SEOUL — “He is a tough kid who came to fight,” Denis Kang said after his victory. “Everyone was telling me how quickly they expected me to win, but everyone is tough now days.”
Friday night at the Grand Hilton Hotel Convention Centre, Kang earned a unanimous decision over fellow Pride Fighting Championships veteran Eun Soo Lee in the headliner of Road FC 2 “Alive.”
The bout saw virtually no clinch work but plenty of indecisive referee
intervention. Three rounds and three yellow cards later, Kang eked out
the decision win.
During the first round, Kang and his corner repeatedly complained of
punches to the back of the head from Lee. Almost as if in response to a
command, the referee stopped the fight, issued the first yellow card to
Lee and then inexplicably resumed the fight standing.
Kang (top) vs. Lee.
The second frame saw Kang score a low single-leg midway through the
round, transitioning from side control to Lee’s back. However, Kang lost
the dominant position trying to secure the hooks. On the feet, it was a
back-and forth contest of uppercuts and knees, but Kang’s better
conditioning was beginning to show.
“By the end of the first, I knew he wasn’t going to shoot, so I wasn’t
falling for his feints anymore,” said Kang post-fight. “I was able to
adjust my game plan accordingly.”
In the third, again there was a stoppage followed by dead time, during
which neither fighter was sure if he should re-engage. In this instance,
a bizarre double-yellow was issued: one to Lee for more punches to the
back of the head and one to Kang for more complaining about punches to
the back of the head.
In the end, Kang took home the unanimous decision, and Lee’s request for
an immediate rematch was accepted by Kang, provided that the rematch is
fought at his natural weight of 185 pounds.
Though Road FC does provide hope for much of Korea’s vast sub-middleweight talent pool in the wake of Spirit MC,
the Achilles’ heel of Korean MMA remains: no big fighters. When Kang
was racking up a 6-1 record as a middleweight in Pride, he was the
heavyweight champion in Sprit MC. Road Fighting Championship may have
filled the Grand Hilton Convention Center at $50 a ticket and secured a
television contract with the cable network XTM, but the promotion lacks
top-tier talent above welterweight
“That was a tough fight at 205 pounds,” added Kang. “But now that I made
it though, 185 pounds is my best weight and that’s where I’m going to