Dong Hyun Kim put forth arguably the best performance of his Octagon career Saturday, dominating Paulo Thiago from bell to bell at UFC on Fuel TV 6.
The main card attraction took place at Cotai Arena in Macau and was highlighted by Kim’s superior grappling, which carried him to a unanimous decision victory.
The Korean “Stun Gun” wasted no time in taking advantage of Thiago’s willingness to give up his back. Kim sunk in his hooks early in the first frame and rode his fellow welterweight for nearly the entire period while threatening to lock up a rear-naked choke.
Thiago would mount more of a defense in the second round, but at no point was the Brazilian able to turn the tide while pinned in a cradle position against the cage. Rather, he was forced to fend off Kim’s smothering grappling attack, including a tight brabo choke attempt at the end of the frame.
Round three might have been Kim’s most impressive period in the cage. While it took the judoka more time to secure Thiago’s back than it did in round one, Kim inflicted more damage on his foe while in the position of dominance, raining down punches, hammer-fists and two-handed chops, a la Kazushi Sakuraba.
“I researched [Thiago] with my team, and we knew that he [would be] a little bit weak from the inside position if I got his back, so we went with that,” Kim told Fox Sports after his victory.
A four-year Octagon veteran, Kim is now quite familiar with the jet lag that comes with fighting in the United States, an aspect of the fight game that Kim says likely affected both him and his opponent on Saturday.
“I think maybe the time difference made [Thiago] a little bit weaker than he usually is,” said Kim. “The difference between fighting here and [fighting in the United States] was like the difference between night and day.”
Kim’s victory puts him back in the win column following a one-sided defeat to Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Demian Maia this past July. Maia took the fight to Kim in that UFC 148 encounter, quickly closing the distance and scoring with a trip that caused Kim to injure his ribs, bringing the contest to a close in just 47 seconds.
Now healed and coming off his dominant victory over Thiago, “Stun Gun” did not hesitate when asked whom he would like to face next.
“I want Demian Maia.”