South Korean MMA kicked off 2021 in style with a myriad of first-round finishes at AFC 15 in Seoul on Friday night. Jae Young Kim headlined the event and successfully defended the middleweight crown by demolishing Sang Il Ahn.

It did not take long for the fighters to engage from the start of the bell. The 37-year-old Kim, who has been untouchable since joining the organization in 2019, blasted out the gate with a lot of lateral movement while Ahn took the center of the cage.

After some feinting by both competitors, Kim charged forward, dipped, and connected flush with a crushing left hook. Ahn dropped like a stack of books and covered up immediately.

Jae Young Kim punches Sang Il Ahn

Unanswered shots

Discombobulated and stuck along the fence, Ahn ate a number of unanswered shots which prompted the referee to stop the fight after just 47 seconds of action.

Kim earns his three straight opening-round finish and elevates his overall record to 26-13 while Ahn loses his third in a row and drops to 5-8-1. ‘MMA Panda’ becomes the undisputed champion of the division and solidifies himself as one of the best in his home country.

Jae Young Kim

Last laugh

In the co-main event, Hyun Man Myung and Yang Rae Yoo squared off for the inaugural AFC kickboxing heavyweight title. There was a lot of trash talk heading into this contest by Yang yet it was Myung who got the last laugh.

The talk seemed to get under the skin of Myung but he was calm and collected once inside the cage. In vintage fashion, the Max FC heavyweight titleholder put pressure on his opponent by corralling him into the fence and landing looping hooks as well as sharp kicks to the leg.

He pulled back and allowed Yang to come off the fence. They reset and Myung blasted a left hook perfectly on the jaw.

Yang covered up and once again the 36-year-old Gyeonggi native teed off with uppercuts and hooks to the body. Uncharacteristically, he pulled back again.

Hyun Man Myung and Yang Rae Yoo 2

Dropped again

They met again in the center and this time Myung dropped Yang with an overhand right. After an eight count, Yang stood back up and committed to going blow-for-blow which was a bad idea. He finished off the opening round eating multiple shots.

The second round was not as dominant as the first yet Myung was able to continue the onslaught with precision shots to the body and debilitating leg kicks.

Accumulating much damage in the first two frames, Yang was barely hanging on entering the third stanza. Not afraid of the power, he stood toe to toe and swing wildly at his foe with little success.

Early in the final round, he finished off a straight right, left hook pairing with a perfectly place leg kick that dropped Yang again.

In the final sequence, Myung hit a combo to the body and landed another kick to the compromised leg and it was all over. With another dominant victory, Myung adds another kickboxing title to his mantle.

Hyun Man Myung and Yang Rae Yoo

Best of the rest

Earlier in the night, a few others were able to score impressive first-round stoppages. Hee Yong Sung (1-0) and Kyung Lock Kim (2-2) picked up submission wins against Sun Ho Hong (0-1) and Su Hwan Oh (3-1), respectively.

Seung Hyun Park (2-0) got into a brawl with Geun Young Jang (0-1) and finished the fight with a devastating knee to stay undefeated.

AFC 15, Seoul, February 26th
Jae Young Kim def. Sang Il Ahn via TKO (Punches) at 0:47 of Round 1 (AFC Middleweight Title)
Hyun Man Myung def. Yang Rae Yoo via KO (Punch) at 0:54 of Round 3 (AFC Kickboxing Heavyweight Title)
Hee Yong Sung def. Sun Ho Hong via Submission (Armbar) at 1:22 of Round 1
Kyung Lock Kim def. Su Hwan Oh via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 4:40 of Round 1
Seung Hyun Park def. Geun Young Jang via TKO (Punches) at 2:43 of Round 1
Kickboxing: Seo Lin Park def. Eun Ji Doe via Decision (Majority) at 5:00 of Round 3
Si Won Kim def. Dae Woong Lim via Decision (Unanimous) at 5:00 of Round 2