On Saturday night, the UFC returns to the Cotai Arena in Macau, China, for the second time to host the finale of The Ultimate Fighter: China. Headlining the card are two exciting welterweights who are on three-fight winning streaks.

Dong Hyun “Stun Gun” Kim is one of South Korea’s top fighters. Kim is a 12-fight veteran of the Octagon and has spent time training with top-ranked middleweight Yushin Okami. He is coming off an ice-cold knockout of Erick Silva at UFC Fight Night 29 in October, and his last loss was to Demian Maia in a July 2012 bout that ended as a TKO due to a muscle spasm. The only legitimate loss on his record was to Carlos Condit via TKO in July 2011. Kim is a very well-rounded fighter, as is his opponent, England’s John Hathaway.

Hathaway, who, at 26 years old, is six years younger than Kim, burst onto the scene in 2006 and went 14-0 in his first four years as a pro fighter. He is 7-1 in the UFC. Hathaway’s only loss as a pro came by way of decision against Mike Pyle at UFC 120 over three years ago. In his last fight, at UFC on Fuel TV 5 in September 2012, Hathaway posted a win in a three-round dismantling of fellow Brit John Maguire.

Kim and Hathaway, both standing 6-foot-1, are tall welterweights, and both fight very rangy. They are very comparable competitors who have dominated most of the opponents they have respectively faced. Neither man is fighting for his job, necessarily, but both will be looking to make a statement in the super-stacked 170-pound division.

UFC Fight Night 37 kicks off at 6:15 a.m. ET, live from Macau, in what is sure to be an exciting night of fighting. Let’s take a deeper look at the match-up. And as a reminder, this is a side-by-side comparison of how the fighters’ skills match up against one another using similar scoring to the unified rules.

Striking: Kim – 10, Hathaway – 10

In his Deep days, Kim was an amazing knockout artist. On the taller end of the welterweight spectrum, he tore up most of the Deep talent, turning in five knockouts in a row during his eight-fight run in the promotion. His relentless striking game and iron chin make him a dangerous opponent. His range is just the icing on the cake. However, his length won’t be as big of a factor against Hathaway.

The Englishman’s game is a bit different. Hathaway has very accurate counterattacks, putting on a clinic every time his opponents come in on him. As with Kim, the length won’t be as big of a factor in this one, but his precision outpoints his opponent’s every time. Although Kim has a ton of knockout power (as displayed against Silva), Hathaway has knockdown—but not knockout—power.

Kim’s sole knockout loss was to Condit, and Hathaway has never been stopped. So fans can expect a stand-up war between these fighters, with neither one having a true advantage.

Submission Grappling: Kim – 10, Hathaway – 9

On the surface, it can be easy to make the assumption that Hathaway is the better submission grappler because he has four submission wins to Kim’s one. However, that is not really the case. Of Hathaway’s four sub wins, two were by punches, and he hasn’t actually tapped somebody out since 2007. Both of his early subs were by rear-naked choke, one of the top choices for wrestlers, who typically have a more limited submission arsenal. Hathaway’s background as a freestyle wrestling champion allows him to control his opponents on the ground, but he primarily uses that skill to set up ground-and-pound attacks, instead of submissions. His opponent possesses a more skilled submission attack.

Kim hasn’t really needed to use his submission background much, because he bullies his opponents around the cage before the fight even gets to the ground. But, make no mistake, his arsenal is quite deep. The Korean fighter has a fourth dan black belt in judo, and, as many know, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is actually a variation of traditional judo. Kim’s last submission was in 2006, and, like Hathaway’s, was also by rear-naked choke, but his knowledge and skill base is much deeper than that.

Nobody really expects this fight to turn into a technical submission battle, but, if it does, Kim will have the upper hand.

Wrestling: Kim – 10, Hathaway – 10

With respective backgrounds in judo and wrestling, Kim and Hathaway are tremendous wrestlers, although both men do have takedown accuracy just below the .500 mark. However, looking at the other side of the takedown equation, Hathaway stops about 61 percent of opponents’ attempts and Kim stops a whopping 81 percent. Both men are dangerous in the clinch, have a great sprawl, and are talented at maintaining dominant top position on the ground.

Wrestling has earned both of these men plenty of wins, especially when going to decision, but against each other, just like the length, their wrestling skills cancel each other out.

X-factor

The x-factor in this fight is the time-zone difference. Hathaway has fought mostly in Europe and a few times in the United States, but he has never traveled the other direction for a MMA fight. Kim has fought all over the world, with his only troubles coming in Las Vegas. On East Asian soil, he is undefeated.

Hathaway will probably give himself a good amount of time to acclimate as best he can, but it will be a tough test for him to fight on the other side of the world. Kim has a clear advantage fighting with only an hour difference from his home time zone.

Total: Kim – 30, Hathaway – 29

Verdict: The welterweight battle between Kim and Hathaway has the makings of a total war. Both men can bang on their feet, have tough chins, and are very difficult to take down. They have dominant top control on the ground and have showed limited submission arsenals, but there are a couple factors at play that could swing the fight for Kim.

Kim’s background in judo and the fact he is essentially fighting in his home time zone are huge advantages for the Korean fighter. He will be of clearer mind and body, and it will just be business as usual. Hathaway, meanwhile, will be fighting for the first time in the Far East, and if he gets overconfident on the ground, he will get to see what Kim really has to offer. But, chances are, the fight won’t get there.

Expect this fight to be a stand-up battle with Hathaway landing more accurate shots, before walking into a devastating power shot from Kim. Kim by second-round TKO.

About The Author

Dan Kuhl
Interview Coordinator