After a disappointing performance at UFC 174 that derailed his welterweight title hopes, Tyron Woodley is getting a major opportunity to redeem himself.
“The Chosen One” will be making a quick turnaround by filling in for an injured Hector Lombard against Dong-Hyun Kim at Fight Night 48 in Macau, China. The pivotal 170-pound matchup will serve as the co-main event on the August 23 card. The announcement of the change was made by UFC President Dana White, who’s currently on a media tour of Asia to promote the event.
White had been highly critical of Woodley’s effort in his recent unanimous decision loss to Rory MacDonald in Vancouver, saying that he was beaten both physically and mentally and had a tendency to choke in big fights. Woodley’s five-fight UFC tenure has been a highly inconsistent one that has featured explosive knockouts which have been offset by lackluster performances.
He looked terrific in victories over Carlos Condit, Josh Koscheck and Jay Hieron, but had his explosive offense stifled in losses to MacDonald and Jake Shields. The no. 4-ranked Woodley has formidable punching power and an impressive wrestling background. He will have to be at this best in looking to derail the surging and physically-imposing Kim.
“Stun Gun” has undergone a remarkable Octagon transformation from a smothering grappler to a knockout artist. He’s delivered back-to-back impressive finishes, including a Knockout of the Year candidate in his last fight in March at the TUF China finale. The aggressive South Korean earned a Performance of the Night bonus and became the first man to knock out John Hathaway.
Kim is currently riding a four-fight win streak since his last loss to Demian Maia. The no. 9-ranked Kim has defeated Hathaway, Erick Silva, Siyar Bahadurzada and Paulo Thiago to emerge as a legitimate force in the 170-pound division.
While Lombard vs. Kim was originally a highly attractive matchup, Woodley is about as solid an injury replacement as the organization could have hoped for. He brings many of the same components as “Lightning” with his knockout capabilities and tremendous strength.
This is a very meaningful welterweight matchup that should produce fireworks between two highly motivated competitors. Kim can insert himself into title contention with another impressive effort, while Woodley will be looking to erase the bitter sting of a poor showing in his last appearance.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports