UFC Fight Night: Kim vs Hathaway Predictions

UFC Fight Night China Predictions

Scott Johnson

*There will be no episode of Kamikaze Overdrive MMA predictions or Bet Pack for this event.

170lbs- #11 Dong Hyun Kim (18-2-1 1NC) vs. John Hathaway (17-1-0)

In the main event of the evening, Dong Hyun Kim puts his 3 fight winning streak on the line when he meets British fighter John Hathaway. Kim is coming off a surprising knockout win over Erick Silva, while Hathaway has won a trio of fights himself after suffering the first defeat of his career, most recently defeating John Maguire.

Hathaway’s win over Maguire came back in late September 2012, he has been out of action for 16 months.

Physically, these are two of the larger Welterweights and stack up almost identically with one and other. Kim will hold an almost non-existent 0.5” reach advantage.

Despite having decent pre-UFC knockout numbers, Kim 5 and Hathaway 4, both won their debuts via stoppage and until  Kim trounced Silva neither had done it again since. What they have excelled at is outclassing their opponents bell to bell leading to the judge’s call in their favour.

Hathaway is 8-1 in decisions, while Kim is a perfect 10-0.

The key to Hathaway’s success has been his improving grappling game. He has recorded a total of 20 takedowns over his 7 UFC wins, including 14 in his first 3 outings. He completes slightly below 1 of every 2 TDAs and once he gets the fight to the floor he has good top control. He hasn’t shown the killer instinct of some, but his ability to neutralize his adversary can be just as effective.

Kim offers a similar method to victory. He is a 4th dan Judo Black Belt averaging 3.27 takedowns at a 48% completion rate. He recently won dominant ground based decisions over Siyar Bahadurzada and BJJ black belt Paulo Thiago. He has scored a takedown in every UFC appearance but one. While he only has a single win by submission, his top game is smothering and he remains active enough to avoid getting stood up.

Kim has a very stout 81% TDD, never having lost a takedown battle in his Zuffa career. Hathaway’s has a respectable 61%, but when he has faced top level grapplers he has struggled. Mike Pyle dominated him on the mat with 5 takedowns in his only loss; Rick Story was a perfect 4 for 4, and even far from elite Kris McCray took him down 3 times.

Both guys are capable on the feet, but all indications are this bout will be contested on the floor. The combination of ring rust and the travel issue will be a lot for Hathaway and facing arguably the best grappler of his career won’t help either. Kim has to avoid getting drawn into a wild exchange and gassing out, but he should find success early and often with his ground skills so my prediction is Dong Hyun Kim to defeat John Hathaway by decision.

265lbs- Matt Mitrione (6-3-0) vs. Shawn Jordan (15-5-0)

In the Heavyweight division, TUF alumni Matt Mitrione has won just once in his last 4 fights including a technical submission loss against Brendan Schaub. Conversely, Shawn Jordan has won 4 of his last 6, but was put to sleep by a well timed counter in his most recent engagement versus big Gabriel Gonzaga.

As in the case in the Heavyweight division, there is a significant size disparity. Mitrione will have a 3″ height advantage, 5.5 inches of reach, along with a few pounds on Jordan.

Both men are former football players and have carried their athleticism into the cage. They both prefer to strike, but of the two Jordan would be the more likely to take the fight to the ground. He has a trio of submission wins, including a keylock submission over Lavar Johnson in his second Strikeforce appearance. Excluding the Johnson win he hasn’t used his wrestling to dominate a fight with his only other multi-takedown effort a TKO stoppage of a gassed Mike Russow.

Mitrione has had some questions raised about his grappling game. His movement and speed make it difficult for his opponent to close the distance when looking to take him down, but when they do get inside they have had success putting him on his back. In any fight going beyond the 3 minute mark (6 of 9 bouts) he has been taken down 11 times, with the most recent takedown resulting in Matt being put two sleep with a d’arce choke. If Jordan can close the gap he could find success on the mat against ‘Meathead’

On the feet, Mitrione has won 5 times by knockout, with a decision win over Joey Beltran accounting for his sixth win. Jordan has 11 knockouts, including 3 in the UFC over Pat Barry, Mike Russow, and Oli Thompson.

Both men are above average in the speed department for Heavyweights. Matt has quick feet, moving side to side and in and out trying to keep his opponents off balance while setting up his own attacks. His combinations are improving and he has hard leg kicks that can really take a lot out of his adversary’s movement. Jordan uses his speed to cover distance and catch his opponent of guard when he attacks. Jordan has power in hands and can overwhelm an opponent with a flurry if he gets the opportunity to unload.

Jordan’s defensive striking is a concern, getting tagged at a rate slightly above what he is able to dish out. He has also been knocked out in 3 of his 5 losses.

Both men have knockout potential. Jordan has he edge on the mat if he can get it there and then keep Matt on his back long enough to either set up a submission or take it to a decision. Jordan comes from the same camp, Jackson’s Submission Fighting, as Brendan Schaub who just submitted Mittrione so he should be well versed in what it takes to beat Mitrione. Additionally, it was evident in the Jordan/ Johnson Strikeforce bout that Jordan’s game plan centered around exploiting his opponent’s weakness on the mat.

Mitrione is more then capable of winning this bout with his speed and reach advantage, but he struggled to keep the much smaller and slower Roy Nelson on the outside before eventually getting knocked out. The combination of Jordan’s power, quickness, and wrestling should continue Matt’s struggles against next level opposition, so my prediction is Shawn Jordan to defeat Matt Mitrione by submission. 

135lbs- Nam Phan (18-13-0) vs. Vaughan Lee (13-9-1)

In the Bantamweight division, Nam Phan makes his sophomore appearance in his new divisional home when meets 5 fight UFC veteran Vaughan Lee. Phan is just 4-8 over his last 12 bouts, with back to back losses heading into this fight. Lee has alternated wins and losses since joining the UFC and is coming off a submission loss to top ranked Raphael Assuncao.

Phan has solid grappling credentials, holding Black belts in both Judo and BJJ, but he has yet to secure a submission win in his UFC career. He has focussed so little on his grappling game that he has scored just a single takedown, while getting taken down 23 times by Octagon oppoisiton.

Phan is 5-0 in fights ended by submissions, but has been badly dominated on the mat by Jimy Hetes, Dennis Siver, and Mike Brown.

The Brit has won the majority of his fights by submission, 7 of 13, including his 2012 armbar upset over heavily favoured Kid Yamamoto (I picked that upset). Unfortunately, submissions have also accounted for 2/3’s of his defeats, getting tapped 6 times, twice in the UFC. Lee’s takedown numbers are more respectable then Phan’s, but still not that great. He did land 4 attempts in his debut fight versus Chris Cariaso and successfully defended all but one of the 15 attempts made by Motonobu Tezuka.

While this fight will see some time spent on the cage floor, it will most likely be decided on the feet.

Lee has a decent kicking arsenal and showed some good pop in his hands, hurting Yamamoto with a few short shots. Statistically, Lee has some troubling numbers. He has connected at a rate of just 1.94 strikes per minute, while allowing his opposition to land at a rate of 2.21. Anytime a fighter averages less then 2 strikes per minute, their defensive work must be impeccable and while the Brits is far from horrid its not good enough under these circumstances.

Nam has 7 wins by knockout, along with 3 defeats. He isn’t a one punch knockout fighter, relying on volume. He lands at an impressive rate of 4.81 strikes per minute. He throws decent combinations, working his way in with head movement, and changes levels throwing a nasty left hook to the body. He has topped the 100 strikes mark on 4 different occasions, but he also absorbs a boat load of output from his opponent getting tagged at an astronomical rate of 6.16 SApM. Nam has to find a balance between offense and defense, especially when facing an opponent like Lee who’s totals normally don’t compare to his own.

