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UFC 93: The New Guys

(Denis Kang: There can be only one. Photo courtesy of

From international stars to local yokels, this Saturday’s UFC event in Dublin will feature another crop of fighters who will be scrappin’ in the Octagon for the first time. Read on, and you’ll know just as much as Mike Goldberg…

?Experience: 31-10-1 record, with 15 wins by submission and 12 by KO/TKO. Is the reigning Sprit MC heavyweight (80kg+) champion and was a finalist in PRIDE’s 2006 welterweight grand prix. Holds notable victories over Murilo Rua, Amar Suloev, Akihiro Gono, and Marvin Eastman.
Will be facing: Alan Belcher (13-5, 4-3 UFC)
?Lowdown: Chances are, you’re already familiar with “The Super Korean.” Kang became a consensus top ten middleweight (and superstar in Asia) after going on a 22-1-1 run from April 2003 to March 2007, but his momentum was stalled following back-to-back losses to Yoshihiro Akiyama and Gegard Mousasi. Still, the Canadian BJJ black belt is a huge acquisition for the UFC, and the most credible threat to Anderson Silva’s middleweight title since Dan Henderson. Interestingly, this isn’t the first time that the UFC has tried to bring Kang aboard; he was offered a spot on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, but turned it down in order to compete in Korea. Kang had previously trained with American Top Team in Florida, but has recently been working out in Montreal with Georges St. Pierre due to some visa issues which are close to being settled.

?Experience: 13-5 record, primarily in Brazilian leagues like Heat FC, Meca, and the International Vale Tudo Championship. Currently on a nine-fight win streak. ?Ten of his 18 fights have gone to decision; one of those decisions was a loss to Matt Hughes in 2000.
Will be facing: Martin Kampmann (13-2, 4-1 UFC)
?Lowdown: Who knows, maybe “Baixinho” could pull a Junior Dos Santos, and score a dramatic win over an established UFC vet after being plucked from Brazilian obscurity. But most likely he’s just being brought in to give Kampmann a relatively easy first fight at welterweight. Judging from this highlight reel, the Gracie Barra Combat Team member is aggressive with his hands and likes to throw the head kick. Still, he hasn’t beaten anybody close to UFC caliber. We don’t predict big things.

?Experience: 10-2 record (7 wins by stoppage within the first minute), with multiple appearances in Cage Rage and Ultimate Warrior Challenge. Has won his last four fights, most recently a first-round KO of Claudio da Silva at a No Limits MMA event in August.
Will be facing: Tomasz Drwal (14-2, 0-1 UFC)
?Lowdown: Serati’s “get in, get out, and go to the pub” style has made him a hot prospect in England. The 35-year-old native of Milan, Italy, is a former boxer with crazy knockout power who represents the Sure Grip Vale Tudo camp in Essex. Unless the UFC vetoes his selection, Serati will be walking out to the Italian national anthem.

?Experience: 3-0 record in Irish fight leagues, including the amazingly-named “Cage of Truth.” ?Last fought in September where he earned a TKO win over Jonny Shiels.
Will be facing: John Hathaway (see below)
?Lowdown: Was this really the most impressive local boy they could find? The Dublin-bred 20-year-old started fighting professionally last March, and has only been following the sport for about three years. (Noob!) Even he’s shocked that the world’s most prominent MMA organization came calling this soon, telling "I’d have probably liked to be around 10-0 or 15-0 before entering the UFC." Egan is a member of the Pro Team Ireland crew, and trains at SBG Dublin under John Kavanagh, the only BJJ black belt in Ireland.

?Experience: 9-0 (5 wins by first-round stoppage), with multiple appearances in Cage Rage and ZT Fight Night. ?
Will be facing: Tom Egan
?Lowdown: Just like Egan, Hathaway is a young, undefeated, well-rounded prospect who is a bit shocked that he’s now a UFC fighter. Hailing from Brighton, England, the 21-year-old is a standout at the London Shootfighters camp, and works part-time as a personal trainer. There’s not much else to say about him, so we’ll leave you with this quote: “If the Irish fans are going to boo me they’re going to boo me. There’s nothing I can say or do to change that. So long as I put on a good show and do what I need to do, I’m sure it will play out fine."

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(Denis Kang vs. Murilo Rua @ PRIDE Bushido 11, 6/4/06)

(Tom Egan vs. Arturas Pranckevicius @ Cage of Truth, 3/8/08)

(John Hathaway vs. Jack Mason @ Cage Rage 28, 9/20/08)

(Ivan Serati vs. Frantisek Smetanka @ UWC 7, 5/31/08)

Cagepotato Comments

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The bloc- January 12, 2009 at 2:56 pm
fuck yeah kang! i hope he does well..(i know he will)
Jay Smith- January 12, 2009 at 10:52 am
And I got 2 words for you,
No one can beat Anderson Silva! (ok 6 words)
Bas Rutten- January 12, 2009 at 9:49 am
"Still, the Canadian BJJ black belt is a huge acquisition for the UFC, and the most credible threat to Anderson Silva’s middleweight title since Dan Henderson."

2 words for you, Demian Maia.
HowsMyLocoPlataTaste- January 12, 2009 at 8:58 am
Hasn't Hathaway been at Legends training with Eddie Bravo recently?
ADW- January 12, 2009 at 8:22 am
Dennis Kang is going to do very well in the UFC. At the very least he will shake up the MW divison a little. And I too want to see him kick the shit out of Michael Bisping.
Jugger- January 12, 2009 at 7:09 am
Kang is a great acquisition but could very easily lose to any one of the MW's gatekeepers. I can't believe I'm saying this but... I hope they don't throw him at Nate Marquart, Maia or Okami. I hope they just cycle him right on through to Anderson Silva (much like they did Cote). After Leites, Anderson will be in dire need of some fresh meat.
Teila Tuli's Tooth- January 12, 2009 at 6:56 am
Kinda like Gilbert Yvel, you'd just have to take out the word accidental.
Surfin Dave- January 12, 2009 at 6:46 am
Looks like Denis is practicing his accidental eye-poke in the picture.
Jeffro- January 12, 2009 at 6:44 am
I think Kang will do very well in the UFC. I want to see him beat the fuck out of Bisping. Bisping is a Cocksucker.
Teila Tuli's Tooth- January 12, 2009 at 6:28 am
I hope Denis can get a win right away in the UFC. I'd like to see him take on Leben. What an explosive fight that would be.
Myles Kilometers- January 12, 2009 at 6:22 am
Laadi daadi daadi...Ivan Serati.