TOP FC 9: Battle of Incheon will transpire at Incheon Samsan World Gymnasium in South Korea on October 24th. This event will be headlined by a middleweight title bout as well as feature other known names in the Korean MMA scene.
With MMA in Korea growing at an accelerating rate, fight teams have been popping up all over the country. It is only natural that young prospects will need a place to compete and Top Fighting Championship has given them that avenue. As a result, the Korean promotion will be having their fifth event of the year, which will be the first ever in the port city of Incheon.
Even though there are many clashes between up-and-coming fighters, all the focus will be on the main event of the night between Kim Jae-Young and Matt Horwich that will determine the inaugural middleweight kingpin for TOP FC.
In addition to the championship contest, two top contenders in the featherweight division, Jo Sung-Won and Kim Dong-Gyu, will be taking on their respective opponents to figure out a possible challenger for the reigning champ Choi Yeong-Gwang.
Now, lets take a look at some of the incredible match-ups on the main card.
Kim Jae-Young (19-10) vs Matt Horwich (29-22-1) *Middleweight Title Match
The main event of the night features two veterans of the sport, Korean Kim Jae-Young and American Matt Horwich, battling for the first ever middleweight championship title.
Kim, the Nova MMA anchor, has fought the best in Spirit MC, ROAD FC and TOP FC in Korea.
During his time at Spirit MC, he competed with likes of Hector Lombard, Denis Kang (twice) and Lee Eun-Soo. One of the those fights against Kang was at Spirit MC 18 for the middleweight title but he fell short losing via knocked out in the first round.
For ROAD FC, he took on the extremely volatile Dutch kickboxer Melvin Manhoef and held his own despite failing on the judges scorecards at the end of 2012 at their 9th event.
Most recently, he has been ripping through every middleweight that has stepped across from him since the end of 2013. For the promotion, he has five wins and his only lose is to newly re-signed UFC fighter Yang Dongi in his debut back at TOP FC 1.
Horwich, on the other hand, has been out of action since the end of 2013. Even though he is a veteran of the IFL, UFC and KSW, having such a long layoff is not good for any competitor in any sport especially MMA. He has accumulated a total of 52 fights in the realm of mixed martial arts. The experience that he has piled up is an intangible that nobody can deny.
The American has competed for 12 years and taken on big names such as Glover Teixeria, Josh Burkman, Thales Leites and Benji Radach. He is an expert on the ground with 21 of his 29 victories coming by way of submission. His go to move is the rear-naked choke which means he is very dangerous on anyone’s back. Also, he is a threat off his back with a few triangle chokes to his credit.
This matchup has striker versus grappler written all over it but it is a little more complicated than that.
The Korean is a power puncher with some decent wrestling in his arsenal. Even though his team is NOVA MMA, he spends a lot of time at Korean Top Team honing his grappling skills with some of the best on the Korean Peninsula. At any point in the match it hits the ground he just needs to makes sure he is on top and not vice versa. Also, the “Fighter in the Wind” has no problem taking punches to land the shots he wants and this can be a big concern for Horwich. With knock out power in both hands and vicious ground and pound, Kim will try to take out the UFC veteran quickly.
Horwich has the cards stacked against him because of a variety of factors such as not stepping into the cage in two years and fighting in Asia for the first time dealing with the time difference that has affected many of the fighters in previous events. However, Horwich is a seasoned professional and has the skills to pull off the upset. He should not make this a drawn out three round war. Instead, go for the kill early and attempt as many submissions as possible before it gets too slippery. If Denis Kang can choke him out then the American should be able to do the same.
Kim Eun-Soo (7-3) vs Bruno Carvalho (15-10)
Originally, this contest was between ex-UFC welterweight Takenori Sato and Kim Eun-Soo but the former sustained a back injury during training which led him to pull out just two weeks out. One man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity and this is the case for the Brazilian Bruno Carvalho. He steps in for the injured Japanese fighter and will face the surging Korean in the co-main event.
Kim, the Nova MMA mainstay, is 5-1 for TOP FC with none of his bouts going to the judges. His combination of effectively devastating strikes and timely takedowns have made him difficult to beat and one of the most exciting fighters in the promotion.
