Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight scrappers Nick Hein and Tae Hyun Bang will throw down this Saturday (Sept. 3, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 93 inside Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany. In a match up of Judoka and boxer, what adjustments must be made for either man to claim victory? Let's break it down.
Hein has started off his UFC career in solid fashion, as the German athlete has won three of four bouts. While he hasn’t been dominating the cream of the crop, Hein has proven himself a worthy member of the roster. Meanwhile, Bang made a more immediate first impression as an offense-first boxer. A 12-year veteran, Bang is unlikely to rise up the ranks, but he’s proven to be a tough out and entertaining fighter nonetheless.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for both athletes:
Record: 13-2 (1)
Key Wins: Drew Dober (UFC Fight Night 41), Yusuku Kasuya (UFC Fight Night 75)
Key Losses: James Vick (UFC Fight Night 57)
Keys to Victory: Hein is a well-rounded and physically strong fighter who's becoming something of a staple on international cards. The German is especially skilled on the ground, as he holds black belts in both Judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
In this match, takedowns will be key.
Hein is the shorter man with the shorter reach opposite a more skilled striker. That's rarely a recipe for success on the feet, so it's imperative that Hein keep the pressure on his opponent. Bang is more of a slugger than refined technician, so it shouldn't be all that difficult for Hein to close the distance. Once in his clinch, Hein's strength and grappling expertise should be enough to control the bout.
That said, Hein does need to be careful. He's slowed down in the third round in the past, whereas Bang keeps his power throughout the fight.
Tae Hyun Bang
Key Wins: Leo Kuntz (UFC Fight Night 79), Kajan Johnson (UFC 174)
Key Losses: Jon Tuck (UFC Fight Night 66), Mairbek Taisumov (UFC Fight Night 34)
Keys to Victory: Bang is largely a sprawl-and-brawl fighter, though he will mix the occasional takedown into his attack. On the whole, Bang is fairly consistent, as he sticks to his strengths and relies on solid conditioning to earn his victories.
Bang has a significant edge in reach and height, and he needs to make the most of those attributes. His opponent is not the quickest or slickest striker, so Bang should be able to maintain his range if he fights smart. As a boxer, the jab should be a major weapon for Bang. If he's able to touch up Hein from the outside and convince him to avoid pursuit of the clinch, it will make the fight markedly easier for him.
Furthermore, Bang needs to make sure to keep his back off the fence. His takedown defense and scrambling abilities are likely good enough to avoid the takedown, but he's still at risk of being controlled along the fence to a decision loss.
Bottom Line: This is a close match up of Lightweights looking to stand out in a crowded division.
At the age of 32 years old, Hein is very likely in his athletic prime. As a fighter who relies quite a bit on his physical strength, that means it’s very important for him to start building momentum soon.
He needs to beat Bang clearly.
On the other hand, a loss pretty firmly sets Hein in the middle of the division. He isn’t likely to get cut, but nor is he going to make a run for the rankings any time soon. Similarly, Bang is far too deep into his career to suddenly develop the skills of an elite Lightweight. He’s tough and consistent, but he’s not likely to do anything more than put on entertaining fights against fellow veterans or up-and-comers in need of a test.
In short, Bang is fighting to keep his current position.
At UFC Fight Night 93, Nick Hein and Tae Hyun Bang will scrap. Which fighter will have his hand raised?