Dong Hyun Kim has become quite the finisher. | Mitch Viquez/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
The conservative Dong Hyun Kim the MMA world once knew seems to be long gone.
Kim knocked out John Hathaway with an exquisite spinning back elbow in the third round of their UFC Fight Night 37 main event on Saturday at the Cotai Arena in Macau, China. Hathaway (17-2, 7-2 UFC) met his end 62 seconds into round three, as he was finished for the first time as a professional.
The “Stun Gun” was the aggressor from the start. He wobbled Hathaway with a right hand inside the first 30 seconds and later floored him with a left before swarming with standing-to-ground punches. After controlling round two with a takedown and some ground-and-pound, Kim found the finish he was seeking. The 32-year-old South Korean judoka countered a standing elbow from Hathaway with a perfectly timed spinning attack that rendered the London Shootfighters export unconscious and brought the match to a decisive close.
Kim (19-2-1, 10-2 UFC) has rattled off four wins in a row, stopping his last two opponents in spectacular fashion.
“I cannot tell you how happy I am,” he said. “I think I draw from all the energy of the Korean and Asian fans. There is no stopping. I’m going to continue going forward. I don’t care who my next opponent will be. I want to get a shot at the title.”
Zhang Upsets Sai, Becomes First ‘TUF: China’ Winner
Repeated takedowns and a near-submission in the first round spurred Lipeng Zhang to a split decision over Wang Sai in “The Ultimate Fighter: China” Season 1 welterweight final. Two of the three cageside judges struck 29-28 verdicts for Zhang; a third scored it 30-27 for Sai, who entered the cage as a 3-to-1 favorite.
Zhang (7-7-1, 1-0 UFC) did his best work inside the first five minutes, as he delivered a textbook double-leg takedown, transitioned to his counterpart’s back and nearly finished him with a rear-naked choke. In the second round, the 23-year-old sanda practitioner scored with three takedowns, two of them from the rear waist lock position.
Spawned by an American Kickboxing Academy affiliate in Thailand, Sai (6-5-1, 0-1 UFC) bounced back with a strong third round. There, he sprawled out of attempted takedowns, settled into top position on more than one occasion and wheeled around to Zhang’s back with a body triangle.
Mitrione Flurry KOs Jordan
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 10 graduate Matt Mitrione knocked out Shawn Jordan with a violent flurry of accurate power punches in the first round of their featured heavyweight encounter. Jordan (15-6, 3-3 UFC) succumbed to the blows 4:59 into round one.
Mitrione (7-3, 7-3 UFC) worked his jab throughout the matchup and waited for an opening to present itself. The 35-year-old clipped Jordan with a left hook behind the ear in the clinch, stalked the staggered Louisianan across the cage and piled on the punches for the finish. Left and rights flew, with a left hook-right hook combination bringing it to a close.
“I didn’t want to force the knockout,” Mitrione said. “I just wanted to let it go. I didn’t listen to my coaches as much as I should have, but I had such a good camp.”
Hioki Halts Three-Fight Skid
Takedowns and an active submission game carried former Shooto and Sengoku champion Hatsu Hioki to a unanimous decision over Ivan Menjivar in a featherweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 29-28 for Hioki (27-7-2, 3-3 UFC), who halted his three-fight losing streak.
Hioki struck for takedowns in all three rounds and threatened the Tristar Gym export with various submissions, from a standing rear-naked choke in the first round to an armbar in the second. Menjivar (25-12, 4-5 UFC) rebounded in round three, where he dropped Hioki with an overhand right and opened a cut on his hairline with a volley of follow-up blows. However, his rally -- which included a last-second kneebar attempt -- fell short.
Menjivar has suffered three straight defeats for the first time in his 13-year career.
Nam Blitzes Tokudome Early, Clings to Victory Late
Road Fighting Championship titleholder Yui Chul Nam scored four first-round knockdowns en route to a split decision over Pancrase alum Kazuki Tokudome in a preliminary lightweight duel. Two of the three cageside judges scored it for Nam (18-4-1, 1-0 UFC): 29-27 and 29-28. A third saw it 29-28 for Tokudome (12-5-1, 1-2 UFC).
Nam blitzed Tokudome with heavy power punches in the first round, knocking down his counterpart three times inside the first 90 seconds. Somehow, Tokudome weathered the assault. In the second round, with Nam noticeably fatigued, the 26-year-old Japanese veteran struck for a takedown and kept Nam pinned to the canvas with ground-and-pound.
Perhaps sensing victory slipping from his grasp, Nam dropped Tokudome to a knee with a right hand and secured a takedown of his own in round three. The South Korean has won five consecutive fights.
Lee Overwhelms Phan, Coasts to Decision
Vaughan Lee overwhelmed “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 12 semifinalist Nam Phan with educated hands and feet, as he recorded a one-sided unanimous decision in an undercard tilt at 135 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it for Lee (14-9-1, 3-3 UFC): 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26.
Phan (18-13, 2-6 UFC) was on his heels from the word go. Lee paired the conventional with the unconventional, mixing repeated straight lefts with punches to the thigh and spinning back kicks to the body. He also worked in a spinning back fist and flying knee. In the third round, the 31-year-old Englishman shrugged off a takedown, buckled Phan with a crisp right hook and put the finishing touches on a clear-cut victory.
Phan, 30, has lost eight of his past 11 bouts.
Wang Damages Cheng, Forces Stoppage
Chinese prospect Anying Wang stopped Albert Cheng on a technical knockout in between rounds one and two in a preliminary welterweight affair. His right eye swollen shut, Cheng (2-3, 0-1 UFC) was deemed unfit to continue after the first round.
Wang (2-0, 1-0) backed up the Canadian with heavy fire throughout their brief encounter and countered his advances with clean punches. The 22-year-old tore into Cheng with a series of head kicks late in the first round, resulting in grotesque fight-ending damage to the Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt’s eye.
Eddiva Downs Tuerxun, Stays Unbeaten
Lakay MMA representative Mark Eddiva kept his perfect professional record intact with a unanimous decision over Jumabieke Tuerxun in an undercard scrap at 145 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Eddiva (6-0, 1-0 UFC), who made his first appearance since January 2011.
Eddiva proved himself the superior fighter in both the grappling and standup exchanges. The 28-year-old Filipino featherweight did the majority of his work in the clinch, as he stifled the smaller Tuerxun in close-quarters with knees and elbows to the head. Tuerxun (14-1, 0-1 UFC) threatened with an armbar and a triangle choke in the third round, but his efforts went for naught.