The Ultimate Fighter: China Finale Preview- The Prelims

The Ultimate Fighter: China Finale preliminary card features a handful of unknown fighters to casual MMA fans, but there are some fighters who have competed inside the UFC Octagon on occasions clustered throughout the night’s official preliminary card, including the ever-exciting Nam Phan. While all of the fights are streaming on the brand-new UFC Fight Pass, the card has been broken down with a main card and a preliminary card. The preliminary card kicks off the action at 5:45 AM eastern time on Saturday, leading to the main card capped off with a five-round welterweight bout between Dong Hyun Kim and John Hathaway. We have taken a look at the main card, and now let’s take a look at the preliminary card and see what the action on Saturday has in store for the viewing audience.

Lightweights
Kazuki Tokudome (12-4-1, 1-1 UFC) vs. Yui Chul Nam (17-4-1, 0-0 UFC)

The featured preliminary bout will be a lightweight contest as Kazuki Tokudome looks for his second UFC win when he welcomes Yui Chul Nam to the Octagon. Tokudome looks to rebound from a decision loss to Norman Parke at UFC 162 in July while Nam rides a four-fight win streak into his UFC debut. Tokudome is a black belt in judo and will stand-and-trade with his opponents while Nam has a powerful approach and comes straight forward in his fights. Nam is not the most technical striker, but he makes up for that with power and strength. He also has an iron chin, and while Tokudome packs some power with his punches, it won’t be enough to slow Nam down. Tokduome could land well on his feet, but he would be best advised to use his judo to score some takedowns and control the fight with ground-and-pound. Nam can be planted and held on the mat, and that may be where Tokudome’s small Octagon experience edge will come into play. However, as long as the fight is on the feet, it is Nam’s fight to lose.

Prediction: Nam

Bantamweights
Nam Phan (18-12, 2-5 UFC) vs. Vaughan Lee (13-9-1, 2-3 UFC)

Nam Phan and Vaughan Lee will meet in a bantamweight bout, and they are actually two of the most experienced fighters on this card. They are also struggling big time inside the Octagon. Phan has lost two straight fights and has just two wins in his seven bouts with the UFC, though he is well liked due to his exciting fighting style. Lee is coming off an injury that has kept him out of action since June, and he is looking to rebound from a loss to Raphael Assuncao. He also has just two wins in the UFC, but in five fights. There is a solid chance the loser of this fight could be cut, so there is a lot riding on the line. Phan has been in some close fights, and he has solid ability despite his record. He will be the better fighter on the feet as he puts together solid combinations and has good power. He is also very tough to finish and very durable as all seven of his UFC fights have gone the distance. Lee is a grappler at heart, but he also lives and dies by that as he has lost six times in his career by submission. In contrast, Phan has never lost by submission in 30 professional fights. Phan has black belts in judo, karate and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and while his record is spotty, his losses have come to tough foes, and he shouldn’t have much problem taking a decision from Lee.

Prediction: Phan

Welterweights
Zak Cummings (16-3, 1-0 UFC) vs. Alberto Mina (10-0, 0-0 UFC)

Zak Cummings makes his second Octagon appearance since competing on season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter as he welcomes Asian-based Brazilian Alberto Mina and his perfect record to the UFC. Cummings has won three straight fights and six of his last seven while Mina has won all ten of his professional fights. While Mina does have a black belt in jiu-jitsu and judo, he hasn’t faced anyone with the experience or skill that Cummings has in both of those areas. Mina has won all ten of his fights by stoppage, but his striking isn’t at the level that it needs to be to fight a veteran like Cummings. While Mina has slick ground skills, the wrestling of Cummings likely will be too strong for Mina to get him to the mat. Cummings also has good submission defense and Mina is unlikely to catch him there. The biggest test for Cummings will be whether the travel takes a toll on him. Cummings will be able to win the fight on the feet and avoid going to the mat, and he will take a decision.

Prediction: Cummings

Welterweights
Albert Cheng (2-2, 0-0 UFC) vs. Anying Wang (1-0, 0-0 UFC)

Both of these men competed on The Ultimate Fighter: China and made it to the semi-finals, though they traveled different roads. Wang advanced past his first fight in the house due to his opponent missing weight, but was eliminated in his first actual fight in the semifinals. Cheng was eliminated in his first fight but brought back as an injury replacement before being knocked out again. These two men are prime examples of the lack of experience of the TUF: China castmembers. Cheng has four fights in his career; Wang has just one professional fight. Neither man showed much on the reality show to show they will advance far in the UFC, and they look to be just filler talent on overseas shows on UFC Fight Pass. They are the kind of talent you can expect to see on the prelims of these cards. As for how the fight will go, Wang prefers to fight on the feet while Cheng likes to work on the ground. Cheng can be finished with ground-and-pound and Wang will need to open up his strikes. Wang by TKO.

Prediction: Wang

Featherweights
Jumabieke Tuerxun (14-0, 0-0 UFC) vs. Mark Eddiva (5-0, 0-0 UFC)

Jumabieke Tuerxun is probably the biggest name talent from China on the UFC roster, and he has been signed for quite some time. Contract issues have kept him from fighting in the UFC and kept him from being on TUF: China, but he finally gets to make his UFC debut after being out of action since November 2012. He has a perfect 14-0 record, and while he is fighting a weight class higher than normal, he should have not much of a problem handling Mark Eddiva. Eddiva is also making his UFC debut and while he has a 5-0 record, he hasn’t fought in over three years and his opposition has been less than adequate. Eddiva is hardly UFC-caliber right now, even for a prelim talent on an overseas UFC Fight Pass card. He can’t stop takedowns, and his striking leaves a lot to be desired. This fight is set up for Tuerxun to score the win, and it will come down to whether he gets a knockout, a submission or if it goes the full 15 minutes. Either way, Tuerxun gets the win.

Prediction: Tuerxun

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