Both men came out firing heavy leather in their hunt for a ONE Featherweight World Title shot, but it was the South Korean who claimed victory – and his biggest scalp to date – with a first-round knockout of the division’s former king.
Nguyen set his stall out early with some snapping low kicks to “The Fighting God’s” calf, while Kim probed with his jab to try and find an opening.
“The Situ-Asian” backed his rival up with feints and looked comfortable in both offense and defense, letting loose with punches and low kicks before slipping Kim’s replies.
However, “The Fighting God” began to find his range. He replied to the Vietnamese-Australian’s low kicks by firing off his own and then thrusting out his stiff right hand.
Nguyen remained confident, though, and launched in to unleash his famous overhand right behind his jab. Kim saw the wind-up and stepped in with a short right that crunched into the Sanford MMA representative’s jaw.
The Vietnamese-Australian went down, and a rapid succession of ground-and-pound from “The Fighting God” sealed the deal at 3:15 of the opening frame.
With this emphatic win over the former titleholder, Kim pushed his record to 10-3.
Also, ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong awarded the South Korean with the next shot at gold. He’ll meet the winner of the matchup between reigning World Champ Thanh Le and Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon, who will duke it out at ONE X on 5 December.