John Hathaway is hoping he’ll be able to revive a stalled career this weekend when he tangles with Dong-Hyun Kim in the main event of the UFC’s TUF: China finale. Hathaway is hoping to produce some positive results this year and make a name for himself in the welterweight landscape after being sidelined all of 2013 because of health-related issues. Kim will be looking to possibly work his way into the top-10 rankings if he can register a fourth consecutive victory.
“The Hitman” has a solid 17-1 career mark but has become a forgotten figure in the 170-pound weight class as he hasn’t competed since a decision victory over John Maguire back in 2012. Hathaway has seven UFC wins to his credit in eight appearances with the most high-profile triumphs having come by decision against Diego Sanchez and Rick Story. A victory over the tough South Korean would go a long way towards rejuvenating his stock and would be a solid start to achieving the goals he’s set out for himself in 2014. However, the no. 11 ranked Kim is a very formidable first test back for Hathaway after being out of action for the past seventeen months.
Kim is fresh off a career best performance when he destroyed Erick Silva in the second round of their clash at Fight Night 29 in Brazil. It was Kim’s seventh career KO and produced a Knockout of the Night bonus. Kim’s grappling skills are top-shelf and have allowed him to compile a strong 9-2-1 record during his Octagon career including victories against Siyar Bahadurzada and Paulo Thiago. Kim is a tremendous wrestler and has the ability to dictate the tempo of the contest by taking his opponents to the mat and wearing them down. Once the powerful “Stun Gun” is on top of his foe, he’s awfully difficult to move from that dominant top position.
Two physically imposing competitors with a tendency to go to the judges’ scorecards could lead to a grinding affair this weekend. Hathaway has had very little positive career momentum in the last year or so, but that could change with an impressive showing in Macau. As for Kim, if he can build off a devastating victory over Silva by derailing another talented prospect, he should put himself in line for some major opportunities moving forward.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports