Gabe Killian’s Post-TUF China Finale Matchmaking Predictions

Vaughan LeeThe Ultimate Fighter China finale is now in the rear-view, so let’s look ahead at some potential match-ups… Vaughan Lee vs Chico Camus – I think this would be a bantamweight scrap that makes plenty of sense, and I would figure the betting odds would be at a near coin-flip for this one. Lee just looked better than he ever has in his Octagon career at the TUF China finale, where he outpointed volume-striker Nam Phan en route to a unanimous decision victory, taking a 30-26 score on one judges’ scorecard. Lee showed great improvement in his game, especially his striking. Not to mention, he looked more relaxed inside the cage than I ever remember seeing him. I believe Camus, who is currently riding a three-fight winning streak, would make for a good next move for the Brit. Camus most recently used his grappling to edge Yaotzin Meza on the judges’ scorecards at UFC on FOX 10 just over a month ago. I think this match-up makes sense for both bantamweights, so I would not be too surprised to see it in the middle of a future preliminary card. ”The Korean Bulldozer” Yui Chul Nam vs Rodrigo Damm – This would make for a very exciting lightweight match-up between solid veterans of the sport. Both fighters are coming off decision victories, but I think this battle would play out on the feet and likely result in a knockout. “The Korean Bulldozer” just bested Kazuki Tokudome on the judges’ scorecards for a split decision victory, though I personally scored all three rounds for the Korean. Damm is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Ivan “Batman” Jorge in his return to the 155 pound division, and looks to make it two in a row. I could see these two paired up together, and I have no doubt it would be fireworks, regardless of how long it lasts. This is one Korean vs Brazilian match-up I would not blink during, and I assume Nam would be a small betting favorite heading into this fight, around -160 or so. Hatsu Hioki vs Cole Miller – The idea of this match-up alone gets me excited! Two lanky featherweights with solid, improved striking and an excellent ground game; I would really love to see this scrap kick things off on a future Pay Per View or FOX main card. Hioki bounced back to the win column at the TUF China finale, where he took an unimpressive and unanimous 29-28 decision victory over Ivan “The Pride of El Salvador” Menjivar, who was making his return to the featherweight division, after experiencing difficulties making the bantamweight limit. Miller, however, is riding a two fight winning streak and looked very impressive in his last outing, where he scored a knockdown over Sam Sicilia, and then followed him to the mat to secure a rear naked choke submission finish. For Hioki, it would mean something to put an end to Miller’s little run and make it two in a row for himself. For Miller, it would certainly mean a lot to have a victory over Hatsu Hioki on his professional mixed martial arts resume. I think, with a win over Hioki, Miller would be one more away from deserving a title shot. As for Hioki, I think a win over the American Top Team product will immediately put him back into title talks, and one more win away from actually entering the title picture. A win over Miller would probably get him a number-one contender match-up, as the UFC really wanted Hioki vs Aldo when they first signed the Japanese veteran. Regardless of what would come post-fight, this would be one featherweight scrap no MMA fan would want to miss. If Hioki was impressive against Menjivar, I would think he would be a decent favorite in this spot. However, after that outing, and considering how good Miller has been looking, I would think Hioki would open as a -180 betting favorite. ”Stun Gun” Dong Hyun Kim vs WINNER of Shields vs Lombard – Coming off a third round flash-knockout victory over John Hathaway, to follow a second round flash-knockout he scored over Erick Silva makes two very impressive back to back flash KO’s for the Korean, which is incredibly rare to accomplish, especially in the upper-echelon of the UFC’s welterweight division. Kim, who was primarily known as a grappler who grinded out decision victories, has transformed into a knockout artist over his last couple of bouts. Now, with back to back finishes and four solid wins in a row, he is ready to take a step up, and that is where Jake Shields and Hector Lombard come into the picture. In my opinion, Shields and Lombard are more deserving of a title shot than Condit and Woodley, but it seems as if the winner of the latter is going to be getting the shot at whoever takes home the vacant welterweight title at UFC 171. So, as a result, I think it makes sense for the winner of Shields vs Lombard to take on “Stun Gun” in what would be a number-one contender match-up. John Hathaway vs Hyun Gyu Lim – This is a match-up that pits two talented welterweights together who were each on the losing end of the first two main events we have seen thus far on UFC Fight Pass. The Brit just suffered a third round knockout loss at the hands of Dong Hyun Kim at the TUF China final, and the Korean came up short in a unanimous decision against former Strikeforce welterweight champion Tarec Saffiedine a couple months ago. I think squaring these two massive welterweights against each other would make for another exciting fight, and it would be one I wouldn’t want to miss.

Written by Gabe Killian

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