Yui Chul Nam is 9-2-1 over his last 12 appearances. | Photo: Greg Samborski/Sherdog.com
The Ultimate Fighting Championship will make its second visit to Macau, China, on Saturday, when the Las Vegas-based organization sets up for shop for UFC Fight Night 37 at Cotai Arena.
The event will be broadcast live on UFC Fight Pass, headlined by a welterweight showdown pitting once-beaten Brit John Hathaway against top South Korean talent Dong Hyun Kim. The undercard features just four fights and begins at 6:15 a.m. ET/3:15 a.m. PT, meaning those of you planning to watch on the west coast might as well just stay up all night.
Honestly, I was never was much of a salesman, but maybe we can do this together. I will bring the Mountain Dew if you guys provide the Twizzlers. I have also been told that UFC President Dana White will provide us with 400 complimentary pizzas, none of which are covered in gross toppings, like anchovies or vegetables of any kind.
Still not sold, huh? Well, I can only hope that these five reasons to watch will change your mind:
‘THE KOREAN BULLDOZER’
I am a sucker for a great nickname, and Yui Chul Nam is certainly covered in that department.
The South Korean has also shown substance as an athlete, another important factor in gaining my highly sought after but rarely gained measure of approval. Nam enters the Octagon as the reigning Road Fighting Championship lightweight titleholder and has won seven of his last eight. The 32-year-old has also earned eight of his 17 wins by way of knockout, though he has not scored one since September 2012.
Even considering his last three fights have gone the distance, I am still relatively excited to watch Nam employ his powerful, straight-ahead approach in the Octagon. As you might expect from a guy who calls himself “The Korean Bulldozer,” you should not expect to be wowed by his technique. Nevertheless, he certainly possesses the punching power to end Kazuki Tokudome’s night if the Japanese lightweight leaves his chin exposed.
Nam certainly drew no pushover for his UFC debut.
In Tokudome, the South Korean must contend with a former lightweight King of Pancrase challenger. The 26-year-old rattled off three straight wins after coming up short in that title opportunity, closing out his Pancrase run with a pair of victories in 2012 before consistently beating Cristiano Marcello to the punch en route to a unanimous decision win over the “The Ultimate Fighter 15” alum at UFC on Fuel TV 8 last March.
Tokudome’s most recent outing did not go according to plan, however, as “The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes” winner Norman Parke proved to be the faster, more accurate striker in their July meeting at UFC 162. The Japanese talent dished out plenty of leather in that confrontation, but Parke was no doubt the better conditioned athlete and the more technical boxer.
Has Tokudome worked to shore up the weaknesses that Parke exposed? How will he fare against an opponent as unapologetically aggressive as Nam?
I have to be honest with you. I never had much of a fighter crush on Zak Cummings until last year.
It was nothing personal. Cummings appeared to be a pretty technical guy; it just always seemed like his physical limitations would prevent him from ascending to a world-class level. Posting a 15-3 record in your first 18 pro fights is certainly a respectable accomplishment, but there simply was not enough there to make me jump out of my seat.
Then Cummings decided to cut to welterweight in August. It was like Stanley Ipkiss got ahold of that ugly green mask and suddenly started making out with Cameron Diaz all over the place. Cummings’ 170-pound debut resulted in a sharp, no-nonsense finish of Ben Alloway, as the 29-year-old worked hard for his takedowns and then tapped the Aussie with a first-round brabo choke.
After Cummings’ lackluster run at 185 pounds on Season 18 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” the win over Alloway was a big step in the right direction. Can the Missourian keep the ball rolling when he meets the unbeaten Alberto Mina?
Cummings could have his hands full with Mina.
A black belt in both Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo, the 31-year-old took home a gold medal in the masters division at the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation Asian Open last year. His grappling skills have thus far translated well to his MMA career, with six of his 10 victories coming by way of submission. Mina has earned another four wins by way of knockout, and eight of his triumphs have come inside the first round.
Mina’s 60 percent submission rate just edges Cummings’ 56 percent, but there is little doubt that the American has fought the better competition in his 19 pro bouts. Which of these finishers will come out on top?
Jumabieke Tuerxun is another undefeated Asian talent to keep an eye on.
The former Legend Fighting Championship titleholder has been perfect through 14 pro appearances but has not competed since November 2012. Although he was first announced as a UFC signee in past March, Tuerxun was reportedly prevented from making his Octagon debut due to contract issues.
With the black-and-white now apparently cleared up, the Chinese talent will make his big show debut on the strength of three straight victories under the Ranik Ultimate Fighting Federation banner. A sanda practitioner, Tuerxun employs a tight standup attack and uses sharp, effective punches and kicks both offensively and on the counter.
Tuerxun is by no means a finishing machine, but he has shown the ability to put away his opponents when they give him the opportunity. Look no further than his last two outings for proof, as “The Wild Wolf” violently knocked out Longyun Jiang with a counter left hook before putting Yongqiang Zhang to sleep with a shoulder choke at RUFF 6, this after Zhang refused to let go of a futile front headlock.
Can Tuerxun keep his perfect pro record intact or will fellow unbeaten Mark Eddiva extend his unbeaten streak at the expense of the 27-year-old?