TOP FC 8 Recap: Two new champions crowned, Kim Dong-Hyun and Kwak Kwan-Ho

LW Grand Prix Winner Kim Dong-Hyun - Courtesy of Paul Thompson
LW Grand Prix Winner Kim Dong-Hyun – Photo Courtesy of Paul Thompson

On August 15th, 2015, TOP FC 8 took place at Olympic Hall in Seoul, South Korea. Kim Dong-Hyun dominated Kang Jung-Min to win the LW Grand Prix, Kwak Kwan-Ho snatched up the first ever Bantamweight title, and Jung Yoo-Jin weathered a storm on the feet to tap out Naouel Bourbia.

On a muggy summer night, Top Fighting Championship turned up the heat a little more with combatants throwing hard leather and showing tremendous ground skills. A little bit of everything that could possibly happen on a fight card materialized.

The main card had two championship bouts, a come from behind win out of nowhere, a contest that had the crowd on the edge of their seats but ended uneventfully, and a women’s strawweight match that did not disappoint.


Kim Dong-Hyun takes the LW Grand Prix

Even though the Lightweight Grand Prix final was over in the first round, it did not fall short. LW finalists “Maestro” Kim Dong-Hyun and “Dynamite” Kang Jung-Min met in the center of the cage and engaged from the start.

Kim was the aggressor from the beginning moving forward while keeping Kang on his heels. It was very obvious that the Team Mad product wanted to get close to take this contest to the ground and not stand and trade shots with the dangerous striker Kang.

After being taken down and slammed on his back, “Dynamite” looked visibly fatigued at the three and a half minute mark in the first frame. To his credit, Kang kept getting back to his feet and landed a clean counter left hook that rocked Kim. Kang swarmed, throwing haymakers but Kim ducked under and spun to drag the fight to the mat.

Kim Dong-Hyun choking Kang Jung-Min - Photo Courtesy of Paul Thompson
Kim Dong-Hyun choking Kang Jung-Min – Photo Courtesy of Paul Thompson

This was the beginning of the end for Kang. “Maestro” had the back and sunk in the hooks while peppering with short punches. Once Kim flattened out his opponent, he slid the arm in deep on the neck and locked in the rear-naked to get the tap.

Team Mad celebrating Kim Dong-Hyun's title - Photo Courtesy of Paul Thompson
Team Mad celebrating Kim Dong-Hyun’s title – Photo Courtesy of Paul Thompson

The 26 year-old Kim (13-6-3) becomes the inaugural Lightweight Champion by defeating both of his opponents in the first round at the same time utilizing the trademark style he has developed. It will be interesting to see who will be the next contender to challenge for the belt but don’t be surprised if “Dynamite” Kang comes back and gets another shot.


Kwak Kwan-Ho dominates to become the first BW Champion

These two exciting 135ers were even-steven in their previous matches but this one was for the all the marbles so there was no time for error. They came out strong from the start and most of the contest was a standing affair.

Even though “Big Gorilla” Park Han-Bin had his moments throughout the fight, he just could not put together anything that would damage his opponent. That is why “Handsome” Kwak Kwan-Ho took the fight into the third round and finished Park with powerful punches on the ground.

For most of the first round, the KTT phenom displayed good movement and used a lot of counters and kicks to control most of the round. Park, however, seemed to be looking to land power shots more than anything and therefore towards the end of the round he landed a knee and a headkick that had Kwak temporarily running backwards.

Early in the second frame, Kwak connected with a devastating overhand right that crumbled the Tristone disciple but somehow he got up and recovered from the onslaught that came after. Despite a brief timeout for an accidental eye poke, “Handsome” worked from the outside landing at will and even got a takedown with seconds left to solidify the round.

Kwak Kwan-Ho and Park Han-Bin - Photo Courtesy of Paul Thompson
Kwak Kwan-Ho and Park Han-Bin – Photo Courtesy of Paul Thompson

The final sequence was in the third round when Park shot in for a double-leg but ended up rolling onto his back. That is when Kwak jumped on top and started throwing down hammerfists. Park took about twenty unanswered punches but still kept defending until the ref saw enough to stop the fight.

TOP FC BW Champ Kwak Kwan-Ho - Photo Courtesy of Paul Thompson
TOP FC BW Champ Kwak Kwan-Ho – Photo Courtesy of Paul Thompson

Kwak Kwan-Ho (7-0) now becomes the first ever Bantamweight Champion for Top Fighting Championship. This young talent has shown a lot of promise by going undefeated with 6 of his 7 wins coming via TKO/KO. Many Korean fans want to see him take his aggressive style into the Octagon, however it would not be such a bad idea to defend his title and rack up a little more experience before he enters the big leagues. At the end of the day, if the UFC comes with that contract it will be difficult for any fighter to deny that invitation.


Accidental Eye Poke ends crucial title eliminator

The anticipated match-up between “Dynamic Monkey” Han Seung-Hwa and “Big Mouse” Kim Dong-Gyu was ended early due to an unintentional finger to the eye of Han yet the fight up to that point had the crowd going nuts.