Phan will have a 4″ reach advantage over Lee, something that he is normally not accustomed to.

Phan has fought just once at 135 pounds and it was an intense affair where he appeared to get stronger as the fight progressed. He was also fighting a veteran and high ranking opponent in Takeya Mizugaki. Physically, he should be more acclimatized to his new weightclass the second time around. If Lee can get this fight to the mat in top position he could control Phan, but Nam showed improved TDD and facing similar sized opposition should help him with his defensive grappling. Lee has a tendency to try and counter or pick his spots, which will be difficult against an opponent that keeps coming forward with combinations. Phan will outwork Lee early and take complete control of the fight as the Brit fades in the second half, so my prediction is Nam Phan to defeat Vaughan Lee by decision. 

 

145lbs- Hatsu Hioki (26-7-2) vs. Ivan Menjivar (25-11-0)

In the Featherweight division, Hatsu Hioki faces the potential end of his UFC career having lost 3 in a row after back to back wins to start his Octagon run. Ivan Menjivar returns to the 145 pounds for the first time since mid-2010 when he fought in his final pre-WEC bout. Menjvar has lost 2 in a row and 3 of his last 4.

Physically, Ivan will be undersized and that had to be part of his reasoning for moving to 135. Hioki will have 5″ of height and a significant 9″ reach advantage which will play a key role both on the feet and on the mat.

The Japanese star is a BJJ Black belt owning a career total of 12 submission wins, but has yet to record on inside the Octagon. He has averaged 2 takedowns per fight at 55% with a decent wrestling game highlight by his trip takedowns. He successfully landed 8 completions in his first 3 outings, but has struggled to mount his offensive game with just a single TD over his last 2 fights.

Hioki has an incredibly offensive guard and will chain sub attempts together. His long limbs allow him to attack with a variety of submissions and he is very good with his sweeps and reversals as well. The biggest struggle he has dealt with in the UFC has been strong top game wrestlers like Ricardo Lamas, Daron Elkins, and Clay Guida. While he did attack, he simply spent too long on his back.

No slouch on the mat in his own right, Menjivar is a BJJ Brown belt with a 10-2 record in fights ended by tapout. Unfortunately his grappling stats are pretty sub par, but he does have a pair of Octagon submissions and a throwback calf slicer win over current Lightweight Joe Lauzon. Menjivar has struggle defensively against grappling orient opponents. He lost a decision to Wilson Reis based on his inability to stay vertical and has given up at least 1 takedown in 5 of his last 8 fights, losing 3 of the 5.

Ivan does have the edge in knockouts at 9-4, but he has just 1 knockout in his last 18 fights. Additionally, Hioki has an excellent chin and should be able to stay out of range based on his distance management and reach. Hatsu has a nice compliment of range weapons including a long lead jab and number of different kicks including a well disguised head kick to keep Menjivar on the outside. While Mejivar likes to throw a variety of flashy techniques the volume is simply not there and he gets hit almost as much as he hits which is never a good thing.

Hioki was able to take down Ricardo Lamas 4 times which is no easy feat and he showed in the Palaszewski fight that he can dominate a round with his top game. With his grappling alone he should be able to take Menjivar to the floor at will, but he should be further aided by Ivan having to close the distance when looking to land his strikes. Menjivar struggled with Reis on top and should fair no better against the much larger Hioki. Hioki looked his best when he fought in Japan and the time difference between Macau and Tokyo is just an hour so he should be the more acclimated of the 2 fighters, so my prediction is Hatsu Hioki to defeat Ivan Menjivar by submission. 

155lbs- Kazuki Tokudome (12-4-1) vs. Yui Chul Nam (17-4-1)

In the Lightweight division, Kazuki Tokudome of Japan welcomes debuting Korean knockout artist ‘The Korean Bulldozer” Yui Chul Nam to the UFC. Tokudome started his Octagon journey with a win, but suffered a setback in his most recent performance while Nam has won 4 in a row and 7 of his last 8.

