Replacing the injured Hector Lombard, “The Chosen One” Tyron Woodley (13-3) will go head to head with Dong “The Stun Gun” Kim(19-2-1). Woodley took the fight with just two month’s notice of his new opponent and both are looking at a strong possibility at a title shot if they are victorious. Second to Bisping vs. Le, this is a highly anticipated fight between two grappling experts.
“The Chosen One” Woodley
Woodley is the underdog in many ways going into this main card bout. The protests and conflict in his hometown of Ferguson have been weighing on him heavily, and will be a major mental hurdle going into the fight. He’s also coming off of a decision loss to Rory MacDonald from UFC 174. The greatest lesson he can learn from the loss is to be prepared to change strategies when unsuccessful. Macdonald kept a calculated distance from Woodley, dialing into his attempts to bait him to the cage for takedowns and being prepared for his punching combinations. Woodley would change levels and duck under for a takedown only to be met my MacDonald’s underhooks and counter punches. Rather than fall for his attempt to rope him in for a takedown, he breached the distance with kicks that forced Woodley’s back to the cage and into major trouble. When he didn’t adapt, MacDonald was able to frustrate Woodley and his patience allowed him to set up a very calculated and effective offense.
Tips for “The Chosen One”
There’s a reason why MacDonald was ready for Woodley’s game–it’s tremendously effective. Woodley is a wrestling expert. He is a former Missouri high school wrestling state champ and a 2 time NCAA D1 All American at the University of Missouri. He has explosive power, speed, technique and he can quickly close the distance on a fighter with devastating punches. If he’s able to capitalize on the right opportunity successfully take Kim down, he has a strong shot at victory. However, he has to be ready to adapt quickly if Kim has prepared a strong takedown defense.
“Stun Gun” Kim
Kim, on the other hand, is coming off of a strong four wins in a row. Because of Kim’s judo background, it will be interesting how offensive he will be against Woodley. The calculated and reactionary style of MacDonald was proven very effective, but he can also take the initiative and impart a Judo game. He’s also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and they don’t call him “Maemi” (Cicada) for nothing back home. He is absolutely deadly from the top. If he does take a cautious and reactionary style, his counters will be aimed at reversals to get Woodley on the ground.
The Bottom Line:
Woodley and Kim are both expert grapplers. Woodley can rely on his explosive takedown strategy if he is very calculated. If this is unsuccessful, he has to be ready to adjust to a different strategy and has to be prepared to fight from the bottom. If Kim successfully outmaneuvers him and gets on top, there’s a world of hurt waiting from thre.