In his last performance at TOP FC 7, Kim took on Jung Sung-Jik of Korean Top Team, a kickboxer making his MMA debut, in the middleweight divison. Although “Hulk” was stepping into the cage as a huge favorite, he displayed a lot of maturity and patience throughout every round by taking his time and dismantling the newbie with precision punching and groundwork eventually finishing the fight in the last frame via rear-naked choke.
Stepping in on late-notice is Cage Warriors veteran Bruno Carvalho who is a 3rd degree BJJ black belt and 2nd degree Judo black belt which means he is a shark on the mat. Ironically, he has more TKO/KO wins than submissions in the realm of mixed martial arts. He has collided with some very high level fighters on the European circuit such as Cathal Pendred and Marius Zaromski.
Five months ago, at Superior Challenge 12 he faced Mohammed Abdallah in a welterweight bout in Sweden. “BC” did not fair well against his opponent in that he was worked on the feet and finished in little over two minutes of the first round with punches. This extended his losing streak to four fights in a two year span.
Both these fighters are coming into this matchup at different phases of their careers. Kim is continuing his rise up the ladder of MMA and looking for veterans to make his name off of while Carvalho is trying to stay in the game and not drop his fifth in a row.
Look for the Korean to keep this fight standing and using power shots and his speed to take out the Brazilian early. He should not take chances against the ground specialist since all his loses are via submission.
At the same time, Carvalho needs to use his striking to clinch and utilize trips to drag Kim to the mat and work his magic in top position. “BC” should not stand and bang with Kim because his opponent has an iron chin and can take punches with ease.
Jo Sung-Won (3-2-1) vs Lee Min-Gu (3-2)
Two young prospects, Team Mad representative Jo Sung-Won and Korean Top Team product Lee Min-Gu, will face off to see who can move up the rankings in the featherweight division. They are currently top ten in the their weight class, therefore, a win for either could line them up for a number one contender match or even a title shot depending on how it all ends.
Jo, 26 years old, is returning to action since losing a close decision in a fight of the year candidate for the title in the Featherweight Grand Prix Finals to Choi Yeong-Gwang at TOP FC 5. Though he was rocked and knocked down multiple times, the “Mad Kangaroo” exhibited a brick of a chin and unrelenting will to give the other finalist a run for his money. Jo will be looking to take out his opponent in spectacular fashion to get the rematch every fan is waiting for.
However, the 25 year old Lee can put Jo’s wishes to sleep literally. He is a devastating striker with accuracy and an inclination to throw every appendage with bad intentions. In his last appearance at TOP FC 7 in May against the always tough Kim Sung-Hyun, he connected with a left head kick that rocked Kim and as he was getting back up Lee flew in with a missile of a knee for the KO victory. Lee can jump the pecking order in the featherweight division by doing what the current champion could not and that is taking out Jo and not going to the scorecards.
Since Lee has more of a Muay-Thai stance with power behind everything he slings, he will likely be trying to keep the contest standing and concentrating on taking his opponent’s head off. Sprawling is another key to his victory since Jo comes from a camp that emphasize a lot on grappling.
Jo, on the other hand, has a very unorthodox style. He likes to work angles and slide in and out with punches while mixing in leg kicks from time to time. The “Mad Kangaroo” has the advantage on the ground and that is where he should go instead of testing his striking against Lee. He needs to go in there and fight smart by dragging it to the mat and submitting Lee since he is suspect in that arena.
Roque Martinez (7-4-1) vs Jung Da-Un (1-1)
In the only heavyweight tilt on the main card, Gaum native Roque Martinez is going to collide with promising South Korean Jung Da-Un.
Roque Martinez, the DEEP and PXC veteran, most recently competed as a 205er at TOP FC 7 against the dangerous Kim Doo-Hwan and put on an impressive showing as the underdog leading to a split decision win. The biggest moment was in the first round when Martinez caught Kim with a knee that rocked him and put him on the canvas. For the rest of the contest, he was able to use close range boxing to land cleaner shots and wrestle when he needed to get it to the ground.
