With a knockout win over Cezar Ferreira in his UFC welterweight debut, Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal got the 170-pound division’s attention. Now, his title-contention potential will be tested by Dong Hyun Kim.
The UFC Fight Night 79 matchup was confirmed by MMA Fighting on Saturday.
Prior to moving to the welterweight class, Masvidal was already considered a contender in the lightweight division. However, a controversial decision loss to Al Iaquinta halted his rise and caused him to look for a change of scenery.
Masvidal had competed at 170 pounds before joining the UFC roster, but he hadn’t picked up any huge wins in the division, as he lost to Paul Daley at Shark Fights 13. That said, Gamebred looked like a fighter who could make some serious noise in the division when he took less than five minutes to put Ferreira away in their July meeting.
At 30 years old, Masvidal is still in his prime and has a solid camp behind him at American Top Team. If he can improve to 2-0 in the UFC welterweight class against Kim, it’ll already be time to start considering him as a legitimate title threat.
Kim has been around the top of the 170-pound division for a while now, but he continues to fall short against elite opponents like Carlos Condit, Demian Maia and Tyron Woodley. With that, he is in danger of falling into a gatekeeper role, and that is exactly how he is being used against Masvidal.
He looked good in a win over Josh Burkman in his most recent outing, but Kim will need another impressive victory over Masvidal in order to get back into matchups that would push him toward his first UFC title shot.
The card has not been finalized, but Kim and Masvidal should find themselves on the main card of UFC Fight Night 79, which will be headlined by Benson Henderson and Thiago Alves in Seoul, South Korea on November 28.
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