Hey ya'll. I have returned to my writing ways after taking February off to celebrate Black History Month. Actually, not really (though there's certainly nothing wrong with learning about Chuck Cooper). I just didn't have anything I wanted to write about. But now I do. Check the link out. I'd really appreciate it.
There’s no sense in beating around the bush …
Holy shit. Hoe leigh shit. The Dongster has officially served notice to the rest of the welterweight division. He appears to be through playing games.
Dong Hyun Kim was one of those prospects that I actually followed before he made it to the UFC. And in those early fights, you saw a guy using his reach to punch guys in the mouth, and a superior top game to set up ground and pound. The thing was, he was mainly putting his hands on relatively overmatched Japanese guys. When he entered the UFC, his modus operandi appeared to be "I’m going to play it safe on my feet, find a way inside, and use my judo and superior strength to beat people up on top."
As facile and disappointing as that description sounds, he was clearly awesome at executing it. His two fights leading up to his transformation into Crazy, I-Don’t-Give-A-Shit-What-Happens Dong Hyun Kim hammered this point home. He dominated Siyar Bahadurzada and Paulo Thiago so thoroughly on the floor that you honestly felt bad for both of them. They both ran into a titanium wall. They were fights that you could tell were over after 5 minutes. Dong Hyun Kim’s top game was something to be feared, but after getting knocked out by Carlos Condit, that seemed to be the only thing you needed to prepare for (though he did throw some effective, yet silly, kicks that helped him outpoint Sean Pierson).
This new guy, though? Now? He’s fighting every fight like it’s his last, like he wants to be remembered. This isn’t simply a step up in aggression; this is an entirely new mindset. And even if he goes out and reverts to his old ways in future fights, I’ll never forget that 4 month stretch where Dong Hyun Kim decided to lose his fucking mind.
KO of the year (with the usual caveat: SO FAR).
Hey, here’s a few blurbs in the middle of my article because I don’t know where else to put them:
Nice composure on that KO by Mitrione … Hatsu Hioki turned in a typical Hioki performance, cruising on the scorecards when he decided to make it unnecessarily dramatic by eating a big Menjivar right hand (because it’s not a Hatsu Hioki fight unless he somehow fights down to his competition) … "Jumabieke Tuerxun" is my new favorite name of all time … "Wang Sai" is my new second favorite name of all time … Speaking of Sai, I was one of the few souls who scored his fight for Lipeng. I thought he took the first and the second, but I wouldn’t have had a problem with Sai winning either. Close fight.
Here’s the part of the article where I complain about judging.
The judging in Macao was actually pretty solid, save for one fight: The Yui Chul Nam vs. Kazuki Tokudome fight. It was a fight that the right guy ended up winning, but two out of those three scorecards should be put on display at the non-existent UFC Hall of Fame building with a constant laugh track sounding off in the background.
First we have Mr. Chris Watts, who scored the fight 28-27 for Nam. I’m sorry, but you can’t give the first and second rounds the same score. You just can’t. Kazuki Tokudome tallied a very impressive, inspiring comeback in the second frame, taking Nam down with a nice double and chipping away at his face for nearly 5 minutes, but to give that the same 10-8 you gave Nam for beating Kazuki within a millimeter of his life is just baffling.
Hang on, it gets more indefensible. Mr. Howard Hughes scored the fight 29-28 for Nam. 29-28!! Seriously, Mr. Hughes, you realize that you’re allowed to give 10-8′s, right? Did they cover that at the judging seminar you hopefully attended in order to be a professional judge? It sure doesn’t seem like you absorbed much from my hypothetical judges seminar. To say Yui Chul Nam only deserved to win the first round 10-9 is to open yourself up to prodding questions like "Were you awake?" … "Did you watch the fight?" … "Were you on acid?"
Judge Tom Harris came the closest to hitting the mark, scoring the fight 29-27 for Nam (giving him a 10-8 first and Tokudome a 10-9 second). I’d have done him one better, though: That first round was a 10-7 round. Nam knocked Tokudome down 4 times. He landed countless hard right hands standing. He landed them from distance. He landed them from in close, grabbing Kazuki’s neck and turning it into a hockey fight. When he followed Tokudome to the floor, he landed hard punch after hard punch after hard punch. He never stopped beating the crap out of Tokudome. Not once. Tokudome was in constant peril. The fight could have been stopped probably 5 different times. By the time the round was over, both of Tokudome’s eyes had GIANT bubbles under them. It was about as much damage as you can do to another human being in 5 minutes that doesn’t involve a gun, a rape whistle, or a Toby Keith album. 10-7 Nam. I’m sticking to it.
We always moan and groan about referees when they screw up, but we never praise them when they do a good job. I’m going to buck that trend. Jerin Valel and Leon Roberts are excellent referees, and I wish we could see more of both of them reffing UFC events.
Special tip of the cap to Jerin Valel for letting the fighters decide who won Nam-Tokudome, and not the referee. Herb Dean would have stopped that after the first knockdown. Steve Mazzagatti and Mario Yamasaki would have stopped it after the second. And Yves Lavigne would have just stopped it before anyone even threw a punch. Not Jerin. He did a great job of recognizing Tokudome’s intelligent defense in the face of extreme duress. He just talked a little bit too much, like that drunk, overly gregarious guy at a party who insists on holding court over any and all conversations. I’ll let it slide.
Leon Roberts is a great referee, which can be difficult to recognize because you almost never notice him. Is there a higher compliment for a referee? I think not. Valel and Roberts were so good that Dan Miragliotta even had a nice night. He became competent by association.
Looking forward to next weekend, mostly because I can’t figure out how to cancel my Fight Pass subscription.
Lots more content coming soon. Stay tuned.