- UFC Fight Night 37
Kim stuns Hathaway at Fight Night 37March 2, 2014 « Dimitrov secures Acapulco title | Chartbeat test »
In a wide-open UFC welterweight division, South Korean Dong Hyun Kim is making his move.
Kim (19-2-1) looked nothing like the technical grinder he's been throughout the majority of his 10-year career, turning his bout against John Hathaway at UFC Fight Night 37 in Macau, China into a wild brawl.
The strategy ultimately produced a good result, as Kim landed a devastating spinning back elbow 1:02 into the third round for a knockout win.
The finish might even top his last performance - a one-punch knockout over Erick Silva in October.
"There's no stopping," said Kim, on his suddenly aggressive style. "I'm going to continue to come forward, forward, forward."
That was obviously the game plan against Hathaway (17-2), who was fighting for the first time in 17 months.
From the instant referee Leon Roberts started the fight, Kim was on him, and even nodded any time the Brit connected during an exchange. He hurt Hathaway within the first 15 seconds of the fight, coming over the top with a right hand to Hathaway's temple that had him staggered.
Hathaway responded by securing a bodylock takedown, but Kim bounced up and continued to move forward. Hathaway managed to adapt and settle down following the initial - perhaps unexpected - onslaught. He perfectly timed several hard knees to Kim's midsection and started ducking out of the way of Kim haymakers. Hathaway opened up with high elbow strikes on the inside.
Late in the second round, Kim secured his only takedown of the fight - something that, until recently, he's been mostly known for. He appeared to have some advantage on the ground, as he passed into side control before the end of the round.
That late grappling success did not discourage him to change course in the next frame, however, as he went back to putting his head down and plodding forward with non-stop, often wild strikes.
The constant pressure was eventually too much for Hathaway to deal with. He attempted to back Kim off with an elbow but came up short, which opened the window for Kim's highlight-reel finish.
"I can not tell you how happy I am," Kim said. "I think I draw energy from all the fans from Korea who are here - all the Asian fans."
Kim has now won four in a row, including finishes in his last two fights. He is 10-2 in since signing with the UFC in 2008, with losses to Demian Maia and Carlos Condit. His wins include victories over Nate Diaz, TJ Grant and Matt Brown.
Earlier in the night, the first-ever Chinese edition of The Ultimate Fighter reality series crowned a champion in Zhang Lipeng.
Lipeng (7-7-1) defeated Wang Sai via split decision. Two judges saw the bout the same, 29-28 for Lipeng. A third turned in a puzzling score of 30-27 for Sai.
Heavyweight Matt Mitrione (7-3), whose fighting career got off to a late start following a run in professional American football, scored the sixth knockout of his career with a win over Shawn Jordan with one second remaining in the first round.
A short flurry by Mitrione off the clinch initially stunned Jordan (15-6). He tried to hide it and calmly circle out, but Mitrione walked him down and unloaded a combination of punches with Jordan's back to the fence.
Jordan was nearly saved by the bell, but he collapsed from a final left hand to the chin, which prompted referee Dan Miragliotta to step in at the 4:59 mark.
"I didn't want to force the knockout. I just had to let it come," Mitrione said.
Japanese featherweight Hatsu Hioki put an end to a three-fight losing streak with a unanimous decision victory over Ivan Menjivar.
Hioki (27-7-2), who actually turned down a UFC title shot in 2012, outclassed Menjivar on the ground and survived a right hand knockdown in the third round en route to the decision. All three judges scored the bout or Hioki, 29-28.
This article originally appeared on ESPN.com