The South Korean heavyweight is new to the game and at 21 years old, he is still developing his skills as the days pass. He turned pro just last May and has stayed busy going 1-1 since. In his debut at TOP FC 7, he was able to finish Lee Hyung-Chul with back-to-back left hooks in the middle of the first round. His second outing was against a much more experienced Lim Jun-Soo at TOP FC 8. Lim landed leg kick after leg kick disabling Jung’s movement and power in his punches. The youngster did have some moments against the cage landing combinations but Lim just stood there and ate them like marshmallows. At the end of regulation the judges gave the nod to Lim but there could have been an argument for Jung.
Jung is taking a huge step up in competition for just having a few fights. If his previous fights are any indication, he is going out there and looking to throw hard leather. He does have the reach and height advantage but Martinez just faced a fighter that is identical to him in those aspects but much more well-rounded. Jung’s only chance is to keep his distance and work the jab from afar at the same time flinging leg kicks to the calf area. He does not want to get wild with Martinez because Jung will just end up on his back.
The Spike 22 fighter will possibly utilize a game plan comparable to the one against Kim Doo-Hwan. The only difference is he will take more chances to finish the fight since Jung does not have much time clocked in the cage. The area where Martinez will excel in is wrestling and he most likely will end it all on the the mat with ground and pound.
Kim Dong-Gyu (4-1) vs Jang Won-Jun (2-0)
The other featherweight matchup of significance on the main card has Tristone’s Kim Dong-Gyu taking on Korean Top Team’s Jang Won-Jun.
“Big Mouse”, 23 years of age, is making a quick turnaround seeing that he just took on Han Seung-Hwa in a title eliminator bout at TOP FC 8 last August which ended uneventfully due to an accidental eye poke in the middle of the second round. However, the first round was very entertaining to say the least. Han came out and landed big punches even dropping Kim and having him in all kinds of trouble while pounding him on the ground, yet Kim got up and connected with a spinning elbow and then commenced to rocking Han for the rest of the round against the fence. Kim has to perform well to impress the TOP FC brass if he wants that title shot he should of earn in his last outing.
“Hellboy”, 28 years old, is the undefeated Jang Won-Jun’s nickname and many say that it is very fitting under the circumstances. He was born with an underdeveloped right hand that is virtually missing all the fingers but this does not impede his growth as a mixed martial artist. In both of his professional bouts for TOP FC, Jang exhibited an all-around game with decent grappling, snapping leg kicks and a looping left hook that he uses to start his combinations or to counter.
The Tristone timebomb loves to stand and bang incorporating spinning backfists, standing elbows and a destructive right hand. He also possesses speed that Jang has never seen in the cage and a chin made of steel that he displayed for the first three minutes in his last fight at TOP FC 8. Kim does his best in the middle of a storm so anticipate him to draw “Hellboy” into a shot for shot contest.
Jang is getting his biggest opportunity of his young career to upset one of the top 145ers in the Korean promotion. It might be a case of too much, too early for the unblemished fighter but he does train with the killers at Korean Top Team. He should not stand with Kim but instead lure him into trading and then dump him on his back. Jang will be the much bigger fighter so grinding on Kim will be beneficial for taking it into the later rounds.
TOP FC: Battle of Incheon
October 24th, 2015
Incheon Samsan World Gymnasium
Incheon, South Korea
Main Event Middleweight Title Match (-84kg)
Kim Jae-Young (Nova MMA) vs Matt Horwich (Kings MMA)
Catchweight Match (-80kg)
Kim Eun-Soo (Nova MMA) vs Bruno Carvalho (Team Quest Thailand)
Featherweight Match (-66kg)
Jo Sung-Won (Team MAD) vs Lee Min-Gu (Korean Top Team)
Heavyweight Match (-120kg)
Roque Martinez (Spike 22) vs Jung Da-Un (Central Gym)
Welterweight Match (-77kg)
Park Jun-Yong (World Top Team) vs Son Sung-Won (Team MAD)
Bantamweight Match (-61kg)
Kim Dong-Gyu (Tristone) vs Jang Won-Jun (Korean Top Team)
Welterweight Match (-77kg)
Kim Han-Seul (Korean Top Team) vs Kim Jae-Woong (Cheonan MMA)
Bantamweight Match (-61kg)
Ahn Jung-Hyun (Octagon Multi-Gym) vs Jung Han-Kuk (Team MAD)