Yusaku Kinoshita has signed with the UFC and will face Adam Fugitt in Seoul. The Japanese welterweight earned his contract after impressing on Dana White’s Contender Series.
Kinoshita (6-1) enjoyed success as an amateur in Japan before turning pro. He has fought for Pancrase, Deep and Rizin and the sole defeat of his career was self inflicted.
At Rizin Trigger 1 he celebrated wildly after knocking out Ryuichiro Sumimura with a stomp. But replays showed he had clearly grabbed the cage while throwing the strike and the 22 year old was subsequently disqualified.
Fugitt (8-3) suffered as stoppage loss on his promotional debut. He was stopped by Michael Morales in the third round at UFC 277.
Kinoshita earned his spot on the UFC roster with another KO win and this one was legitimate. On DWCS in August he finished the previously undefeated José Henrique in the third round.
Now THAT'S how you bounce back from an eye poke! 🤯
[ @120821Saku2 | #DWCS ] pic.twitter.com/2TKHRFGn1s
— UFC (@ufc) August 31, 2022
The UFC has still not confirmed the event in Seoul on February 4th but two fights appear to have been booked for that card. Reliable sources are reporting that Ji Yeon Kim will be taking on Mandy Bohm.
Kim is on a four fight losing skid but while she hasn’t been winning fights the Korean has been making money and entertaining the fans. She picked up two $50,000 USD bonuses during this run, for the defeats to Priscila Cachoeira and Molly McCann.
Her most recent fight was at bantamweight but she will be dropping back down to 125lbs for this bout. The 33 year old faces Bohm who hails from Germany and has lost both her UFC fights by decision.
At 4:59 of round 2!
Ji Yeon Kim tees off, then puts Kassem away with a nasty body shot! #UFC243 pic.twitter.com/WA1VJRW2Bs
— UFC (@ufc) October 5, 2019
The card at the Olympic Gymnasium in Seoul looks set to be stacked with Korean fighters and the other matchup currently on it is in the light heavyweight division. Da Un Jung and Devin Clark are set to face off with the latter fighting in his homeland for the first time since 2019.
Jung is coming off a KO loss to Dustin Jacoby at UFC on ABC 2 but that defeat was the first of the 28 year old’s UFC career. Prior to that he had won four and draw one and won four but Jung remains unranked despite this impressive form.
Clark is also coming off a loss. He has been on the UFC roster since 2016 and has seven defeats and seven victories from his 14 octagon outings.
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While the promotion has not officially confirmed the event it is an open secret that there will be a show at the Olympic Gymnasium on February 4th. It would be the UFC’s first event in Korea since 2019.
On that occasion Chan Sung Jung beat Frankie Edgar in the main event of UFC Busan. The Korean Zombie will surely be back in action on February 4th and there is some suggestion it could be a retirement fight for the 35 year old.
Jung was last seen losing to Alex Volkanovski at UFC 273. While the Australian is arguably the best pound for pound fighter on the planet right now the one sided manner of that fight raised concerns about the Korean Zombie’s longevity.
Other Korean fighters who are likely to feature on the card include Kyung Ho Kang. The bantamweight does not currently have a fight booked but is coming off a decision win over Batgerel Danaa at UFC Singapore.
What a scrap 👏
[ #UFC275 | Prelims LIVE on ESPN2 & @ESPNPlus ] pic.twitter.com/KuCGkCvLgb
— UFC (@ufc) June 12, 2022
It hasn’t been a vintage year for Korean fighters in the UFC. While The Jung’s loss grabbed the headlines there have also been disappointing defeats for Seung Woo Choi and Ji Yeon Kim while Doo Ho Choi hasn’t fought since 2019.
Jun Yong Park is coming off a win but he already has a fight booked this month. Seung Woo Choi will also be in action at UFC 281 this year and it will be interesting to see whether either man will be ready to compete again in February.
UFC TBA, Seoul, February 4th
Da Un Jung vs. Devin Clark (Welterweight)
Ji Yeon Kim vs. Mandy Bohm (Flyweight)
Yusaku Kinoshita vs. Adam Fugitt (Welterweight)