Violence: It's the most important meal of the day!
Combat sports fans throughout the United States will need to get up bright and early this Saturday morning (Nov. 28, 2015) as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heads to Olympic Gymnastics Arena in Seoul, South Korea, for UFC Fight Night 79, which will stream live online via Fight Pass.
In the main event, Benson Henderson faces off against Jorge Masvidal in a clash of former Lightweight standouts, while hometown favorite Dong Hyun Kim faces late replacement Dominic Waters in the co-featured fight of the night.
The four-fight main card will be joined by six undercard "Prelims" matches, the first three of which we break down here.
Let's do it:
115 lbs.: Seo Hee Ham vs. Cortney Casey
Seo Hee Ham (15-6) spent most of her career at 105 pounds, but stepped up in weight to join UFC in Dec. 2014. Despite a spirited effort, "Hamderlei Silva" came up short against Joanne Calderwood, snapping a six-fight win streak.
She was originally slated to face Bec Rawlings in May before pulling out because of injury.
Like Ham, Cortney Casey (4-2) squared off against Joanne Calderwood in her promotional debut, facing the Scottish striker in her native Glasgow. Also like Ham, "Cast Iron" showed her grit in a losing performance, her first loss since 2013.
She stands five inches taller than her opponent at 5’7."
This could be a damn fun scrap. Both of these girls have heart for days and a willingness to slug it out. Ham is the more experienced brawler, which means Casey’s going to have to repeat Calderwood’s efforts in keeping her at range.
Don’t think she can.
What Ham lacks in power she makes up for in tenacity, durability and volume. Casey’s not going to put her away with strikes. And when the Korean bruiser inevitably closes the distance, she’s not going to win the exchanges. "Hamderlei" slugs her way to her first UFC win.
Prediction: Ham via unanimous decision
125 lbs.: Yao Zhikui vs. Freddy Serrano
Yao Zhikui (2-2) -- fighting under Tiequan Zhang on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "China" -- reached the semifinals before losing a unanimous decision to Yang Jianping. In UFC proper, he’s been on the opposite side of questionable decisions, losing one against Royston Wee and winning one over Nolan Ticman.
He is five inches taller than Freddy Serrano (2-0) at 5’7."
Serrano’s Olympic pedigree made him one of Team Werdum’s favorites on TUF, but "Bam Bam" came up short in the quarterfinals against eventual winner Alejandro Perez. Though he didn’t compete on UFC 180, he eventually made his debut in Brazil, blasting out teammate Bentley Syler with a terrific uppercut.
He reached the Round of 16 in the 2008 Olympics for freestyle wrestling and took bronze in the previous year’s Pan-Am Games.
Serrano’s age and lack of size will almost certainly relegate him to the division’s mid-tier at best, but wrestling and power can go a long way. Though his inability to mix them up well made him struggle to take down Perez and Syler, he ought to be able to handle Zhikui’s counter-wrestling.
The height discrepancy could certainly allow Zhikui to run circles around "Bam Bam" and force him to shoot from too far out. Even if he does do so, however, Serrano’s aggression should get to him at some point. The Colombian lands something big in the second round.
Prediction: Serrano via second-round technical knockout
135 lbs.: Ning Guangyou vs. Marco Beltran
As Tiequan Zhang’s first Featherweight pick on TUF: "China," Ning Guangyou (5-2-1) scored two knockouts on the show before taking a decision over Yang Jianping to win the tournament. In his second UFC bout, "Smasher" faced Singapore’s Royston Wee, whom he knocked out in the second round for his third straight professional win.
He has knocked out three opponents overall.
On TUF: "Latin America," Marco Beltran (6-3) edged Argentina’s Guido Cannetti in the elimination round before dropping a decision to teammate Jose Alberto Quinonez. Despite the loss, he made his promotional debut at UFC 180, where he upset Ecuador’s Marlon Vera by decision.
He stands three inches taller than the 5’5" Ning.
I see this fight in almost exactly the same way I do the one above -- Guangyou, like Serrano, is the smaller and older man, but possesses bombs in his fists and a quality wrestling base (although his is Greco-Roman rather than freestyle). He does, however, also have the advantage of training out of a very good camp in Tiger Muay Thai.
Beltran, well-rounded though he is, doesn’t have an answer for either of Ning’s primary threats.
Ning needs to develop his right hand before he can start knocking out quality bantamweights, but Beltrán does not meet that criteria. "Smasher" detonates a left hand on his foe’s chin in the first round.
Prediction: Ning via first-round knockout
Three more UFC Fight Night 79 "Prelims" fights to preview and predict tomorrow, capped off by one of Korea's best prospects in Doo Ho Choi.
See you there, Maniacs!
Remember that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 79 fight card, starting with the "Prelims" matches online at 5:00 a.m. ET and then the Fight Pass main card at 8 a.m. ET.