Former UFC fighter Kim Dong Hyun’s protégé, Kim Sang Wook (29), moved one step closer to entering the UFC with a win in the quarterfinals of ROAD TO UFC.
Kim defeated Kazuma Maruyama (30-Japan) by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:08 of the first round at ROAD TO UFC Season 2: Episodes 3 & 4 in the lightweight opening round at UFC Performance Institute Shanghai, China on Nov. 28.
He capitalized on his only opportunity with the finish. Kim struggled early in the match, allowing Maruyama to land a calf kick. However, after defending his opponent’s tackle, he got up and immediately grabbed a rear-naked choke grip. He then wrapped his leg around his opponent’s left leg, immobilizing it and forcing Maruyama to tap.
In his post-fight press conference, Kim said, “Before the fight, I was so scared that I was on such a big stage that I felt like I was going to cry. At that time, coach Lee Jung-won told me, ‘You went to the UDT (Naval Special Warfare Squadron) and went through everything in your life for this moment,’ so I was able to focus. It was nice to see my teammates happy after the win, rather than thinking about myself first,” he said, giving credit to his coach and teammates.
“I would like to say thank you to my coach, Kim Dong-hyun, who is always by my side. He is the one who made it possible for me to get to this point, and I will always be grateful to him,” he said.
Kim was the first South Korean fighter to compete in the world’s top mixed martial arts (MMA) organization, the UFC. In 18 fights in the UFC, he compiled a record of 13 wins, 4 losses, and 1 no contest, and reached a world ranking of #6. After stepping away from the sport, he founded Team Sturgeon to help train younger fighters.
Kim Dong-hyun, who is now a successful broadcaster, has stepped down from his coaching role, but he still continues to support Kim Sang-wook.
Competing in the bantamweight tournament, Lee advanced to the semifinals with a first-round TKO victory over Rana Rudra Pratap Singh (26-India) without taking a single shot.
Lee pressed forward right from the start, driving Singh to the cage and taking him to the ground with a fence, where he unleashed an endless barrage of ground and pound and elbows on his grounded opponent in what he nicknamed “Ant Hell. When Singh was unable to put up much of a fight, Reffery called for the TKO.
Lee, who didn’t allow any punches in the fight, said, “It was over quickly, so I have nothing to show for it. I ran 5 kilometers on the treadmill this week, and that made it harder. There are only two matches left before the finals, and any damage to my face will hinder my preparation.”
“Twin Knives” Sang Hoon Yoo, 33, knocked on the UFC’s door with an upset TKO victory over Chris Hoffman, 33-Philippines. The non-tournament winner can earn a UFC contract based on performance.
Yoo was down on the scorecards until the second round, when he allowed an overhand hook and takedown from Hoffman. In the third round, he was knocked down by a left hook, and the damage was done.
This is when Yoo’s true colors came out. After surviving a close call, Yoo scored a knockdown with a right straight counter timed to his opponent’s leg kick. After getting back to his feet and following his opponent to the back, Yoo landed a flying knee followed by a series of knees that put him down again. A flurry of punches followed, forcing the referee to stop the fight.
After the fight, Yoo said, “I’m not aiming to be UFC champion. My goal is the BMF championship belt that covers the real deal,” and “Dana White, I want the BMF belt. Please let me enter the UFC,” and asked UFC President Dana White for a contract.
Hong, 33, met former UFC fighter Long Zhu (23-China) in the quarterfinals of the lightweight tournament and was TKO’d by a flurry of punches just 2 minutes and 17 seconds into the bout.
Also competing in the lightweight tournament, Ki-Bin Kim (32) was disqualified at 2:22 of the second round after hitting Bahaterborough Baterborati (25-China) in the back of the head.
After being pushed back by a first-round flurry, Kisibin knocked his opponent down with a second-round right hand. However, he got too excited and landed at least four hammerfists in a row to the larynx of his prone opponent, robbing him of a much-deserved victory 메이저놀이터.
ROAD TO UFC is a quarterfinal tournament featuring Asia’s top MMA prospects, with the winner receiving a UFC contract. Season 2 will feature a total of 32 competitors in four weight classes: flyweight (56.7 kg), bantamweight (61.2 kg), featherweight (65.8 kg), and lightweight (70.3 kg).