For the first time ever, South Korea is hosting a UFC event. Seoul will play host to a UFC Fight Pass event which airs in the wee hours of the morning in North America, but is otherwise a primetime display of fighting in South Korea at the Olympic Gymnastics Arena.
The main event features former lightweight champion Ben Henderson against Jorge Masvidal in a welterweight contest, while South Korea’s own Dong Hyun Kim takes on late-notice replacement Dominic Waters in the co-main. Rounding out the main card is the return of Yoshihiro Akiyama against Alberto Mina, plus Korean featherweight prospect Doo Ho Choi against fellow KO artist Sam Sicilia.
We’re going to do things a little differently as far as play-by-play and results coverage today due to the time zone difference. BE’s Anton Tabuena will update the preliminary card results sans play-by-play, before I (Mookie Alexander) guide you through the play-by-play of the main card. Anton will live-tweet the event on our @BloodyElbow Twitter account, so be sure to give us a follow.
Main Card (8 AM ET)
Ben Henderson vs. Jorge Masvidal
Round 1: Early slapping leg kick by Henderson. Good 1-2 by Henderson and then a body kick. Quick right hook, too. Henderson’s striking is crisp to start but Masvidal gets in a quality counterpunch. Punishing body kick by Masvidal. Henderson slips in a right hook. Bendo blocks a Masvidal high kick. Masvidal tries a push kick and ends up on his ass after getting caught with a right hand. He’s back up and they clinch. Masvidal lands a left to the body as they separate. Great kicks by Masvidal , especially to the body. Leg kick by Henderson to the rear side of Masvidal’s lead leg. Flying knee attempt by Masvidal but Henderson tries to turn that into a takedown but Masvidal defends. Great round. 10-9 Henderson
Round 2: Henderson throws a 1-2 but it doesn’t land cleanly. Another solid body kick by Masvidal. Henderson throws one but slips and now is fending off Masvidal trying a possible d’arce choke. Henderson attempts a single but can’t get it and he’s back to his feet. They start swinging for the fences before Henderson backs away. Fast hands by Masvidal in that exchange. Great switch-up on the leg kick by Henderson. Masvidal is getting caught with straight punches and a hard jab. Jorge defends the single leg takedown and is trying for a guillotine but this is Ben Henderson so that’s not a good idea. He actually dropped for a guillotine and now Henderson scrambles and has a front head lock and Dean warns Masvidal not to play the “downed opponent” game. Knees to the thigh to end the round by Bendo. 10-9 Henderson and 20-18 Henderson
Round 3: Henderson woos the crowd with a front kick. Masvidal with another body kick. Bendo gets his body kick in although that may have been more of a knee. Masvidal connects on the jab. Punch by Henderson and then a takedown attempt against the fence. Huge elbow by Henderson but Masvidal is defending the takedown well. Masvidal takes Henderson down briefly but Henderson counters and is back in on a single. Masvidal’s guillotine attempt is blocked off. Masvidal with a knee to the body and then just narrowly misses with the elbow. And Masvidal needs time to recover from a groin strike. Masvidal pushing the action in the final minute but not landing anything too significant. Henderson can’t land the quick combo flush. Masvidal with a left hand and they both land good shots on each other and a huge body kick by Masvidal is followed with a groin kick. 10-9 Henderson and 30-27 Henderson.
Round 4: Henderson starts out the round in an orthodox stance. Left hand by Henderson and then a right. Big shots from both men again and then Henderson shoots in for a takedown and can’t get it. Masvidal’s takedown defense is superb. Masvidal is trying to control Henderson in the clinch, Bendo is going for small kicks to the calf. Short right elbow by Masvidal followed by a knee to the body from Henderson. Two good punches for Masvidal and then they clinch again. Henderson tries to get the takedown and then loses position and Masvidal escapes and fires away elbows on Henderson. Great entry by Henderson to finally get at takedown but Masvidal pops back up. Masvidal is looking for one of his own. Henderson has control of Masvidal’s right arm but now he’s lost it and is on his back. Henderson might be aiming for the rubber guard but Masvidal transitions to a front headlock and a body shot on the break. He misses on the spinning kick attempt. Flying knee by Henderson ends the round as Masvidal no-sells the impact of the strike. Tight round but I think Masvidal edged it in the first half of the round. 10-9 Masvidal and 39-37 Henderson.
Round 5: Henderson is jabbing Masvidal’s knee. Bendo with a flying knee which Masvidal avoids but he is forced to defend two takedowns immediately after. Another high-elbow guillotine attempt by Masvidal and Henderson might be in trouble. He drops to his back to defend and is out of it. Masvidal still has the head and now is back to his feet and kneeing Henderson in the clinch. Good elbow by Masvidal and a body kick. Henderson again has his takedown denied. Bendo throws knees to the thigh. Masvidal rolls and Henderson mounts him! Jorge escapes then eats a knee. Henderson tries scrambling to the back and now pushes forward for another takedown. Masvidal is in a sitting position but Henderson is wearing down Masvidal and he’s tripped him. He’s looking for a submission. Masvidal may be tiring. He throws a knee to end a well-matched quality fight. 10-9 Henderson and 49-46 Henderson. Don’t be deceived by my card, this could’ve easily been 48-47 either way.
