Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight grappling extraordinaires “Stun Gun” Dong Hyun Kim and Colby Covington will square off this Saturday (June 17, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 111 inside Singapoore Indoor Arena in Kallang, Singapoore.
Currently ranked at No. 7 in the world, Kim has struggled to gain real momentum toward the elite of the division. He’s on a three-fight win streak, but Kim is nevertheless facing an unranked foe on a fairly low-profile international Fight Pass-only card. While this may be a battle of unranked and Top 10, thinking that Covington doesn’t have much of a chance would be a bad assumption. The American Top Team-trained athlete has won six of seven bouts inside the Octagon, and this could be just the fight required for him to announce himself as a contender.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Dong Hyun Kim
Record: 22-3-1 (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 basically has two real strategies. On one hand, he can use his size and Judo expertise to ragdoll his opponents to the mat and dominate from there. Alternatively, Kim will occasionally decide that takedowns are stupid and instead chase after his opponent with looping and spinning shots.
Oddly enough, the latter might make more sense here.
Covington is a damn good wrestler, which is something Kim hasn’t had to deal with very often. The only other D1 All-American that Kim faced was Tyron Woodley, who ended Kim’s night almost immediately. In short, trying to trade takedowns with the younger grappling specialist may not play out in his favor.
Instead, Kim must take advantage of his opponent’s inexperience on the feet. If he can rush Covington with heavy shots, there’s a fair chance that Covington will panic and shot bad shots. In that case, Kim can reverse or stuff the shot and keep firing.
Key Wins: Bryan Barberena (UFC on FOX 22), Mike Pyle (UFC 187)
Key Losses: Warlley Alves (UFC 194)
Keys to Victory: Covington is an excellent wrestler with some slick Brazilian jiu-jitsu and a crushing top game. Also worth mentioning is Covington’s quickly developing stand up game, which takes full advantage of his Southpaw stance to deliver hard left kicks, crosses and right hooks.
Covington has literally been begging for a top opponent, and this is really the perfect fight for him. As mentioned, he’s facing a fellow grappler, which is a favorable style match up for the All-American.
In this bout, whoever is moving forward is at an advantage. Both men are capable scrappers with great takedowns; no one here is an exceptional counter puncher. In short, that means forward momentum equates to harder punches and better entries on takedowns, as well as some bonus points with the judges.
Perhaps Covington’s biggest edge in this match up is youth, as he’s six years younger and has shown better conditioning in the past. In the likely event that this bout is a grappling match that goes past the midway point in the bout, those advantages could be the deciding factor.
Bottom Line: A quality Top 10 vs. prospect match up that may be ugly as sin, a fantastic scrambling battle, or a sloppy brawl. This is a must-win bout for the 35-year-old Kim, who cannot afford a major setback opposite an unranked foe. He struggles to build momentum already, so a setback like that would take literal years to build from.
Unfortunately, a win doesn’t push him forward all that much, but hopefully he would receive his due Top 5 match up next. On the other hand, this is a huge battle for Covington, a chance to jump into the rankings. Covington has looked like the real deal in recent wins, so adding a top name like Kim to his streak would go a long way in pushing him as a top contender. While a loss would be a missed opportunity, it also wouldn’t really drop him down the division at all.
At UFC Fight Night 111, Dong Hyun Kim and Colby Covington will battle in a pivotal Welterweight contest. Which man will have his hand raised?