Know thy Enemy: Brendan O’Reilly vs. Dong Hyun Kim

This weekend Brisbane based fighter Brendan “The Badger” O’Reilly heads to Las Vegas to compete against South Korea’s Dong Hyun Kim. Following on from UFC Fight Night: Whittaker vs. Brunson, Australia will be showcased on the international level, with the Badger looking to notch his first win on international soil.

The Badger has gone 1-2 in the UFC, most recently losing to the talented Alan Jouban in March of this year. A win for O’Reilly would secure his spot on the UFC roster and position him for a great 2017.

You can almost guarantee that the man standing across from the Badger will be ready to put on a show for the Las Vegas crowd. In his short UFC career Dong Hyun Kim (not to be confused with the middleweight fighter of the same name) has put on two crazily entertaining fights, most recently earning $50,000 for his fight of the night against Marco Polo Reyes. While Kim is yet to have notched a victory in under the UFC banner, he is bound to come out all guns blazing against the Australian.

To put it simply Kim loves to fight. Ultimately it has been his willingness to brawl and put on entertaining fights that has led to his downfall in both of his UFC appearances. However behind his maelstrom of recklessness is a surprisingly nuanced bunch of techniques that, in small doses, serves him pretty well. This of course isn’t to say that Kim is a nuanced fighter, moreover Kim has the potential to become one if he adjusts his fight IQ and starts to fight a lot smarter.

On the feet Kim will switch between southpaw and orthodox stance quite regularly. Yet most of his best offense comes from the orthodox stance, albeit from his left hand side. Kim’s go to punch is his lead hand left hook from the stance. Despite his reckless fighting style Kim throws the punch without a lot of windup, and can land with a lot of pop. Kim also loves to throw a left switch kick from the orthodox stance, both to the head and the body.

Kim’s repertoire of strikes seems to extend beyond these, he has a nice jab now and then, and loves a right straight/left hook combination. However Kim will hardly ever throw these strikes in favour of charging forward, biting down on his mouthpiece and throwing hooks a plenty without moving his head. While he can certainly eat a shot, the culmination of strikes the South Korean has taken over his last few fights have been enough to stop him, and without drastically changing his fight style it isn’t hard to see Kim getting stopped again.

In the clinch it is much of the same story. Kim has a background in Judo and has shown the ability to be able to effectively fight for double underhooks against the cage. However once he has secured double underhooks he is often unable to complete his takedown and will most often look to separate and throw a barrage of punches. On the ground Kim has a nice ability to scoot back to the fence and wall walk back to his feet. Yet fighting with reckless abandon often tires Kim out until it seems like he simply doesn’t have the energy to stand back up.

Overall Kim has prioritized an entertaining, reckless strategy at the expense of his surprisingly refined technique. It will be interesting to see if the South Korean adjust his strategy in an attempt to utilise his technique, or alternatively falls back to his crazy brawling ways.

If the Badger can survive the seemingly inevitable onslaught coming his way and tire Kim out he will go a long way to securing another UFC victory.

Jake Crane is a Melbourne based contributor for Fight News Australia.