Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight fighters Dong Hyun Kim and Dominic Waters will collide this Saturday (Nov. 28, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 79 inside Olympic Gymnastics Arena in Seoul, South Korea.
For the most part, Kim has done very well lately. He has won five of his last six fights, and he's also finished his last three victories, which has long been a criticism of "Stun Gun." Moving forward, Kim is looking to remind the division of his talent.
On the other hand, Waters is in a bizarre position. Thiago Alves' injury changed the whole card around, and Waters went from facing Dong Hyun Kim on the undercard ... to facing a different Dong Hyun Kim in the co-main event. This is a much greater challenge for Waters, but it's also a huge opportunity.
Let's take a look at the keys to victory for both men:
Dong Hyun Kim
Record: 20-3-1 (1)
Key Wins: John Hathaway (TUF: "China" Finale), Erick Silva (UFC Fight Night 29), Josh Burkman (UFC 187)
Key Losses: Demian Maia (UFC 148), Tyron Woodley (UFC Fight Night 48), Carlos Condit (UFC 132)
Keys to Victory: Kim is certainly an interesting fighter. In some fights, he differs to his background of Judo, using his technique and immense physical strength to ragdoll opponents and maintain top position.
In other bouts, Kim throws all that away to trade bombs with his opponent in the hopes of a brutal knockout.
Facing off with a far less experienced fighter, Kim could probably get away with that strategy. As someone obligated to watch his fight, I certainly hope he does, as it will likely end quickly either way.
On the other hand, relying on his grappling would -- as always -- be the smarter game plan. Considering that gap in experience, Kim could likely do more than his usual smothering.
If Kim were instead focused on working through his opponent's guard into dominant positions, a finish is likely. In his most recent fight, Kim wore through Burkman's defenses for the majority of three rounds, resulting in a submission win.
The South Korean fighter wants more high-profile match ups, and a submission win will certainly help with that.
Key Wins: Martin Sano (WSOF 16)
Key Losses: George Sullivan (TUF 21 Finale), Ron Keslar (UPC 10)
Keys to Victory: Waters is a 26-year-old collegiate wrestler currently fighting out of Jackson-Wink MMA Academy. Though he lost his Octagon debut to a tough first opponent, he's really been thrown into the fire here.
On the bright side, Waters has the right build, background and camp to give him the best possible chance. Firstly, he's a very large Welterweight, standing over six feet tall with a similarly lanky reach.
Considering his gameplan should definitely involve staying far away from Kim and striking from range, that will definitely help.
Speaking of game plans, that happens to be his camp's specialty. For this fight, Water's focus should be on circling and avoiding the clinch, a gameplan Holly Holm just employed a few weeks ago to crush Ronda Rousey.
While there are obvious differences between all the fighters involved, it's still a performance Water's should look to replicate. Besides, seeing as this is such a short-notice match up, it's important to paint in broad strokes: long strikes and avoiding the clinch are main ideas for "Sho Nuff."
Bottom Line: While the original match up of Masvidal vs Kim was an intriguing battle of potential contenders, this one is decidedly less interesting.
Kim is a serious lose-lose situation. If he defeats Waters, he's beaten a man that doesn't yet have a UFC win under his belt. Regardless of his current ability or potential talent, it simply doesn't help Kim unless he puts on a serious show while doing it.
Meanwhile, a loss to a fighter yanked up from the undercard would obviously be devastating to Kim's current run.
This is a very risky fight for Waters as well, which is unusual considering his underdog status. With a win, he makes a name for himself and adds a great win to his record. Seriously, the list of men who have beat Kim is quite small, and it's filled exclusively with great fighters.
On the other hand, a loss could earn Waters his pink slip. One would hope UFC would reward his willingness to take a major step up in competition, but it has cut fighters in similar situations before.
At UFC Fight Night 79, Dong Hyun Kim and Dominic Waters will face off in the co-main event. Which fighter will earn the victory?