The last event in November 2015 took place in Seoul, South Korea and featured some entertaining fights and a lot of close decisions. Benson Henderson did what he does best by winning a split decision, two Korean fighters had impressive 1st round victories and Sexyama didn’t show the judges enough to win.
Here are your winners and losers for UFC Seoul: Henderson vs. Masvidal:
Doo Ho Choi, or better known as “The Korean Superboy”, had the best performance of the night out of every fighter on the card. Not only was Choi matched up against a tough fighter, but his win got him a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus and some good exposure in Korea. While the UFC doesn’t have a whole lot of top Korean talent, having a young up and comer who has 9 (T)KO wins in his past 10 fights is a good sign that the UFC could have a new overseas star on their roster.
Ben Henderson won his fight, so that makes him a winner. He also won in his last fight of his current contract, which is definitely a huge plus. The reason why he isn’t the big winner of the night is that he squeaked out a close decision victory against someone who he was supposed to beat and who didn’t train for a five round fight. As well, Henderson gave the UFC a reason why they might hesitate on resigning him. Henderson is known for winning close split decision victories, which isn’t usually the greatest thing to watch. He also put himself in a position where he was one judge away from entering negotiations on a loss. Congrats to Bendo on the win, but it was the least satisfying outcome for him in a winning effort.
Dominique Steele was a fighter that most people living in America may have missed fighting. He made his walk to the cage at 5 a.m. EST, when most people were probably still fast asleep. For anyone who was having trouble getting the cobwebs out of their eyes, Steele was there to spike their morning coffee. After two rounds of fighting, Steele came out aggressive, pinning the lesser known Dong Hyun Kim against the cage and slamming him to the mat, knocking him out. It was the most spectacular move of the night. Steele did a great job of opening the event with style.
Jorge Masvidal did lose the fight, but getting one judge to choose you over a former champion means something. Masvidal performed better than most people expected him to. He looked very competitive against Henderson and was able to go all five rounds without looking like he took the fight on short notice. When considering these winners and losers, I often think about a person’s stock. Did it go up or down because of the fight? For Masvidal, I think it’s safe to say that the main event exposure and the competitiveness he showed raised his stock in the Welterweight division.
Other winners: Dong Hyun Kim, Seo Hee Ham and Cortney Casey, Dongi Yang and the Korean crowd.
Sam Sicilia has had quite the mixed record since joining the UFC off of TUF 15. A win over Choi would have given Sicilia a three fight winning streak. Instead, Sicilia ran into “The Korean Superboy” and was finished quickly in the first round. Sicilia is a very durable guy, so the loss does more to exemplify the skills of Choi than the weaknesses of Sicilia. Still, the fight was a perfect chance for Sicilia to make a run at Featherweight and dispatch of a prospect with lots of potential.
Yoshihiro Akiyama looked good during weigh-ins, his entrance and in the third round. Unfortunately for Sexyama, a close 1st round and a lopsided 2nd round meant his fifth loss in his past six fights. At 40 years old and only having fought twice in the past three and a half years, the only reason the UFC is keeping Akiyama is for his star power in Asia. His performance against Alberto Mina shows that there’s little to no way that we’ll be seeing him compete against some of his competition of yesteryear, like Vitor Belfort or Michael Bisping.
The lesser of the two Dong Hyun Kim’s had a lot to live up to given his name. He was one of a few prelim fighters who people had a special interest in watching due to his name, I’m looking at you too Bang and Kuntz. Instead, Kim was put on the end of a highlight reel slam. While we are on the subject of notable names, I’ll add that Bang and Kuntz are also included as losers. Neither fighter looked impressive with both looking exhausted in the third round. Overall, most of the prelim fighters showed that they don’t have the skill or conditioning of a legitimate UFC fighter.
Other losers: Dominic Waters, Jake Collier and Yao Zhikui’s elbow.
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