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TFC 18 Recap & Clips: Kim vs Jun Steals the Show, Fun Fights Galore

Seoul, South Korea – Global MMA fans who have been starving for an exciting international card got their fill at TFC 18, a show that provided plenty of all-action brawls with a technical battle in the headliner. The TFC 18 main event saw a new Top FC bantamweight champ crowned as the culmination of a four man tournament. Both Trevin Jones (10-5, #82 World) and Young Jin Hwang (7-3, #202 World) needed some time to get into gear in this five round fight, and the result was a solid, close scrap that was pretty low on volume. After five rounds the judges awarded the unanimous decision and the TFC bantamweight strap to Young Jin Hwang, though some veteran fight observers seemed to think that Jones had done enough to pick up the win.


Co Main Event @ 141: Jae Woong Kim  UD   Han Guk Jun

The TFC 18 co-main event was an absolute ripsnorter (trademark: pre-ONE Michael Schiavello) with no feeling out process that turned into the event’s hands-down fight of the night. Within 20 seconds of the opening bell, Han Guk Jung (6-6-2) had found the mark with a pair of sharp left hooks. But it was Jae Woong Kim (7-3, #415 World) who scored the first substantial offense of the fight with a pair of nasty right hands that translated into two knockdowns. Kim briefly pressed for a finish, but Jung showed incredibly grit and durability as he scampered away from danger and stayed in the fight. Over the course of this three rounder the momentum gradually turned as Kim slowed down and Jung started to hit him with bloodying, choppy strikes. But Kim managed to find the mark with a couple more perfect right hands later in round 3 that sent Jung stumbling on his back foot again. Very impressive striking work from Jae Woong Kim, who earned the unanimous decision victory and a likely shot at the TFC 145 pound belt. And great toughness and heart from both guys, who delivered the most exciting fight I’ve seen since last weekend’s UFC Chile opener.

W115: In the early contender for TFC 18 Fight of the Night, strawweights Ji Yeon Seo (5-2, #89 World) and Si Yoon Park (1-2) smashed fists into faces all the way to the final bell. The 16 year old Seo showed her class early by popping Park with plenty of jabs and shooting in for well-executed double leg takedown tries. Even when she scored takedowns, Seo didn’t spend much time on the ground as she preferred to trade with Park on the feet. That strategy worked well for two rounds, but in the third Seo started to gas as the big-swinging Park picked up steam. Suddenly Seo’s takedowns were nowhere close in the third and Park took advantage by smashing the younger fighter with punches each time she shot in badly. At times in the third it looked like Park might find a TKO finish, but Seo showed heart and will to battle to the final bell despite her obvious cardio dump. Both exhausted women simply stood in the middle and traded bombs as this excellent contest came to a close. Ji Yeon Seo seemed quite surprised when the judges awarded her the decision win, though it looked like she did plenty enough to earn the first two rounds and just enough to avoid losing round 3 by a 10-8 margin. The triumph marks three straight unanimous decision wins for the South Korean prodigy, including a December victory over the same opponent.  Meanwhile, post-event the news broke that Park dislocated her shoulder in round 1 but still kept throwing haymakers – amazing stuff from her as well.

170: This was a close contest that saw both South Korea’s Se Yoon Jung (3-3) show some impressive flashes, including a spate of standing back control late. But Japanese veteran Yuki Okano (14-10-1) did enough in the standup game to squeak out a majority decision victory on his opponent’s home turf.

155: In a battle of under-21s, North Korea’s Jung Hyuk Jang (1-0-1) threw down with South Korea’s Da Won Yoon (1-2-1) for 15 minutes of mostly-standup brawling. The judges couldn’t pick out a winner, and both men walked out of the cage looking disappointed with the draw.

145: One method for winning a professional cage fight: let your opponent beat you up so badly that he loses composure and breaks his toe kicking you in the nuts. That’s what went down in this scrap, as Yamato Nishikawa (5-1-4) dished out practically no offense while eating plenty from Seung Min Yeo (1-1). One kick landed directly on Nisikawa’s cup and caused Yeo’s toe to dislocate badly, forcing the referee stoppage via injury TKO.

135: Dong Gyu Kim (7-3-1) rushed straight into a firefight with Taek Jun Lee (0-1-1) and never really let his opponent get comfortable in this short contest. Just over a minute in Kim detonated a right hand on Lee’s temple that set up the extended ground-and-pound finish:

205: One of South Korea’s elite light heavyweight talents, Doo Hwan Kim (10-5, #180 World) warded off early leglock tries from Japan’s Hikaru Sato (24-24-4). Once he established proper base, Kim rained down punches on the attacking Sato. With his opponent wounded, Kim sunk in the deep arm triangle choke to break a two fight decision loss streak versus recent Dana Contenders Series signee Jim Crute and ACB contender Rasul Saithozhaev.

135: When Soo Young Yoo (4-1) couldn’t force Sang Joo Ahn (1-3) to capitulate to ground strikes from mount, he switched to a Mata Leon from back control to squeeze out the second round submission:

155: The finishes started flowing early on at TFC 18 – watch below for highlights of Tae Hyun Kim (3-0) choking out Young Hoon Lee (1-1) by Mata Leon.

125: TFC 18 kicked off with a Korean Zombie sighting, as the UFC contender coached 21 year old Seung Guk Choi (1-0) to a unanimous decision win over teenager Gun Hong Kim (1-1).


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