As one Kang prepares to win two fights in one evening and rematch rival Andrew Leone, a more famous and heavier Kang will compete at the same event.
Former Pride Welterweight (185lbs) Grand Prix finalist Denis Kang is no stranger to MMA tournaments, having failed at the final hurdle to win his own. The gifted BJJ black belt has always shown tremendous promise – never more so than in matching Paulo Filho in an all-grappling bout in Australia back in 2010 – but never consistency, tending to subsequently suffer from some lapse of concentration or otherwise in a big fight, earning him the classic moniker of “always bridesmaid, never the bride”. But since joining ROAD, Kang hasn’t even been at the wedding.
Entering as the biggest MMA name in Korea, Kang proceeded to lose both of his Road FC fights, against such luminaries of combat sports as Seung Bae Wi and Shungo Oyama. This is the man who posted a 23-fight-unbeaten streak from 2003-2006 right up until his split-decision loss to Japanese Kazuo Misaki (in Japan) in the Pride Welterweight Grand Prix final. Now he’s going 0-2 against guys in Road FC with .500 records. What happened, Kang?
The first was in a thrilling contest with Seung Bae Whi, and there was certainly no shame in – simply put – coming up second in a gunfight as both fighters stood in the pocket throwing bombs. No real shame in that.
Kang’s opponent this time around will be Hae Suk Son, a middleweight with a 3-3 even split record. If Kang cannot triumph, one feels that his legacy will suffer further, and his win streak and position of being millimetres from PRIDE Grand Prix gold and glory will be written off as an anomaly in the career of a talented, but chronically inconsistent fighter.
Here is Kang’s ROAD FC fight with Bae Wi for those who haven’t seen it. Both Kang’s Road fights ended via technical knockout. Neither showcased Denis Kang’s obvious ability and pedigree. This one at least displayed some heart.