‘The Korean Bulldozer’ carries 8 knockouts into his inaugural bout, but just 1 in his last 4. He is far from a polished striker, throwing caution to the wind and unloading with violent and wild offerings. He varies his attacks between moments of calculated gauging of his opponent, before making an abrupt change and attacking. In his 2011 TKO of Rob Hill, the pair exchanges on the feet for large duration of the fight, with both men landing knockdowns before Hill eventually relented in the second frame.

Nam is 8-3 in decision, which suggests that he is capable of winning full round fights, but his wild style has and will tax his gas tank and cause him to slow down in longer fights. He has 6 first round finishes.

Tokudome looked solid in his debut, out dueling BJJ Black Belt Cristiano Marcello and winning the fight predominantly on the floor. While he wasn’t overly aggressive on the mat, he held his own and used positional control to seal the deal. The concern in that bout came early, when the wild swimming Brazilian landed several hard punches and clearly hurt Kazuki. He momentarily wilted against the cage, but recovered for the eventual win. He has a tendency to move straight back when under attack and raise his chin up in the process.

The former Pancrase competitor has been stopped twice, including a brutal 2010 head kick knockout under the KSW banner.

Nam has been taken down and based on his ability to push the pace and throw heat, Tokudome needs to get this fight to the floor frequently and for long periods of time. Dozer’s has shown serviceable grappling skills of his own, with a base in Judo and if he can turn the tide on his opponent or at least offer some stout defensive work he can keep the knockout in play. Tokudome’s history of a questionable chin and poor defensive tendencies leave him vulnerable against a fighter that will push the pace and look to overwhelm him from the onset of the fight. The grappling game, or lack there of could decide this fight, but my prediction is Yui Chul Nam to defeat Kazuki Tokudome by knockout. 

170lbs- Zak Cummings (16-3-0) vs. Alberto Mina (10-0-0)- Cancelled

In the Welterweight division, Zak Cummings makes his sophomore appearance inside the Octagon after a successful first round submission win in his debut. Undefeated Alberto Mina will enter the Octagon for the first time with 10 wins to start his pro career, all inside the distance.

Physically Cummings will be the taller man with a 4″ height advantage and has fought at both Middleweight and Light Heavyweight.

Mina is a both a BJJ and Judo black belt with 6 of 10 wins by submission. He has a smooth, but aggressive transition game with all of his submission victories coming inside the first round. Cummings is also a grappling based fighter. He is a BJJ Brown belt, owning 9 submission wins of his own.

Cummings debuted in both Bellator and the UFC with d’arce choke submission victories. He lost via RNC to Tim Kennedy in his only Strikeforce appearance.

If this fight stays standing both men are more then capable of handling with serviceable striking games and the ability to end the bout on the feet. Each man has a 4-pack of TKO/KO victories to their name. Mina scored an impressive first round stoppage of Glenn Sparv in his final pre-UFC tune-up fight.

Cummings has faced far better competition and is making his second appearance at 170 pounds in the UFC, so his body should be better adjusted. For Mina, he is making his debut which is tough and is taking a step up in quality of competition. The x-factor will be Cummings’s ability to deal with the time adjustment. There is approximately 14 hours difference between where he normally trains and where the event will take place, which can greatly impact a fighter’s performance.

Cummings has had some trouble with aggressive grapplers. He was submitted by Tim Kennedy and lost position versus Dylan Andrew in his TUF tournament defeat offering very little off his back. Conversely a debuting and undefeated fighter like Mina can raise cause for concern when moving to this level of competition for the first time, and for the most part he hasn’t fought anyone at this level. Cummings will have a size advantage and his experience should help him to grind this one out, additionally the combo of Octagon jitters and a lack of experience beyond the first round will compromise Mina’s abilities as the fight progresses so my prediction is Zak Cummings to defeat Alberto Mina by decision. 

 

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