatame attacks that are somewhat rare in MMA these days. He couldn’t finish the scarfhold armlock, but used the control position to land some brutal strikes against a helpless opponent. The moment Angga escaped that position, Lu just finished with even more ground and pound.
As for the non-tournament action, URCC champion John Adajar found some success early, until Double G welterweight champ Han Seul Kim eventually dropped then submitted him with a triangle-armbar.
After the four segments of Road to UFC, the semifinalists have been determined from each of the divisions.
Flyweight: Seungguk Choi, Qiu Lun, Top Noi Kiwram, Hyun Sung Park
Bantamweight: Toshiomi Kazama, Rinya Nakamura, Min Woo Kim, Shohei Nose
Featherweight: Yi Zha, Jeong Yeong Lee, Koyomi Matsushima, Lu Kai
Lightweight: Won Bin Ki, Anshul Jubli, Jeka Saragih, Kyung Pyo Kim
Looking at records per country on these Road to UFC events, unsurprisingly it’s Korea and Japan that found the most success. South Korean fighters went 5-2 in the four events, while Japanese fighters went 5-3. China found decent success as well, going 4-4.
The semifinal rounds is targeted to happen sometime around fall.
Road to Episode 3 Results
BW Tournament: JeongYeong Lee def. Xie Bin by Submission (Armbar), 0:36 R1
FLW Tournament: Topnoi Kiwram def. Yuma Horiuchi by Decision (Unanimous) 29-28, 29-27 x2
BW Tournament: Rinya Nakamura def. Gugun Gusman by Submission (Americana), R1
Non-Tournament bout: Josefine Knuttson def. YeDam Seo by Decision (Unanimous), 30-27, 30-27, 30-26
LW Tournament: Anshul Jubli advances due to fight cancellation (Sho Patrick Usami out due to illness)
Road to UFC Episode 4 Results
BW Tournament: Shohei Nose def. Wulijiburen by TKO (Knee Injury), R1
LW Tournament: Kyung Pyo Kim def. Asikerbai Jinensibieke by KO (Punches), 0:30 R1
FW Tournament: Lu Kai def. Angga Hans by TKO (punches), R2
FLW Tournament: HyunSung Park def. Jeremia Siregar by TKO (Punches), R1
Non Tournament Bout: HanSeul Kim def. John Adajar by Submission (Triangle-Armbar), R1