At the start of the first round, both fighters were very tentative and looked to establish their range with nothing really connecting. Then at about the two and half minute mark, Han landed an uppercut to the body that knocked his opponent back. Shortly thereafter, He connected with a left hand that dropped Kim again and swarmed with combinations. “Big Mouse” was in big trouble so Han took him down and pounded on him some more there. Somehow, Kim got back up while still taking shot after shot and threw a spinning elbow flush behind the ear of Han. This time Kim jumped in and rocked Han with combinations until the bell sounded.

TOp FC FWs Han Seung-Hwan and Kim Dong-Gyu - Photo Courtesy fo Paul Thompson
TOP FC FWs Han Seung-Hwa and Kim Dong-Gyu – Photo Courtesy of Paul Thompson

The second round had a few light exchanges and a scramble and then the unthinkable happened. When Han was coming in for a combination, Kim reached out with his left hand and his fingers inserted into the eye. The doctors came in and really inspected it for the full five minutes and decided he could not continue because he was unable to open his eye properly.

This kind of puts a damper on the featherweight division since these two were supposed to determine the next challenger for the champion, Choi Young-Gwang. He has not fought since he won the belt last February at TOP FC 5. Actually, this opens the door for a rematch between the champion and FW Grand Prix finalist Jo Sung-Won. The FW Grand Prix Final is a fight of the year candidate and most fans would not mind seeing them go at it again.


Jung Yoo-Jin shows grappling prowess

It was a rocky start for “Hello Kitty” Jung Yoo-Jin on the feet but she closed it out within the first frame.

Naouel Bourbia, a boxer from France making her pro MMA debut, was game from the onset throwing hillbilly haymakers at Jung and connecting enough to where the South Korean had to clinch to take it to the floor. Once there, Bourbia was able to escape the first time but the second time around she got mounted instantly. Jung reigned down punches and elbows that made the Phuket Top Team product give up her arm and therefore “Hello Kitty” locked in a belly down armbar for the submission win.

TOP FC SWs Jung Yoo-Jin and Naouel Bourbia - Photo Courtesy of Paul Thompson
TOP FC SWs Jung Yoo-Jin and Naouel Bourbia – Photo Courtesy of Paul Thompson

Now, Jung (2-3) has won two straight for the TOP FC organization and quickly becoming the face of the women’s divison. In her next bout, she will need to fight someone with a little more experience to really test how far she come in the last year.


Comeback Fight of the Night

Two up-and-coming featherweights, Kwon Won-Il and Kim Sung-Hyun, put on a fight that was short but sweet.

Once the bell rang these two warriors met in the middle of the cage and commenced to throw bombs. They were both connecting with clean shots and combinations were on full display. Suddenly, Kim threw a grenade right hand that buckled his adversary. Kwon, though, was able to recover and get back to his feet. Soon after, they got back to flinging their fists with Kim getting the better of the exchanges.

TOP FC FWs Kwon Won-Il chokes out Kim Sung-Hyun - Photo Courtesy of Paul Thompson
TOP FC FWs Kwon Won-Il chokes out Kim Sung-Hyun – Photo Courtesy of Paul Thompson

With about a minute left they clinched and Kwon was able to get a trip takedown and urgently transitioned to the back. He stuck in both hooks and launched into attacking the neck. The Extreme Combat representative easily got the arm under the chin and it was good night for Kim.

After being knocked down and rocked with punches for the first four minutes of the fight, Kwon (2-0) showed that he is a very durable fighter and someone to look out for in the featherweight division.


Listed below are the results of the main card:

TOP FC 8: Heart of a Champion
August 15th, 2015
Olympic Hall
Seoul, South Korea

-70kg Lightweight Grand Prix Final
Kang Jung-Min (MosGym) vs Kim Dong-Hyun (Team MAD)
Winner: Kim Dong-Hyun, Round 1 Rear-Naked Choke (4:07) *Lightweight Champion

-61kg Bantamweight Title Match
Kwak Kwan-Ho (KTT) vs Park Han-Bin (Tristone)
Winner: Kwak Kwan-Ho, Round 3 TKO (1:43) *Bantamweight Champion

-66kg Featherweight Match
Kim Dong-Gyu (Tristone) vs Han Seung-Hwa (First Gym)
Result: No Contest (Accidental Eye Poke)

-70kg Lightweight Match
Michael Ahn (KTT) vs Park Kyung-Soo (Extreme Combat)
Winner: Michael Ahn, Unanimous Decision (3:O)

-120kg Heavyweight Match
Lim Jun-Soo (Ring Entertainment) vs Jung Da-Un (Central Gym)
Winner: Lim Jun-Soo, Majority Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-29)

-52kg Women’s Strawweight Match
Jung Yoo-Jin (KTT) vs Naouel Bourbia (Phuket Top Team)
Winner: Jung Yoo-Jin, Round 1 Armbar (4:07)

-66kg Featherweight Match
Kim Sung-Hyun (Team MAD) vs Kwon Won-Il (Extreme Combat)
Winner: Kwon Won-Il, Round 1 Rear-Naked Choke (4:30)

-57kg Flyweight Match
Faromon Gafarov (Uzbek Top Team) vs Kwon Min-Soo (Gaon Gym)
Winner: Faromon Gafarov, Split Decision (30-29, 30-27, 29-30)