This Saturday night (July 2, 2011), two of the top-ranked welterweights in the world will duke it out on the UFC 132 main card as "The Natural Born Killer" Carlos Condit takes on "The Stun Gun" Dong Hyun Kim in a bout with serious welterweight title implications.
Carlos Condit is one of the most exciting fighters in the world, having repeatedly been in "Fight of the Year" candidates ever since making his UFC debut in 2009. The Albuquerque fighter has now won three straight fights in the promotion and if you throw in the fact that he was the last WEC welterweight champion, he's risen directly to the top of the division.
Dong Hyun Kim has grappled and thrown his way up the ranks in the UFC. The South Korean fighter is undefeated in six UFC fights and finally jumped up into the upper echelon with back to back victories over Amir Sadollah and Nate Diaz respectively. He'll be looking to score what would be the biggest victory of his career on Saturday night.
Can Condit get it done with a potential title shot on the line? Will Kim smother "The Natural Born Killer" with his ever-improving wrestling and top control? Which welterweight will potentially earn the next title shot against the Georges St. Pierre / Nick Diaz winner?
Let's find out.
Record: 26-5 overall, 3-1 in the UFC
How he got here: Carlos Condit is one of the most exciting fighters on the planet. He first came to fame in the WEC where he fought for and won Mike Pyle's vacant welterweight title in just his second fight with the promotion.
Condit would defend his WEC welterweight title three times before the UFC would merge all fighters above lightweight into their promotion. In his first fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Condit had an absolute barnburner with Martin Kampmann in a fight that was extremely close with both men displaying incredible scrambles and exciting striking. Kampmann would walk away with a split decision victory.
In Condit's next fight, he would again have a Fight of the Year candidate against Jake Ellenberger. "The Natural Born Killer" survived being rocked multiple times to outgrapple and outwork Ellenberger and come away with a razor thin split decision victory.
The Greg Jackson-trained fighter was at it again in his next fight, getting dominated by Rory MacDonald in the first two rounds before turning it on and overwhelming the fading "Waterboy" and scoring an insane TKO victory with just seven seconds remaining in the contest.
Most recently, Condit would showcase his striking, knocking out out the brash former title challenger Dan Hardy in the first round as both men traded big lead hooks. After a fight with Chris Lytle fell through due to an injury, the former WEC champ is ready to rumble on Saturday night.
How he gets it done: Carlos Condit is an incredibly well rounded fighter. He could win this fight with his incredible sweeps, his aggressive submission attempts or even his much-improved striking attack.
What he'll first need to avoid is letting Kim get too close standing. If the "Stun Gun" can put his hands on Condit standing, he could toss him on his head or take him down. Condit's biggest weakness thus far has been his defensive wrestling so when standing, he'll need to keep his distance and not overcommit to his strikes.
If the fight goes to the ground, Condit will need to work tirelessly to either stand back up, or sweep/reverse his opponent. Condit is very active on the canvas and if he can get on top, he's very dangerous.
Look for "The Natural Born Killer" to avoid the clinch at all costs while looking to hurt Kim with his striking. He may even try to surprise the South Korean with some takedowns of his own.
Dong Hyun Kim
Record: 14-0-1 (1 No Contest) overall, 5-0 (1 No Contest) in the UFC
Key Losses: none
How he got here: Dong Hyun Kim actually retired from his promotion in South Korea after winning his second professional fight. He would reemerge nearly two years later in Japan fighting for the Deep promotion where he would go 7-0-1 over the course of one and a half years.
After fighting to a draw in his last fight in Japan, Kim was signed by the UFC to fight Jason Tan at UFC 84 where he would win his UFC debut with big elbows on the ground.
After fighting to a close split decision victory over Matt Brown, Kim would lose a decision to Karo Parisyan but would have the result overturned when the Armenian tested positive for banned painkillers.
Since the Parisyan fight, Kim has fought three times and scored three consecutive unanimous decision victories. He's primarily used his judo and improved wrestling to stifle fighters and take them out of their games, most notably in his last two bouts against Amir Sadollah and Nate Diaz.
He'll be looking for what would be the biggest win of his career against Condit on Saturday night, something that could launch him up into the top contenders at welterweight now that Rick Story has faltered.
How he gets it done: Kim is a decent striker, but he does most of his damage on the ground. He finished his only UFC fight with elbow strikes on the ground and he's used his smothering top control to frustrate opponent after opponent.
Kim is a master of using his opponent's momentum against them and even Nate Diaz's judo techniques were fruitless at UFC 125.
What the South Korean will want to do is get inside on Condit and put his hands on him. If he can work a throw, or position himself for a takedown, he'll give himself a much better opportunity to keep the Albuquerque native on his back and grind out a decision. He'll also have to keep his elbows tight inside because Condit is the type of fighter who will throw up submission attempt after submission attempt until he can catch something.
Fight "X-Factor:" The biggest "X-Factor" in this fight is where the bout takes place. If the fight stays standing, Condit should have a noticeable advantage with his ever-improving technique and power in his punches.
If the bout were to go to the ground, it all depends about who's on top and who's more aggressive. Carlos Condit is an animal both off his back and on top while Dong Hyun Kim is capable of being very heavy with his top control.
Bottom Line: I think it's physically impossible for Carlos Condit to have a boring fight. Even if Kim tries to neutralize all of his weapons, he'll still do whatever it takes to make this bout one of the best on the card and try to earn that big fight night bonus. This fight will be interesting despite Kim's best efforts.
Who will come out on top at UFC 132? Let us know in the comments section below!