Jae-woong Kim (29, Extreme Combat), who is active in the ‘ONE Championship’, is looking for a chance to rebound against a Japanese fighter. On the 14th (Korean time), the ‘ONE Fight Night 6’ competition at Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand will be the stage, and the opponent will be Shoko Sato (35, Japan), a veteran fighter who has gone through a lot of battles.
This confrontation has a considerable weight from Kim Jae-woong’s point of view. First of all, the role of the assault commander is important in that he is a Korean fighter active in the One Championship. In an atmosphere where the status of the Korean faction is gradually increasing, if Kim Jae-woong wins with his hot performance, other players can also gain momentum. In addition, the opponent is also a Japanese player, the eternal rival of the sports world.
The two players have one thing in common: they both reached the top in their respective teams. Sato was the 2017-2018 Japanese ‘Shuto’ bantamweight champion, and Kim Jae-woong is the 2017 Korean TFC featherweight champion. In this match, considering the weight class familiar to both fighters, it was agreed that the match would be held between the bantamweight and featherweight weights.
The two debuted on the One Championship stage in 2019, but after entering, Kim Jae-woong recorded 4 wins and 3 losses, and Sato recorded 3 wins and 2 losses, showing similar moves. Their fighting styles are roughly similar in that they both prefer knockout matches with strong firepower.
Kim Jae-woong has 9 knockout wins out of 13 wins (69%). If it finds a gap, it rushes like a beast that has caught its prey and ends the match by biting the scruff of the neck at once. However, the unfortunate thing is that I also suffered a lot of knockout losses. Of his 7 career losses, 4 were by knockout (57%). This is the reason why it is pointed out that he often gives big things in decisive situations.
On the other hand, Sato has a total of 33 wins and 15 losses, and although he has many losses, his so-called knockout balance is good. Of his 33 wins, he has 20 knockout wins (61%) and has been knocked down only once (7%). It was not a match that he gave up on himself, but ended with a doctor stop. Other than that, submission losses were 2 times (13%), and the remaining 12 times (80%) were decision losses. It can be seen that he is the type to endure to the end even if he puts his skill and strength first.
However, on the One Championship stage, Kim Jae-woong’s performance shone more. As a result, it was disappointing, but Kim Jae-woong also played a title challenger match as the first place in the official featherweight rankings. In March of last year, Kim Jae-woong faced Tang Kai (26, China), who was ranked 4th in the One Championship at the time, but was knocked out by the opponent’s punch attack and fell away from the top of the featherweight division. Seven months later, he was defeated by 2015 Abu Dhabi Professional Jiu-Jitsu World Championship gold medalist Shamil Gasanov (27, Russia) by rear naked choke.
Kim Jae-woong, who suffered from consecutive losses in the featherweight division, dropped down to the bantamweight division last November and won a TKO victory over former champion Kevin Bellingon (35, Philippines) in 2 minutes and 33 seconds. Analysts say that if he defeats Sato in this match, which is held between the bantamweight and featherweight divisions, it will be a stepping stone for him to move down the weight class more smoothly. 안전놀이터
Coincidentally, the two fighters who defeated Kim Jae-woong are on the rise in their weight class. Tang Kai drove the momentum that beat Kim Jae-woong and took down the existing champion Tan Le from the throne in August and stood at the top. Gasanov, who rose to fifth in the rankings after the victory, is also in a good mood. One Championship’s official website cited Gasanov and Gary Tonon (31, USA)’s featherweight title challenger match as one of the “three most interesting matches to see in 2023.”
The undefeated Gasanov, who was recognized for his skills by defeating even Kim Jae-woong, has excellent ground skills, winning 7 submissions (78%) out of 9 victories in his career. However, Tonon is also not easy. He is the winner of the 2011 and 2012 International Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) world championships. If the two players face off, a high-level grappling battle is expected. But for the big match to happen, Tonon must win the next game. He faces off against Johnny Nunez (37, USA) in this tournament where Kim Jae-woong participates. Núñez has a power advantage in that he has primarily played at lightweight.
Kim Jae-woong is a player full of fighting spirit, as his nickname suggests. Even when he was active on the stage before, whenever he suffered from a losing streak, he would overcome the crisis with a winning streak. Attention is focusing on whether he can lay the groundwork for a new leap forward by leading the contract weight match Korea-Japan match to victory after moving the battlefield to a new weight class.