One of the best parts of the UFC's expansion all over the globe is seeing the talent that is often discovered in the different corners of the world. The UFC's return to China this Saturday comes after a season spent filming The Ultimate Fighter there as well as time seeking new fighters, some of whom will debut at the upcoming UFC Fight Night card from Macao.
The undercard for UFC Fight Night features four bouts with a few newcomers, as well as some veteran talent that will be on display in the show.
Kazuki Tokudome looks to bounce back from his first UFC loss when he takes on Korean prospect Yui Chul Nam. Also on the card undefeated Brazilian Alberto Mina faces former Ultimate Fighter competitor Zak Cummings.
In today's fantasy preview we'll take a look at the four undercard fights and see who might just have the advantage heading into Saturday's card.
KAZUKI TOKUDOME VS. NAM YUI CHUL
In the featured bout on the preliminary card, Japan's Kazuki Tokudome takes on Nam Yui Chul in a contrast of styles between two lightweight competitors. Tokudome is a judo specialist with a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, who has worked a lot on his boxing over the last few years, while Nam is a brawler that loves to stand and bang with his opponents, although he has gone to decision in a number of fights during his career.
Tokudome is a tough customer who fights best when he's able to control the pace and put an opponent on the mat. He struggled against a technically sound stand-up fighter in his last bout when he lost by decision to former Ultimate Fighter winner Norman Parke, so he has to be aware that a 'sprawl and brawl' bout is exactly the kind of fight Nam would love to have for his UFC debut.
Nam didn't get his nickname “The Korean Bulldozer” for nothing. He likes to bully his opponents around with his aggressive striking, but he keeps his hands dangerously low sometimes so he can't sleep on Tokudome's willingness to throw shots before looking for the takedown. Nam has been susceptible to ground fighters in the past, so that's the last place he wants this fight with Tokudome to end up.
The biggest problem Nam has as a brawler is that he keeps the fight close and doesn't typically take big strides in a fight to really separate himself from his opponents. If Tokudome can keep from getting into big exchanges with him early and then drag him to the ground with a late takedown, he could steal round after round on the scorecards. Ultimately, Tokudome's a more well-rounded fighter and there's no discounting the fact that this is his third UFC fight, which means the Octagon jitters should be a lot less now for him than they will be for Nam when the cage door closes.
ZAK CUMMINGS VS. ALBERTO MINA
Former Ultimate Fighter competitor Zak Cummings will look for his fourth win in a row when he takes on highly touted newcomer Alberto Mina, making his UFC debut.
Mina got a lot of buzz after being signed because he has been considered one of the best fighters outside of the UFC until now. The Brazilian is 10-0 as a professional, with finishes in all of his fights and only two of them making it out of the first round. Now those statistics can look daunting or bloated depending on the competition he's been facing. Mina is a black belt in judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, so he's no slouch on the ground, and he's also a dangerous striker with four TKOs to his credit.
He's facing a tough test, however, in his first fight, as Cummings won't be an easy out and may just hand the rookie a loss in his UFC debut. Cummings is a hard-nosed wrestler with a solid submission arsenal at his disposa,l and considering at one time he fought as a light heavyweight, he's going to be a formidable fighter at welterweight. Cummings has worked tirelessly on developing his submission game to compliment his wrestling game, and that could be the exact weapon that gets him the win in this fight.
While Mina has all the credentials coming into the fight, Cummings has real world experience against a tough list of fighters; plus the UFC experience doesn't hurt. Cummings' wrestling might trump Mina's judo, and on the feet the former Ultimate Fighter packs a powerful punch. Mina may still develop into a real interesting prospect down the road, but for his first fight in the UFC he may walk out with a loss and a lesson learned.
ALBERT CHANG VS. WANG ANYING
Two former competitors on The Ultimate fighter China will square off when Albert Cheng meets Wang Anying, with both hoping to secure a roster spot in the UFC after Saturday's card is completed.
Cheng is primarily a ground fighter coming from a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu base, where he's a brown belt, while Wang is a Muay Thai fighter who prefers the knockout to the ground game. So as it happens often inside the Octagon, this fight will boil down to who keeps the fight where they want it to take place. Cheng trains out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada so he's got good people to work with on the ground, although he's actually struggled against some past opponents in grappling despite his pedigree.
Wang lost during his time on the reality show to eventual finalist Wang Sai, but given his relative novice level of experience in comparison, that really shouldn't be a huge surprise. That said, Wang does have a teammate (Dong Xin) who has already fought and knocked out Cheng in the past. He also trained a lot at Phuket Top Team for this fight to get his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu on point.
In the end, Wang should be able to win this fight based on his striking, and even if he hits the ground with Cheng, he's proficient enough to stay out of trouble and avoid submissions. If all goes well, Wang will get his second professional win and second knockout to boot.
MARK EDDIVA VS. JUMABIEKE TUERXUN
Somebody's '0' has to go in this matchup between UFC newcomers Mark Eddiva and Jumabieke Tuerxun. Both fighters are coming into the bout undefeated, although Tuerxan has more than three times the total fights of his opponent, who comes from a similar wrestling and takedown-oriented background going into this one.
Tuerxun will come into this fight as the smaller man, but he is more skilled in ways to win the fight. He's a wrestler who has strong control on the ground and a solid submission set as well. Tuerxun also has the benefit of knowing Eddiva's game really well, since his coaches have worked with him in the past, so he's aware of his strengths and weaknesses. Eddiva will have more power, but the safe bet is Tuerxun will have more technique.
Look for Tuerxun to get this fight to the mat and grind on Eddiva over the course of three rounds. Eddiva does have knockout power in his hands, and given his size advantage, Tuerxun has to be careful and wary of the striking game being prolonged too much in this fight. Still, Tuerxun has the confidence and the wrestling to disarm Eddiva over the course of 15 full minutes to get the decision win.
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