Official result: Ben Henderson def. Jorge Masvidal by split decision (47-48, 48-47, 49-46)
Dong Hyun Kim vs. Dominic Waters
Round 1: Stun Gun starts with a crazy head kick and then Waters has him down momentarily. They’re up against the fence with Waters trying to take the back of Dong. Now it’s Kim looking to trip Waters to the mat. It’s a struggle in the clinch and now it’s no longer a struggle because Kim just judo-tossed him and is already in the crucifix position. Hammerfists and short punches rain down. Kim has Waters’ left arm trapped. Crowd cheering with each strike Kim lands and Waters just is unable to escape. Two elbows by Stun Gun. He’s throwing whatever type of strike he wants. Waters is damn near stuck and this might be stopped. And it is. Leon Roberts steps in and Kim is the winner against his short-notice opponent.
Official result: Dong Hyun Kim def. Dominic Waters via TKO (strikes from crucifix) at 3:11 of round 1
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Alberto Mina
Round 1: Mina throws a low kick and then misses with a right hand. Crowd roars as Akiyama lands a leg kick but Mina responds with one of his own. Spinning backfist attempt by Akiyama. Lots of low kicking early by both men but Mina is the slightly more aggressive fighter. And he just missed with a front kick. Slow right hand by Akiyama. Action has slowed a bit with under 2 to go. Stiff jab by Akiyama as Mina threw a knee. Good outside leg kick by Akiyama but Mina throws one back. Takedown attempt by Mina is stuffed. Mina misses on the spinning back kick. Akiyama gets tagged late in the round then taken down. Mina was looking for an armlock but time had run out as Akiyama tried to escape through the backdoor. 10-9 Mina.
Round 2: Mina is really having problems with the leg kicks. Akiyama is hit with a left. Another hard leg kick by Akiyama and then he stuns him with a combination against the fence. Mina’s lead leg is discolored. Massive uppercut by Akiyama drills Mina but he doesn’t go down. Wild whiff by Mina over the top. Then he eats a jab. Telegraphed his takedown, too. Akiyama just damaging Mina’s lead leg. Another leg kick by Akiyama but Mina is in on a takedown but Akiyama shoves him aside. Mina swarms Akiyama with a series of punches that drives him backwards before they clinch and eventually separate. That’s his best offense of the round. Aaaaaand Akiyama is kicked in the balls. So he’ll need time to recover. They resume action in the final minute of round 2. Mina immediately misses with two punches but then cracks Akiyama with a huge left hand. Mina rocks Akiyama and he’s down! He tries to finish it on the ground. Akiyama back to his feet but Mina is all over him and he’s taken down at the end of the round. Saved by the bell. What a turnaround! 20-18 Mina.
Round 3: Mina is swinging away early and once again he absorbs punishment to his lead leg. Big uppercut by Akiyama as Mina tried to change levels and shoot for a takedown. Spinning elbow by Mina doesn’t connect. Akiyama is coming back strongly. Left hook and short right by Akiyama. Lazy, tired shot by Mina is unsuccessful and he just about tried to pull guard. He’s slow to get up and his left leg is a mess. Akiyama turning up the pressure. Mina can hardly stand. But Mina comes back and lands a pair of shots on Akiyama. They’re swinging away. Akiyama probably needs a finish. Leg kick by Akiyama is caught and Mina has Akiyama down but he’s now on the bottom and getting beaten up with hammerfists! Akiyama stands back up. Jab and a leg kick by Akiyama. Another labored shot. Crowd is booing loudly and Akiyama pounces on him after the referee didn’t have Mina stand back up. The round ends with Akiyama on top and firing away on an exhausted Mina to end a wild fight! 10-9 Akiyama but 29-28 Mina on my scorecard.
Official result: Alberto Mina def. Yoshihiro Akiyama via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Doo Ho Choi vs. Sam Sicilia
Round 1: Early right hand cracks Sicilia. They start swinging and Sicilia is dropped with a sharp punch. He gets back up and is put in a head lock. Then Sicilia rocks Choi back! This is pure war! Left hook and uppercut jars Sicilia’s head and then Choi thwarts the inside trip. Flying knee by Choi. Sicilia responds with an uppercut. Huge right hand and a left decks Sicilia! Mouthpiece is out! Fight is over and Choi gets the KO!
Official result: Doo Ho Choi def. Sam Sicilia via TKO (punches) at 1:33 of round 1
Doing Yang def. Jake Collier by TKO (Punches), R3
Mike De La Torre def. Yui Chul Nam by Decision (Split)
Tae Hyun Bang def. Leo Kuntz by Decision (Split, 29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Seo Hee Ham def. Cortney Casey by Decision (Unanimous, 29-28 x3)
Fredy Serrano def. Yao Zhikui by TKO (Injury), R1 :44
Marco Beltran def. Ning Guangyou by Decision (Split)
Dominique Steele def. Dong Hyun Kim by KO (Slam and elbows), R3
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