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MMA: Kim stuns ‘Hitman’ with spinning elbow at UFC Fight Night Macao

Kim Dong-hyun celebrates after knocking out John Hathaway with a brutal back elbow after one minute of the third round.

Kim Dong-hyun celebrates after knocking out John Hathaway with a brutal back elbow after one minute of the third round. Photo: www.Sport-Asia.com.

March 1, 2014: Kim Dong-hyun provided a sensational end to UFC Fight Night Macao when the Korean ‘Stun Gun’ knocked out John Hathaway with a devastating spinning back elbow after a minute of the third round of their welterweight clash. Kim and heavyweight Matt Mitrione (http://sport-asia.com/mma-korean-bulldozer-raises-the-roof-in-macau-mitrione-a-big-hit/) earned Performance of the Night bonuses of US$50,000 each.

 

In the night’s penultimate bout, Zhang Lipeng won The Ultimate Fighter China television series finale with a split-decision victory over Wang Sai, although the UFC announced that both fighters – not just the winner – would earn contracts with the organisation.

 

In the headline fight, the 6,000-strong crowd at The Venetian’s Cotai Arena was initially stunned by the sickening noise of the brutal elbow that caught Hathaway clean in the face. Soon after, through, Kim literally jumped for joy to celebrate his second straight knockout victory, even leaping over the Octagon fence to celebrate with friends who had travelled from the USA.

 

Kim lands a right-hander on Hathaway. Photos: Zuffa LLC / Getty Images.

Kim lands a right-hander. Photos: Zuffa LLC / Getty Images.

Currently No. 11 in the UFC welterweight rankings, Kim lived up to his billing as the fight favourite and further displayed the new attacking style that’s fast changing his image from a judo-trained grappler.

 

“I cannot tell you how happy I am. I fed off the energy of the crowd. It was a beautiful knockout and I’m overjoyed with this win,” said an ecstatic Kim, who was boosted by chants of ‘Kim Dong-hyun’ during the fight.

 

“It’s so great to have my friends here in Macau to watch me fight. This win is for Korea. I kept applying pressure and didn’t give him any chance. I won by KO in my last fight and I wanted to do it again, so I just went for it.”

 

Kim, Korea’s MMA pioneer, paid tribute to the 26-year-old Hathaway, who had racked up a record of 17 MMA wins and just one loss, but was fighting in the Octagon for the first time since September 2012 due to health issues.

 

“He surprised me with his wrestling skill,” Kim said. “He’s a pretty good fighter, but he’s had a lot of time off, so maybe that’s a reason why he wasn’t as sharp.”

 

The Korean recorded his fourth straight UFC win and is expected to move into the top 10 and get the title shot be believes he wasn’t given due to his non crowd-friendly style.

 

Hathaway and Kim were engaged in a brutal stand-up battle, full of powerful punches, elbows and knees.

Hathaway and Kim were engaged in a brutal stand-up battle, full of powerful punches, elbows and knees.

“I just want to get a shot at the title. I don’t care who it is. I’m going to go forward, forward, forward,” said Kim, who could have been describing his new fighting philosophy.

 

The clash with Hathaway more than lived up to the hype, with 11 minutes of fierce action, as both fighters displayed their strengths and thrilled the crowd with attacking moves.

 

The broad-shouldered Kim walked after Hathaway for most of the fight, swinging hard and fast, as he continues his move into a crowd-pleasing slugger, far removed from the grappling specialist stemmed in years of judo.

 

While Kim was the more attacking, Hathaway looked dangerous in the clinch, using elbows and knees to good effect as the two strong athletes – both six-feet one-inch tall and weighing in at 171 pounds – both went looking for a knockout.

 

Hathaway had actually just missed with an attacking right-hand elbow when he got caught, as Kim span around and threw a left-handed elbow that caught the Englishman flush in the head and knocked him cold.

 

Zhang Lipeng (right) celebrates his split-decision win over a disbelieving Wang Sai (left).

Zhang Lipeng (right) celebrates his split-decision win over a disbelieving Wang Sai (left).

In the previous fight, boos echoed around Cotai Arena after Zhang was awarded a split-decision win over Wang in the welterweight finale of The Ultimate Fighter China.

 

The Ultimate Fighter China bout was hyped as the co-man event, but was a poor fight that did neither fighter any credit, with the majority of viewers believing Wang edged an unimpressive contest. Wang also agreed.

 

“I felt I won today, but I guess the judges didn’t agree,” Wang said. “In the first round, after a few punches, my left thumb started hurting again. It’s an old injury and I decided to take it to the ground. I have been training hard in Thailand in preparation for this fight, but it’s a pity we didn’t achieve the end goal.”

 

Zhang was overjoyed to win a fight that crowned him as the welterweight winner of a television series that reached an estimated 10 million viewers each week.

 

“I’m overjoyed to become China’s first The Ultimate Fighter,” Zhang said. “My original game plan was to engage him in a stand-up match, but it changed in the first round when we took it to the ground. I credit my win today to my defensive moves. I worked really hard on it in practice and it worked out.”

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