Korean Knock Out Artist Hyun Gyu Lim Won’t Force the Finish at UFC Fight Night Manila

Fightland Blog

By James Goyder

Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Hyun Gyu Lim will be returning to a city that has historically been a happy hunting ground for him when he faces Neil Magny at UFC Fight Night Manila this May. The Korean won the PXC welterweight title there in 2011 with the sort of spectacular KO that has become his trademark.

Lim’s record stands at 13-4 and ten of those wins have come courtesy of a KO or TKO. His devastating power has been prevalent inside the Octagon where all three of his victories to date have been due to a stoppage via strikes.

Plenty of contenders come into the UFC with a number of knockouts to their name but few of them manage to enjoy the same level of success competing against the very best in the division, and Lim believes he has benefitted from taking a patient approach to putting opponent’s away.

“To be honest with you, despite my high number of finishes in my career I never really force anything. I feel the rhythm of the fight, and as I start to get more comfortable in the cage my training comes out. Everything that I’ve prepared starts to reveal itself and inevitably the KO happens. 

At the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on May 16th, he will be facing a man who has never been knocked out in his MMA career, but Lim is confident he will be able to find the finish when he takes on Neil Magny.

“It’s going to be the same for this fight, I want to establish my gameplan and let the fight unfold. If I can do that, then there will definitely be a finish."

Magny is riding a six fight UFC winning streak and has a lot of momentum behind him. Lim acknowledges his opponent will be the bookmaker’s favorite but believes he has what it takes to beat the American.

“His reach is definitely one of his strong points. He’s well rounded, and doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses in his game but I think I’m better in every aspect of the fight. I have more finishing power on the feet and more submission prowess on the ground. I relish being the underdog and I’ll be looking for the upset. “

Magny won five fights out of five in 2014, which tied Roger Huerta’s record for the most UFC victories in a calendar year. Meanwhile Lim only stepped inside the Octagon twice during the equivalent period and says he hopes to compete more regularly in the future.

“I definitely would like to be more active. After the Saffiedine fight I needed some time off but I made a full recovery and you can see the result when I fought Sato. Every fight is different and even a clean win yields some bumps and bruises but I would like to be more active in 2015.”

In the Saffiedine matchup Lim was on the receiving end of such a brutal barrage of low kicks that he needed carrying into the press conference afterwards but the 30-year-old nearly mounted a spectacular comeback in the fifth round when he hurt the Belgian badly.

“The first fight was a war and I learned a lot from it. I’m not specifically looking for a rematch, but if our paths cross again I’d definitely be willing to take that fight and I think another go would yield different results.”

While Lim couldn’t quite do enough in that final round to finish the fight he did secure a second successive $50,000 performance bonus. And he can consider himself extremely unfortunate that a first round TKO win over Tanekori Sato last September didn’t result in a similar windfall.

Unfortunately for Lim, his stoppage of Sato came on a UFC Fight Night 52 card which will go down in history as one of the most entertaining the promotion has ever put on and he is philosophical about missing out on what would have been a third bonus in four fights,

“Of course I was disappointed but there were so many good knockouts on the card that the competition was tough competition.  Did you see Mark Hunt’s uppercut? I felt it from the locker room!”

He is a member of Korean Top Team, which launched the career of former UFC 145 lbs title challenger Chan Sung Jung, and although ‘the Korean Zombie’ has long since left Lim says there is plenty more talent coming through the Seoul based camp.

“There are so many good prospects but first and foremost is our team captain Jang Yong ‘The Beast’ Kim who’s the current PXC featherweight champ and a monster who has earned his nickname a hundred times over. I’m actually surprised he’s not in the UFC already and I think he’d make a great and exciting addition to the featherweight roster.”

Sean Shelby is surely keeping a close eye on ‘The Beast’ who will be looking for a fourth straight submission win when he defends his PXC 145 lbs title in Guam this Friday night and another KTT standout, welterweight Tae Hyung Bang, will also be in action on May 16th.

The UFC’s other Korean welterweight is Dong Hyun Kim and he has complained vociferously about the problems that Asian fighters face when they compete in the US but Lim says he has no such qualms about being asked to travel.

“To be honest, I don’t really mind where I fight. Granted, there are some advantages to fighting in Asia, namely I get to finish my training camp at KTT with all my partners and there’s no jetlag (I hate jetlag!), but when the UFC calls I’m down to fight anywhere.”

Jetlag won’t be an issue for Lim at UFC Fight Night Manila and having held a title with a promotion that puts on cards in the Philippines he hopes the crowd at the SM Mall of Asia Arena will get behind him,

“I was a longtime PXC contender and won my title in Manila and despite being a Korean fighter the fans from the Philippines always gave me their support.”

With three stoppage wins in four fights, Lim is rapidly establishing himself as one of the most entertaining and explosive fighters on the roster. If the Korean starts to find his rhythm and feel comfortable in the cage at UFC Fight Night Manila another knockout could well be on the cards.


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