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MMA: ‘Korean Bulldozer’ raises the roof in Macau; Mitrione a big hit

Nam Yui-chul (right) was a crowd favourite at the Cotai Arena, where the ‘Korean Bulldozer’ edged a thrilling three-rounder against Japan’s Kazuki Tokudome (left) in the fourth of eight bouts at UFC Fight Night Macao. Photos:  Zuffa LLC / Getty Images.

Nam Yui-chul (right) was a crowd favourite at the Cotai Arena, where the ‘Korean Bulldozer’ edged a thrilling three-rounder against Kazuki Tokudome (left) in the fourth of eight bouts at UFC Fight Night Macao. Photos: Zuffa LLC / Getty Images.

March 1, 2014: All-action Nam Yui-chul raised the roof at at The Venetian’s Cotai Arena as ‘The Korean Bulldozer’ won a split decision over Kazuki Tokudome of Japan after a thrilling, brutal scrap at UFC Fight Night Macao that was later named Fight of the Night.

 

Nam, 32, and Tokudome, 26, fought in the fourth of eight bouts that culminated in the headline clash between welterweights Kim Dong-hyun and John Hathaway (http://sport-asia.com/mma-kim-stuns-hathaway-with-spinning-elbow-at-ufc-fight-night-macao/).

 

Kazuki Tokudome lands a left on Nam in the Fight of the Night, earning both fighters an extra US$50,000 each.

Kazuki Tokudome lands a left on Nam in the Fight of the Night, earning both fighters an extra US$50,000 each.

Nam, making his UFC debut, came out of the blocks firing with an array of punches and kicks, and looked close to knocking out Tokudome three times in a blistering first round that energised the crowd.

 

However, the Korean spent much of the second round pinned to the floor or on all fours, withstanding Tokudome’s repeated but tired punches from behind. Both fighters often appeared too tired to change position, but still earned an ovation after the round.

 

Round three started at a blistering pace, with Tokudome landing a left-foot kick to the head that sent Nam staggering before the Korean then almost floored the Japanese with a straight punch. Nam won 29-27 and 29-28 on two cards, with Tokudome winning the third decision 28-27.

 

“It was a really tough fight and I thought I had him in the first round,” Nam said. “It’s great to be finally fighting in the UFC and I hope to fight again soon”

 

Tokudome was left wishing the fight could have carried on. “What a pity this wasn’t a five-round fight. If it was, I think I could have won. I tried my best. In the first round, he nearly knocked me out, but I managed to recover and come back at him. In the third round, if I was able to take him down earlier, I might have still won it. It was close.”

 

In the next fight, Japan’s Hatsu Hioki won a unanimous decision over Ivan Menjivar of Salvador, winning 29-28 on all three cards, although the crowd didn’t unanimously share the decision.

 

Mitrione takes out Jordan with Knockout of the Night

Matt Mitrione (right) gets to grips with Shawn Jordan.

Matt Mitrione (right) wrestles with Shawn Jordan ahead of his Knockout of the Night.

Former NFL star Matt Mitrione impressed in a first-round knockout of Shawn Jordan in the first UFC heavyweight battle to be held in Asia outside of Japan. The big American even earned an extra US$50,000 for winning the Knockout of the Night.

 

The six-foot three-inch Mitrione, who played for the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings, was the stronger fighter throughout, but raised his intensity late on as he landed a series of accurate punches to send his six-foot compatriot to his knees, with the referee waving an end to the fight.

 

Mitrione’s confidence in the result was for all to see, as the 35-year-old read his winning speech in the Octagon off a cue card, before speaking to the media.

 

“It’s awesome to fight in Asia. I heard Asian crowds can be quiet, but this crowd wasn’t at all. They really piped up,” Mitrione said. “It has been really cool. The crowd here in Macau is younger and very receptive and eager to learn more about the UFC.”

 

Jordan admitted he was beaten by the better fighter on the night. “It turned out to be a slug fest. I anticipated that and was ready for that. I wasn’t surprised by his power – we all know big guys hit hard.”

 

Eddiva shines early on

Filipino featherweight Mark Eddiva, 28, extended his own unbeaten record to six straight wins with a unanimous decision win over China’s Jumabieke Tuerxun, who lost his own unbeaten record in his 18th MMA fight.

 

Mark Eddiva (left) of the Philippines impressed in his defeat of UFC newcomer Jumabieke Tuerxun of China.

Mark Eddiva (left) of the Philippines impressed in his defeat of UFC newcomer Jumabieke Tuerxun of China.

Eddiva, a wushu expert who last fought in the MMA in 2011, won 30-27 on all three cards, dominating the Xinjiang native in the night’s opening fight.

 

“I felt I could I have knocked him out in the first round, but he was strong and a tough opponent,” Eddiva said. “In the second round, I felt I had total control, I felt my knees were hurting him and doing the job. In the final round, I felt I was one kick away from knocking him out as both of us were tiring.”

 

‘Smiley’ Wang Anying quickly avenged his compatriot when he beat Albert Cheng on a technical knockout after the Canadian failed to come out for the second round on the doctor’s advice.

 

The round was generally a dull, cagey affair. Following another prolonged non-contact period, boos from the crowd escalated until Wang took up the challenge, letting fly with a series of punches and kicks that closed up Cheng’s right eye.

 

English bantamweight Vaughan Lee, 31, comfortably defeated Vietnamese-American Nam Phan, 30 in the night’s third fight.

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