When Carlos Condit says that he’s been on a tear, he’s not kidding. Condit enters his UFC 132 fight against Dong Hyun Kim on an 8-1 run, featuring wins against fighters like Brock Larson, Jake Ellenberger, Rory MacDonald, and Dan Hardy, while his only loss was in a close decision against Martin Kampmann. There’s a legitimate argument to be made that Condit deserves a title shot if he can beat Dong Hyun Kim: Kim enters the fight at 14-0-1, and with a lot of welterweights having already been given a chance against Georges St. Pierre, it would be easy to see how Condit should be next in line.
The reason is that Kim is an extremely difficult opponent to beat. Kim combines great judo throws with terrific ground control to shut down his opponents. On the ground, Kim opts to strike instead of submit – he has just one submission win on his record. But building a 15-fight undefeated record like Kim has is a very impressive feat, and as far as I see it, it’s been done due to Kim playing to his strengths, and not the strengths of his opponents. I anticipate that in this fight, Kim will opt not to play the striking game against Condit, instead sucking him into the clinch, and playing his game.
The result of Kim’s impressive record is consideration by SILVA to be an elite fighter, with a SILVA score of 44.06, which rates behind only Georges St. Pierre, Jon Fitch, and Johny Hendricks in the welterweight division. However, I see Kim as being the weakest “elite” fighter currently measured by SILVA in any weight class.
How is that possible? Well, there are a number of red flags jumping out during a closer examination of Kim’s record. One is that Kim actually has lost a fight: against Karo Parisyan at UFC 94. That fight was overturned to a No Contest upon Parisyan testing positive for painkiller abuse, but the fight did actually happen, and Kim did actually lose it. Another problem is that Kim fought to a draw against Hidehiko Hasegawa – that’s a fighter that Kim really should beat decisively. Then there’s Kim’s split decision victory against Matt Brown; as much as Brown may be potentially underrated by SILVA, he’s still a fighter that supposed elite welterweight fighters should beat without going to split decision. Finally, there’s Kim’s last fight against Nate Diaz: all three of Sherdog’s scorers saw Diaz as the winner, and Fight Metric scored the fight for Diaz as well.
The point is that Dong Hyun Kim has been winning, but he’s been just skating by his opponents. And Carlos Condit is a much tougher opponent than Nate Diaz, or Matt Brown, or Karo Parisyan. If Kim brings the same kind of fight to Condit, he’ll end up with his first official career loss.
SILVA PREDICTION: DONG HYUN KIM (44.06) OVER CARLOS CONDIT (35.86)
If Kim wasn’t considered an elite fighter by SILVA, he’d have a SILVA score of 35.21, which I see as a much better representation of his ability as a fighter. The result is a fight that’s extremely close, which is exactly what’s reflected in the betting lines on this fight. Generally speaking, if Kim gets the takedown, he has the advantage, but if he can’t get the takedown, then Condit has the advantage. I’ll go with SILVA’s pick in Kim to win, based on the idea that he can largely avoid Condit’s striking game, but just like Siver-Wiman, I see this as a coin flip type of fight, which means that I’m looking forward to an action packed, back and forth fight on Saturday.