TUF China Finale: 5 Reasons to Watch
Honestly, there really isn't a whole lot of excitement coming into The Ultimate Fighter: China Finale this weekend live in the early hours of Saturday.
However, if you are a mixed martial arts (MMA) junkie like myself and can't get enough, you'll be up with a caffeinated beverage on your nightstand, a box of doughnuts on hand and your computer streaming this event live. Ah, the life of an obsessed MMA fan. The Ultimate Fighter: China Finale is being held March 1 at the CotaiArena in Cotai, Macau, China, and is televised as the international edition of the long-running reality TV series.
I know, there aren't a whole lot of good things going for this weekend's Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event. However, here are five reasons you should tune into watch.
Two Dark Horses at 170 Pounds
The main event of this card features two top-20 welterweights looking to boost their stock into the top 10. Those men are South Korean judoka Dong Hyun Kim (better known as ‘Stun Gun’) and British grinder John Hathaway. Hathaway is known as "The Hitman."
Both 6'1" men are dark horses at 170 and a threat to win any fight they are in. They have similar styles, as both like to secure top position on the ground and control their opponents.
Neither man is fighting for a title shot in this bout, but they still are jockeying for position in a loaded 170-pound division. Now that Georges St-Pierre isn't the champion, the entire division is blown wide open, and it's anybody's opportunity to take.
Heavyweights/Ex-Gridiron Sluggers Collide
Matt Mitrione was a defensive lineman at Purdue University and eventually played in the NFL. Shawn Jordan, "The Savage," was a fullback at Louisiana State University. These men are two high-level athletes.
However, both men need to get back into the win column after recent hiccups. They really can bang on the feet, which could make this a short night.
With both being athletic and powerful, they should complement each other's styles, and this could lead to an entertaining, violent affair.
Hioki's Last Stand?
The UFC has given Japanese MMA pro Hatsu Hioki every opportunity in the world. He is 2-3 with the company, and one of his wins easily could have gone the other way.
Hioki is fighting closer to home in this bout than most of his other fights, which took place in America. Last time he fought this close to home, he showed his retro self in beating Bart Palaszewski in convincing fashion.
This time, he draws bantamweight-turned-145er Ivan Menjivar. It's sink or swim time for Hioki, and if he can't get passed the Salvadoran-Canadian, it may be time to find a new promotion to call home.
Debut of the Korean Bulldozer
I hate giving newcomers a ton of hype for a couple of reasons. The main one is because if they lose or perform poorly, it makes my scouting report look bad.
Still, I think the UFC has landed a gem in Yui Chul Nam. The man known as "The Korean Bulldozer" is just that, a powerful grinder that loves wearing down his opponent.
He is not the flashy type, nor is he always the most aesthetically pleasing. He is just a hard-nosed fighter who makes his opponent work for every inch in the cage.
The UFC currently has a couple of very solid Korean fighters on the roster. Nam could be the next big one with the company.
China's Best Prospect
I have no doubts when I make this statement: Tuerxun Jumabieke is the best prospect China has to offer.
The 14-0 fighter is experienced, skilled and has a bevy of potential. He is better than all 16-plus prospects that showed their face on this season of TUF China, by a mile.
He has power on the feet and can grapple on the mat. It is rare for a Chinese fighter to be that well rounded, and he has the potential to be a breakout star.
He gets a measuring stick of an opponent when he fights Mark Eddiva. If he beats him, it's a warm-up to bigger things. If he can't beat Eddiva, he doesn't belong anywhere near the Octagon.