“Grading the card’’ is an article written by Mike James after every major UFC and Bellator event. Every main card fight and the fight card itself is briefly discussed and given a letter grade. This article covers UFC Fight Night 70, which took place Saturday night from the Olympic Gymnastics Arena in Seoul, South Korea. Benson Henderson vs Jorge Masvidal UFC Fight Night 79’s main event was a back and forth five round affair that saw Benson Henderson finish his eight fight contract by taking home a split decision over the always game Jorge Masvidal. Both fighters had their moments during the fight, but it was Henderson’s ability to edge out rounds that ultimately won him the fight. Masvidal was able to negate a lot of what Henderson was trying to do, especially with his wrestling, but it was Henderson that was pushing the pace more. After the fight Henderson took off his gloves and laid them down on the canvas, only to pick them up again. I am not sure exactly what that means but I am very interested in seeing where “Smooth” ends up. Fight Grade: B+ Dong Hyun Kim vs Dominic Waters As expected, this fight was not remotely competitive and it was over midway through the first round. Waters made a big mistake by clinching up with Kim and not trying to break. That allowed Kim to throw him to the canvas, where he had a huge edge. Kim secured a mounted crucifix and started landing unanswered punches on Waters’ exposed head, which forced the referee to intervene. They were not the hardest shots and Waters was not really hurt, but the referee has to step in after so many unanswered blows. Waters was trying his best to get out of the position but he just does not have the technique at the moment. Fight Grade: N/A (This one isn’t worth grading) Yoshihiro Akiyama vs Alberto Mina The 40-year old Akiyama returned to the Octagon for only the second time in the last three and a half years to face Mina, who has also been highly inactive in recent years. This ended up being one of the most controversial fights of the evening, as judging was once again called into question. The fight ended up being decided by how the judges scored the first round, as Mina clearly took the second round and Akiyama dominated the third round. Two judges gave Mina the first round, which ultimately won him the fight. However, not one judge awarded Akiyama a 10-8 in the third round, which I believe is the correct score for the round. Akiyama dominated the whole round and seemed to be on the verge of a finish several times while Mina was gassed and repeatedly flopping to his back. The decision was booed unmercifully by the South Korean crowd, who thought Akiyama won the fight. Fight Grade: C+ Dong Ho Choi vs Sam Sicilia South Korea’s hottest prospect returned to the Octagon for the second time against the veteran Sicilia in a fight many people thought would be over quickly. Choi and Sicilia did not disappoint, as they started throwing bombs almost immediately. Choi ended up being too quick, accurate, and dynamic for Sicilia, as he landed a big overhand right – left hook combination that turned out the lights in Seoul, South Korea. The 24-year oldis an impressive prospect and may be a big player in the UFC’s attempt at getting a foothold in South Korea. He let it be known after the fight that he would like to face Tatsuya Kawajiri for his next fight. Kawajiri is currently without an opponent, as Mirsad Bektic withdrew from their planned fight at the Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale on December 11. Fight Grade: A- (Choi’s performance is graded, since the fight ended so quickly in his favor) Thoughts: UFC Fight Night 79 featured some exciting fights and a tremendous five round main event between two top tier welterweights. The most intriguing story following this event is Benson Henderson’s status as a free agent and his upcoming contract negotiations with the UFC. Henderson, while not a pay per view draw, is certainly a valuable asset to the company. He can headline fights on a variety of platforms and they can take him to overseas markets, such as South Korea. Additionally, he is a top contender in not one, but two weight classes. There are not many fighters that fit that mold. I am sure the UFC does not want to lose Henderson to Bellator, but I also don’t think they will break the bank for him. It will be interesting to see what Bellator offers him, as they will surely be interested in him. Dong Ho Choi also stood out to me on this card, as he dusted veteran Sam Sicilia in less than two minutes. Choi is South Korea’s hottest prospect at the moment, and he looks like a future top ten fighter. The 24 year old is a gifted athlete with exceptional technique, precision, accuracy, and shot selection. I am quite interested in seeing who he gets matched up with next. Final UFC Fight Night 79 Grade: B
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