Dong Hyun Kim's spinning back elbow will be remembered for years to come. | Mitch Viquez/Zuffa LLC/Getty
So much for that grinder label.
A new-and-improved Dong Hyun Kim scored his second straight devastating knockout, as he melted John Hathaway with a spinning back elbow in the UFC Fight Night 37 main event on Saturday at the Cotai Arena in Macau, China. The 32-year-old South Korean judoka landed the decisive strike 62 seconds into round three.
Kim wasted no time in bringing the fight to the Englishman. He staggered Hathaway with a thudding right hand within the first minute and later dropped him with a left. The “Stun Gun” picked up where he left off in the second round, as he secured a takedown and chipped away at Hathaway with some mild but effective ground-and-pound. A little more than a minute into round three, Kim answered a standing elbow from Hathaway with an exquisitely executed spinning elbow to the face that left the London Shootfighters representative unconscious in the middle of the Octagon.
With four straight wins, including back-to-back single-strike knockouts against Hathaway and former Jungle Fight champion Erick Silva, Kim has made himself a worthy top 10 contender in the Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight division; and he deserves to be matched as such. Jake Ellenberger and Tarec Saffiedine will collide at UFC 172 on April 26, with the victor emerging as an excellent potential opponent for Kim.
Hathaway had hoped to leave the cage under far better circumstances after his first appearance in more than a year. Instead, the 26-year-old must deal with the impact of being finished -- and spectacularly so -- for the first time in his professional career. Kim proved too steep a mountain to climb, but the loser of the forthcoming UFC Fight Night 40 battle between onetime Ring of Combat champions Ryan LaFlare and John Howard could serve as a more reasonable obstacle.
In wake of UFC Fight Night 37 “Kim vs. Hathaway,” here are five other matchups that ought to be made:
Hatsu Hioki vs. Charles Oliveira: Hioki likely avoided the Zuffa chopping block with his unanimous decision victory over Ivan Menjivar, as he snapped a career-worst three-fight losing streak. In doing so, the former Shooto and Sengoku champion dodged a third-round bullet and showcased the skills that once made him the consensus No. 2 featherweight in the world. The 24-year-old Oliveira rebounded from back-to-back losses to Cub Swanson and Frankie Edgar with a triangle choke-induced submission of Andy Ogle at UFC Fight Night 36 on Feb. 15.
Matt Mitrione vs. Jared Rosholt-Daniel Omielanczuk winner: Mitrione’s standup skills have never been in doubt, and they were once again on display against American Top Team’s Shawn Jordan. “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 10 alum wiped out Jordan with a last-second flurry in the first round of their heavyweight encounter. Mitrione’s last four bouts -- two wins and two losses -- have all ended inside one round. Rosholt and Daniel Omielanczuk will duke it out at UFC Fight Night 40 on April 11 in the United Arab Emirates.
Yui Chul Nam vs. Abel Trujillo: In his anticipated promotional debut, Nam roared out to a commanding lead and held on for a split decision over Pancrase veteran Kazuki Tokudome. The Road Fighting Championship titleholder scored four first-round knockdowns, three of them in the first 90 seconds, but his gas tank failed him down the stretch and left the door open for Tokudome. Nam, 32, has won eight of his past nine bouts, including five straight. Trujillo knocked out former World Extreme Cagefighting champion Jamie Varner at UFC 169 on Feb. 1.
Vaughan Lee vs. Chico Camus: Lee was virtually flawless in defeating “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 12 semifinalist Nam Phan by unanimous decision. Known more for his grappling chops, the 31-year-old Englishman utilized a sizzling straight left and a variety of unorthodox standup attacks in capturing all three rounds from Phan. While Lee has yet to find consistency inside the Octagon, his victories over Phan, Motonobu Tezuka and Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto provide some insight into his potential at 135 pounds. Roufusport’s Camus has compiled a 3-1 mark since arriving in the UFC in August 2012.
Shawn Jordan vs. Soa Palelei-Ruan Potts loser: Jordan wound up on the wrong side of a first-round knockout for the second time in as many outings. This time, the aforementioned Mitrione did the honors. Jordan failed to withstand a last-second volley from the former Purdue University defensive lineman, as referee Dan Miragliotta intervened on his behalf with one second remaining in the opening frame. The monstrous Palelei will face the once-beaten Potts on May 10 in Cincinnati.