ROAD FC 22 will be taking place on Saturday, March 21st at JangChung Gymnasium in beautiful Seoul, South Korea. It will be featured by champion Kwon A-Sol and challenger Lee Kwang-Hee clashing for the lightweight title.
But before they go head to head, there will be a few intriguing matchups that will wet the taste buds before the main course.
Shim Gun-Oh (1-0) vs Lucas Tani (0-2)
To kick off the main card portion of ROAD FC 22 is a heavyweight tilt between South Korean wrestler Shim Gun-Oh and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Lucas Tani.
Shim started out as a contestant on the MMA-themed reality show “The Crying Fist”. His time on the show did not last long due to the fact that there was no one his size and they saw star power in his abilities. Since there are not many heavyweights in Korea, he was propelled to make his debut at ROAD FC 19 on the main card against heavy-handed striker Frederick Sloan. Sloan immediately came out and dropped Shim twice with huge right hands but the Team Finish product weathered the storm and dominated the rest of the fight on the ground leading to a keylock submission in the second round.
Standing on the other side of the cage will be Lucas Tani, who will be making his ROAD FC debut. Even though his professional record is up for debate, his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu accolades cannot be denied with double-digit medals in various BJJ tournaments around the world. He is coming off a majority decision loss to Justin Morton at Tenkaichi 75 in Japan just three week prior to this event.
Shim vs Tani: Fight Analysis
Both these goliaths are at the beginning of their mixed martial arts careers. They do not have many fights between them and the level of competition was average at best. Expect this fight to most likely end up on the ground.
Shim will have a massive size and strength edge against Tani who originally started his MMA career at light heavyweight. His background in wrestling will serve him well since he will want to take this fight to the ground and smother his opponent. Carrying all that weight will not be fun for Tani and this will leave him open from time to time for some hard ground and pound. Since Tani is so well-versed on the ground, it is likely he will not succumb to a submission as easily as Sloan did. Therefore, Shim just needs to be patience in the top position and throw down powerful hammerfists until the ref stops the fight.
Tani, on the other hand, might want to keep this fight standing and use his speed advantage. Shim is very slow and his gas tank empties quickly so Tani might want to dance around on the feet and have the South Korean chase him around the first or even the second round. When Shim shows signs of fatigue, he will be able to work some magic on the ground. Perhaps, somehow he can get top position with a slick trip or from a scramble, he will put himself in a good spot to transition for an armlock or choke.
Tamura Issei (7-6) vs Cho Young-Seung (4-0)
In the second fight of the night, ex-Shooto featherweight standout and former UFC bantamweight Tamura Issei will look to get back in the win column against new up-and-comer Cho Young-Seung.
Issei is a solid veteran that has faced a murderer’s row of competition in his last five fights. In the UFC, he started off with a TKO victory over Zhang Tie Quan in 2012, however, that would be the last time he would get his hand raised. His UFC run included that impressive knockout and two TKO losses to current UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw and #1 bantamweight contender Raphael Assuncao.
After he was released by the UFC, the Krazy Bee representative decided to sign with ROAD FC. This decision so far has not been beneficial to his record. His first matchup at ROAD FC 13 was with the current ROAD FC interim flyweight champion Song Min-Jung in the bantamweight division. The Japanese fighter was tough throughout the fight but eventually got choked out with just under a minute left in the final round. Likewise, his second fight at ROAD FC 15 had the same outcome with former ONE FC bantamweight champion Kim Soo-Chul tapping him in the first round.
Cho Young-Seung, the undefeated Korean prospect, is a product of the Young Guns circuit that is organized by ROAD FC to accomplish the goal of bringing up young talent. He has earned his spot on the main card by defeated all three of his opponents he has clashed with in the prelims.
In his most recent contest at ROAD FC 20 against Kim Ji-Hyung which was contested in the bantamweight division, the Jiu-Jitsu World rep proved that he can take a shot to give a few back. He was able to take hard shots early and then late in the round landed a devastating blow that disconnected Kim from his senses.
Issei vs Cho: Fight Analysis
This is a tale of two stories meeting in the center of the cage. On one side there is Issei, a seasoned fighter that has reached the pinnacle of mixed martial arts competition riding a 4-fight losing streak and trying to prove that he is not washed up. On the other side is a young, hungry Cho that is getting his first crack at a high level adversary. Both of them are basically fighting to be relevant in the cutthroat bantamweight division.
If this fight stays on the feet, both fighters have their ways to win. The longer, lengthier South Korean will be able to pepper Issei with shots from distance all day without getting touched. Cho has been making great strides in his stand up so it will be interesting to see if he can finish Issei with strikes. However, Issei does have some power so if he can fake takedowns to get Cho to lower his hands then maybe he can catch his opponent with an overhand shot to the dome.
The ground is a little tricky but since Issei has been choked out his last two fights, he will probably come into this fight fully prepared to defend submissions. This fight doesn’t seem like it will go to the ground even though both of them are pretty good grapplers in their own right. It is clear that Cho is competent on the mat but is he efficient enough to tap Issei.