The MGM Grand Garden will host the UFC’s annual New Year’s card, UFC 125: Resolution. The marquis bout between “The Bully” Gray Maynard (10-0) and “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (13-1) is the fight perhaps most prominent on the fans’ minds but there are several rather notable matches on the card as well. Thiago Silva (15-2), “The Truth” Brandon Vera (11-5), “The Fireball Kid” Takanori Gomi (29-7), “The Carpenter” Clay Guida (27-11), “The Crippler” Chris Leben (21-7), and Brian Stann (9-3) help round out the card, but one of the more interesting Pay-Per-View bouts features welterweight warriors Nate Diaz (12-6) and “Stun Gun” Dong Hyun Kim (10-4). The Stockton, California native and brother of Strikeforce champion “El Diablo” Nick Diaz (23-7) takes on the tough and well rounded Korean-born Hyun Kim, who is unbeaten in the UFC, in a race for a chance at welterweight king “Rush” Georges St. Pierre (21-2). Both men are dynamic ground fighters with contrasting clinch fighting styles that will make for a very interesting battle to the mat.
At First Glance: Since his move up to welterweight, the southpaw Nate Diaz has experienced a return to the form that saw him steamroll through The Ultimate Fighter Season 5 and his first four opponents as an official addition to the UFC. In his career with the promotion Diaz has racked up wins over “Batman” Kurt Pellegrino (16-5), “The Dentist” Josh Neer (28-10-1), “The Young Assassin” Melvin Guillard (25-8-2), and most recently “The Irish Hand Grenade” Marcus Davis (17-7), to name a few. In contrast, Hyun Kim has fought mostly up-and-comers in the UFC. The only two names on his record that are well known are “The Heat” Karo Parisyan (18-6) and Amir Sadollah (4-2). Karo defeated Hyun Kim by decision but due to a failed post-fight drug screening on Parisyan’s side it was reverted to a No Contest. All but one of Hyun Kim’s UFC wins have come by decision but he has proven a dangerous match for both strikers and ground fighters. A fight between these two will be very interesting as they both are very active fighters who will go at it full force from bell to bell.
In Depth: Diaz has both quick, heavy hands and a dangerous ground game courtesy of his training with Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, and he blends the styles together almost effortlessly. Since his ascension to the 170lbs. division he seems to have better stamina and more power. He put on a striking clinic against Marcus Davis before putting away the bloodied Davis by submission in the third round. Against Hyun Kim, however, Diaz will have his work cut out for him. “Stun Gun” is a fourth degree black belt in Judo and is a well balanced kickboxer with a half dozen wins by TKO, another six by decision, and a sole submission victory. A DEEP veteran who spent the early half of his career in Japan and even fought in his home country of Korea under the Spirit MC banner, Hyun Kim has the perfect blend of clinch work and combination striking to give Diaz fits. In his two plus years with the UFC he has proven able to shut down most any offensive style with his advanced Judo. Against Diaz he will be pushed to his limits and for only the second time in his UFC career, his fight will not go to the judges. Diaz will look to finish the fight with either strikes or a submission provided he can prevent the Korean from tying him up in the clinch.
The Wild Card: Diaz’s weakness is his takedown defense, especially in the clinch. Gray Maynard, Clay Guida, and “Daddy” Joe Stevenson (31-11) all defeated Diaz by controlling him on the mat for the majority of the fight after putting him down from the clinch. Kim has a dangerous submission game and a big benefit of his Judo is that, while the throws are higher risk than wrestling takedowns, they tend to land a fighter in side control or quarter mount as opposed to a variation of the guard like Greco and freestyle takedowns do. As long as Hyun Kim can force the clinch, he can neutralize Diaz’s boxing as well. If Hyun Kim can use his Judo to control Diaz and keep him from planting his feet to throw strikes, it will be a long fight for Diaz.
The Verdict: This is Diaz’s fight to lose. The Stockton native will do what he is good at and box from odd angles and pepper the Korean with strikes from the outside. The Judoka will look for the clinch and will pay for it every time he moves in until the inevitable happens: Hyun Kim will get rocked and drop to the mat, where Diaz may then capitalize on the downed opponent by using his prized Gracie Jiu Jitsu, locking in a choke of his choosing and squeezing until Hyun Kim taps or the referee calls a stop to the fight. Diaz via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2.