(What is it with guys in leopard-print manties and nutshots?)
Former UFC and PRIDE standout Denis Kang (32-12-1 2NC) will step into the cage for the first time since losing to Michael Bisping at UFC 105 last November when he squares off against Dae Won Kim (11-5-0) under the Warrior One banner, June 19 in Montreal. W-1 officials confirmed the news to CagePotato.com last night.
If you recall, Kim is the Korean judoka who spoiled Brazilian grappling phenom Marcelo Garcia‘s MMA debut in 2007 and may have effectively retired him from the sport as Garcia has intimated that he may never fight again. Since teaching Garcia that punches in the face make jiu-jitsu less effective, Kim has only fought once, racking up a TKO loss against Melvin Manhoef in 2008.
Kang will make his long-awaited W-1 debut at the summer event after a neck injury forced him from a planned March 20 meeting with Vernon "Tiger" White. He also had to withdraw from a contracted slot on the upcoming April 20 ASTRA card, but says the month resting on the sidelines did him good:
"I’m happy to finally be back in the gym, but I’m disappointed that I couldn’t fight on the last card or at the ASTRA show," Kang told CagePotato. "I’m itching to get back in there. It wouldn’t have been fair to me or my fans to try to fight without being prepared or hurt. I feel great now and I’m looking forward to this fight."
W-1 president Jack Bateman says that not only the French-Korean Canadian’s fans in the Great White North will be able to see the fight. Thanks to a new television deal with Fox Sports, the faithful fan bases that Kang developed fighting for the UFC in America, PRIDE and DREAM in Japan and SpiritMC and K-1 Hero’s in Korea will also be able to catch the bout in syndicated replays.
"The deal with Fox is going to allow us to get some incredible fights to fans who normally wouldn’t be able to see them, because of where they live," Bateman told CagePotato. "Fox is going to take the best fights from each of our shows and put them together into a special weekly program that features some of the best world class MMA."
Unlike most promoters, Bateman, who asserts that he is a fan first and foremost, says that he would like nothing more than to see Kang rack up a few wins and make it back to one of the big shows. It’s because of treatment like this that Bateman has been able to attract so much talent away from other more recognizable promotions. Established fighters such as John Alessio, Carlos Newton, Shonie Carter, Antonio Carvalho and Jason MacDonald have all competed on the promotion’s first two cards.
Kang says W-1′s commitment to its fighters is what sets the promotion apart from its competitors.
"Jack is a great guy and he knows a ton about the sport," Kang explains. "I was approached by a lot of promotions about fighting for them, but for me, to be able to fight at home for a promoter who takes good care of you and is honest made it an easy decision to make to fight for them."
Additional fights on the card will be announced here as they are signed. A larger venue for the event is being finalized and should be revealed soon.