Bouts change for UFC Seoul debut

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Bouts change for UFC Seoul debut

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its Korean debut on Saturday as top class fighters are ready to show their skills at the Olympic Park Gymnastics Arena in Seoul.

Titled “UFC Fight Night Seoul,” the lineup for the octagonal-ring mixed martial arts event was announced in September, but there have been changes after some fighters dropped out due to injury and personal issues.

The main headline bout on Saturday is a match between former lightweight champion Benson Henderson and American fighter Jorge Masvidal who has 29-9-0 record.

Henderson, a 32-year-old who is born to a U.S. father and a Korean mother, was originally scheduled to meet Thiago Alves, but since the Brazilian fighter had to withdraw due to a rib injury, his opponent was replaced by Masvidal. It is the second bout in the welterweight division for both Henderson and Masvidal.

Originally, Masivdal was to fight Korea’s Kim Dong-hyun, but since the 31-year-old American is facing Henderson, Kim will now go head-to-head against Dominic Waters. The 33-year-old Kim, nicknamed “Stun Gun,” has 20-3-1 record. Interestingly, both Kim and Waters are former marines.

Other notable fights include 40-year-old Korean-Japanese fighter Choo Sung-hoon (Yoshihiro Akiyama) taking on undefeated 33-year-old Brazilian Alberto Mina.

Mina, who is going 11-0-0, is a jiu-jitsu expert, while Choo - who is a well-known celebrity in Korea for his appearances on entertainment shows with his daughter - is a former judoka with a 14-5-0 MMA record.

Other Korean fighters Choi Doo-ho, Nam Yui-chul, Bang Tae-hyun and Yang Dong-I will all be in action, while Korea’s first ever female UFC fighter Ham Seo-hee goes against Courtney Casey.

Welterweight fighter Lim Hyun-gyu is out after picking up an ankle injury. Another, Kim Dong-hyun, whose nickname is “Maestro,” has been selected to fill-in for Lim and will fight against Dominique Steele.

The biggest disappointment for local UFC fans will be absence of Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic who was supposed to fight against Anthony Hamilton in the heavyweight division. But the 40-year-old Croatian was left out due to a doping violation. ?

BY JOO KYUNG-DON [joo.kyungdon@joongang.co.kr]
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