If you woke up at 6:20am EST to watch UFC Fight Night 37 on UFC Fight Pass, you were rewarded with a bunch of fights between fighters whose name maybe .05% of you would have recognized. But if you kept your attention on the whole event, and managed to take in the violent majesty of the marquee bout – which pitted top South Korean fighter Dong Hyun Kim against Brit almost-was John Hathaway – they you got to witness… glory!
Kim has had an improbably career in the Octagon, defeating the likes of TJ Grant and Nate Diaz with his solid judo, and beating the likes of Erick Silva with the kind of striking that would usually be labeled as “lucky” but would always be called “wild”. The “Stun Gun” has fallen to top notch athletes like Carlos Condit and Demian Maia, in bouts that weren’t even competitive, so it’s been assumed that we’ve seen how far the South Korean can go in the welterweight division. And yet… somehow he still thrills us. In his bout against Hathaway, who himself was returning after a lengthy layoff, Kim swung for the fences, and though he missed more often than he landed, he was able to put the Brit on jelly legs in the first.
For his part, Hathaway hung in there, and returned fire with knees to the body and some punches of his own. But nearly every clinch and takedown attempt was met with the brick wall of Kim’s judo, and when it came to pace and aggression, the South Korean was relentless.
Was it sloppy at times? Yes, but at the end it was as graceful as any ballet. At about a minute into Round 3, Hathaway stepped in with an elbow. Kim dodged it, spun, and threw an elbow of his own, which hit Hathaway square in the face. He was out cold. The Stun Gun had done it again.
Meathead Does Good
Far from one of the best heavyweights in the division, but sometimes entertaining. That’s how you’d describe Matt Mitrione, who’s had a roller coaster ride of a career in the Octagon since graduating from TUF 10. In September, Brendan Schaub made short work of him, putting him to sleep with a D’Arce choke, so at UFC Fight Night 37 it was up to “Meathead” to get himself back on track. Thankfully, Shawn Jordan obliged.
In what ended up being only a one-round affair, the two slugged it out – furiously at first, but gradually in more measured fashion. Then ending sequence came in the waning seconds of the frame, with Mitrione finding openings and, when he saw Jordan was rocked, pouring it on. Jordan sank to the canvas at 4:59 of the first round, giving Mitrione the much-needed KO win.
And the Winner of TUF China is…
I’m still not completely convinced that there really was a season of The Ultimate Fighter in China. I mean, just as the moon landing was faked, so too could this whole TUF China thing. Anyway, supposedly the two finalists of the season were Sai Wang and Zhang Lipeng, so we got to see them scrap at UFC Fight Night 37 for the honor of a six-figure UFC contract and a oddly phallic trophy.
All three rounds showcased the kind of level of skill and ability we’ve come to expect from TUF contestants, which is to say, they were B-level fighters at best. But Wang was getting the better of the exchanges on the feet, and though he was in danger of getting choked at one point, he seemed to get the better of things on the ground as well. Unfortunately, when it went to the judges’ scorecards the split decision inexplicably went to Lipeng – a clear indication that judging all over the world is crazy.
Apparently MMA judging sucks worldwide. #TUFChinaFinale
— Dana White (@danawhite) March 1, 2014
If you didn’t have anything to do on a Saturday morning, UFC Fight Night 37 might have been a good alternative to sitting on your couch eating Lucky Charms and watching cartoons. And if you tuned in, and made it all the way to the main event, then you were given a real treat. The Stun Gun may not be the best at fighting, but he’s getting to be one of the best at making us saw “Wow!”
Sometimes that’s enough.