Following every UFC and Invicta FC event, The MMA Corner will break down the event and suggest fights the promotion should make in the future. This week, our focus is on The Ultimate Fighter: China Finale, which took place on March 1 from the CotaiArena in Cotai, Macau, China.

Dong Hyun Kim vs. Jake Ellenberger/Tarec Saffiedine winner

Dong Hyun Kim continues to roll. After a spinning back elbow knockout of John Hathaway in the main event, he has become a dark-horse contender at 170 pounds.

If you take out the freak injury he suffered against Demian Maia at UFC 148, Kim has won five fights in a row. “Stun Gun” has only been “beaten” once in his career, in a brutal knockout loss to Carlos Condit in 2011. His win on Saturday will put him in the top 10 of the division, and he now deserves to step up and fight true contenders again.

With that said, Kim should draw the winner of the fight between Jake Ellenberger and Tarec Saffiedine. Those two men are scheduled to meet at UFC 172 on April 26.

Ellenberger is looking to bounce back following a loss to Rory MacDonald. Meanwhile, Saffiedine, the former Strikeforce champion, eyes a second UFC win to make a run towards the top. Regardless of who emerges with the win, it makes sense for that fighter to square off with Kim next. A title shot isn’t going to come for any of them just yet, meaning they’ll need to put together a solid resume before getting a chance to strike gold.

Zhang Lipeng vs. Viscardi Andrade

Zhang Lipeng emerged as the welterweight winner for The Ultimate Fighter: China. Lipeng defeated Wang Sai by split decision on Saturday to earn a six-figure UFC contract, and that makes him the long-term face of mixed martial arts in China.

Lipeng’s record of 8-7 doesn’t compare favorably to past winners of the show, but he is only 23 years old and has plenty of time to develop. He’ll be paired with lower-level fighters until he finds a groove, and once he evolves, the promotion can seek other opportunities for him, assuming he maintains some level of consistency.

For his second bout inside the Octagon, Lipeng should fight either a UFC newcomer or a guy like Viscardi Andrade. Andrade was a member of Team Werdum on the second season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. The Brazilian turned heads with a knockout of Bristol Marunde in his debut on Aug. 3 of last year, but is coming off a decision loss to Nico Musoke in a fight that took place just a couple weeks ago.

Matt Mitrione vs. Ben Rothwell

Matt Mitrione came into China with losses in three of his last four fights, but the big man flew back to the United States with a much-needed win after knocking out Shawn Jordan with one second remaining in the first round.

The “Performance of the Night” victory was huge for Mitrione and allows him to keep his relationship with the UFC a positive one. After a win over a guy like Jordan, Mitrione should be considered a tough mid-tier opponent for anyone. However, he doesn’t want to keep that tag.

To move up towards the top 15, Mitrione needs a fight against Ben Rothwell. Yes, Rothwell is currently serving a nine-month suspension for elevated levels of testosterone, but he should be set to return this spring. Don’t be surprised to see this heavyweight clash made once Rothwell’s suspension ends.

Is it a fight that will draw a large audience? Of course not. But it’s a heavyweight match-up between two heavy hitters—combined, their last four wins have come by knockout. Don’t be surprised to see another when they trade leather.

Hatsu Hioki vs. Charles Oliveira

If there’s anyone who desperately needed a win, it was Hatsu Hioki. The Japanese fighter earned a unanimous decision victory over Ivan Menjivar to open up the main card, thus avoiding a four-fight losing streak.

After coming into the UFC and winning two fights in a row, Hioki was fed to the wolves and was not able to overcome tough challenges in Ricardo Lamas, Clay Guida and Darren Elkins. But, in a costly situation where a loss meant an exit from the promotion, Hioki stepped up to get a win and remain in the middle tier of the stacked featherweight division.

Up next for Hioki should be a match-up with Brazilian Charles Oliveira, who defeated Andy Ogle by submission on Feb. 15. After that fight, I wrote in the UFC Fight Night 36 edition of Fight Destiny that Oliveira should get the winner of Hioki and Menjivar. Nothing has changed.

Oliveira, who holds the rank of black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, is one of the best in the division when it comes to grappling. Hioki also holds the rank of black belt, but he just hasn’t used it to finish opponents in the UFC, unlike Oliveira. This could turn into a fun fight if they decide to roll on the mat.

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.