MMA Odds and Ends for Friday: Kim vs. Hathaway Headlines TUF China Finale
Three new UFC matches were announced yesterday, including the main event of the upcoming TUF China card, and for today's MMA Odds and Ends, I'll give my initial thoughts on all three bouts.
Dong Hyun Kim vs. John Hathaway, TUF China Finale
The main event of the TUF China Finale, which is set for March 1 in Macau, will be a five-round welterweight fight between Dong Hyun Kim and John Hathaway. It will be Hathaway's first fight in nearly two years, as he's dealt with a variety of heath ailments in recent times, while Kim is coming off a superb KO win over Erick Silva at UFC Fight Night 29.
Although Hathaway has been out for a while, he is definitely a solid welterweight and I can totally see why the UFC decided to give him a big fight against Kim, who looks to be emerging as a dark horse contender in the UFC welterweight division.
These two match up well as Hathaway has solid wrestling and striking just like Kim, but I believe Kim has more momentum, better cardio, and I think fighting near home will give him a lot of motivation to come out and perform.
Kim might be overvalued after the win over Silva, so I could see him being close to a -250 favorite here. I don't think you can count out Hathaway as he is a talented fighter for sure, but I'd need significant plus money to take a stab at the Brit in this particular fight.
Ivan Menjivar vs. Hatsu Hioki, TUF China Finale
An exciting featherweight fight between veterans Ivan Menjivar and Hatsu Hioki was also added to the TUF China Finale.
I'm super excited for this bout between TKO alum, and I expect it to be in contention for "Fight of the Night" at the TUF China Finale when it's all said and done.
Although Hioki has disappointed in the UFC thus far, he's still an ultra-talented fighter and he matches up very well against Menjivar, who is moving back up to 145 after struggling to make 135 in his last match. So although I do expect a competitive bout here, I definitely give Hioki the upper hand in most areas of the game.
I'd expect Hioki to be around -200 in this fight, and I'm really thinking he takes a decision over the tough Menjivar here.
Maximo Blanco vs. Felipe Arantes, UFC Fight Night 36
And finally, the UFC announced a featherweight bout between Maximo Blanco and Felipe Arantes for next month's UFC Fight Night 36 card.
Blanco is coming off a DQ to Akira Corassani at the TUF 18 Finale, while Arantes was decisioned by Kevin Souza in his last outing at UFC Fight Night 38, and it's possible both fighters are in a must-win situation.
This is a tough fight to call because both fighters match up pretty well with one another, however if I had to pick a winner I'd go with Blanco, who I believe is the more naturally talented athlete of the two. However, as we all know Blanco isn't someone who can be trusted for a bet as he routinely throws illegal moves in fights and gets himself disqualified. So unless either guy is available as a solid dog, I'm thinking this is just one to watch, but of course it depends what kind of line is available.