Name: Dong-Hyun Kim Professional Record: 9-0-1 Height: 6’1” Weight: 170lbs Discipline: Judo Notable Wins: Hidehiko Hasegawa
Dong-Hyun Kim isn’t your average household name…yet.
According to fellow countryman and former Pride star Denis Kang, “He’s the best prospect out of Korea right now. He’s gonna turn some heads for sure.”
A veteran of the Korea-based SpiritMC and Japan-based DEEP, Dong-Hyun Kim is one of the most promising up-and-comers today.
“When I was young, I practiced Judo. After watching MMA, I made up my mind to do that and entered Yongin University majoring in Judo. I wanted to get into the sport right away,” refl ected Kim. “However, I had to join the mandatory military service as a Korean. After two years, I fulfi lled my service in the Marine Corps and I made my MMA debut in September of 2003.”
As an amateur fi ghter, Kim earned high accolades and was successful in various martial arts competitions, including winning a submission grappling tournament. In addition, Kim won the championship belts in the only three amateur MMA leagues in Korea. These accomplishments are the cornerstone of the fi ghter he is today.
“I enjoy fi ghting because of the audience,” said Kim. “Without the fans, a fi ghter couldn’t exist; I guess this wonderful competition is much more important than if I got a win or loss. Therefore, I will always practice and do my best.”
Dong-Hyun Kim’s fi ghting style is best described as well-rounded. As quoted by MMAWeekly.com’s Korean correspondent John Evans, “His ground game looks more like a product of Sao Paulo than Seoul and his standup is equally as dangerous.” Fans who have seen Kim in action have commonly compared him to current UFC middleweight star Yushin Okami.
A recent highlight of Kim’s was an impressive TKO victory over DEEP champion Hidehiko Hasegawa. Unfortunately for the Busan Team M.A.D. fi ghter, the match was a non-title contest. The two fi ghters met again two months later in a rematch that produced a controversial draw. Although Kim wasn’t able to display a championship belt for his efforts, his performances did catch the eye of a certain organization in the U.S.
“I want to be a champion in the UFC. The strongest fi ghters are in the UFC,” stated Kim after recently signing a multi-fi ght contract with the largest MMA organization in North America.
“I look up to Georges St. Pierre. My team, Busan Team M.A.D, trains in all aspects… striking, Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling. St. Pierre is a well-rounded fi ghter and he’s the king of the weight class I’m debuting in. I welcome the opportunity to face him and defeat him. Obviously I won’t have that kind of opportunity right away, but I will work hard in order to get that title shot.”
Dong-Hyun Kim will take his career to the next level when he steps into the Octagon for the fi rst time in May.
“I would like to thank everyone who has supported me and I will not disappoint them. This is just beginning. I will show my skills in the Octagon. I will do my best always.”
Name: Michael Costa Professional Record: 12-2 Height: 5’10” Weight: 170lbs Discipline: Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Notable Wins: Jose Batista, Gerson Conceicao
Chute Boxe experienced many unexpected changes last year, particularly with the departure of the team’s most recognizable name and spiritual leader Wanderlei Silva. Coupled with the subsequent exit of brothers Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Murilo “Ninja” Rua, as well as Andre “Dida” Amade, Chute Boxe’s future seemed bleak. The Brazilian powerhouse team had begun to enter a transition phase.
With the main stars gone, Chute Boxe’s future rested in their young prospects. One of the most notable names out of the pack is Michael Costa.
“I started training Jiu-Jitsu in Rio de Janeiro with Royler Gracie’s team under the supervision of Andre Negao and have participated in many Jiu-Jitsu competitions. At that time I started to watch MMA and read about the sport in magazines,” said Costa.
“I saw how Chute Boxe turned Wanderlei [Silva], “Pele” [Jose Landi-Jons], and “Ninja” [Murilo Rua] into the fi ghters they are today. What caught my attention was the way Master Rudimar Fedrigo and Master Rafael Cordeiro worked with the fi ghters inside the ring and in their corner. I came to Curitiba and chose to train at Chute Boxe because I felt they could best prepare me, physically and mentally.”
At just 25-years old, Michael Costa has the potential to be the next big thing out of Chute Boxe. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt under Cristiano Marcello brings an exciting aggressive pace to all of his fi ghts. Some of his previous matches were reminiscent to those of former teammates Wanderlei Silva and Mauricio Rua.
“I wish to grow as a fi ghter and an athlete. I want to fi ght for many years and when the opportunities to fi ght overseas come, I will do my best to represent my gym, my friends, my country and fans. My faith gives me the strength to win. My faith turned me into an MMA fi ghter.”
Michael Costa is one of the hardest workers in the gym. The Chute Boxe fi ghter follows a strict training regimen and has even been labeled as the ‘Brazilian version of Sean Sherk’; he lives a very healthy lifestyle and does not consume alcohol. Costa credits Chute Boxe trainers for his transformation into a MMA fi ghter.
“First and foremost, my main admiration is God. I follow Master Rafael Cordeiro closely because of the way he teaches and administers the team. We have more then fi fty professional athletes here and he is 100% capable of teaching each and every one of us,” commented Costa. “We have people train from all over the country and he treats everyone the same way; that is a true example of how a person should be.”
“I am a Brazilian fi ghter. I am not the type of athlete who chooses his opponent; I want to fi ght anyone in my weight class,” described Costa. “At Chute Boxe we are used to training extremely hard with each other every single day at practice.”
With his sights set on fi ghting in the U.S., Michael Costa continues to train hard and wait for the opportunity to take his career to the next level.
“My main goal is to win a championship in a big event. I want to show my family and friends that I’m capable of accomplishing all my goals. I want to be successful in America and I want to fi ght with the best guys in my weight class. These are guys who are in the UFC so the Octagon is my destiny. I want to say thanks to all my fans, they are my real power. Every time I step inside the ring or Octagon I am not alone; they are all with me.”
Name: Rousimar Palhares Nickname: Toquinho Professional Record: 7-1 Height: N/A Weight: 185lbs Discipline: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Notable Wins: Daniel Acacio, Fabio Negao
From humble beginnings to Jiu-Jitsu phenom, Rousimar Palhares has positioned himself as one of the best prospects out of Brazilian Top Team today.
“I was born into a simple and humble family from the countryside of Brazil. I’ve been working since I was seven years old to help with my family,” revealed Rousimar. “Our family was really poor; sometimes we didn’t have enough food for the whole family.
“I got into fi ghting after meeting the right people who helped and gave me the motivation to practice Jiu-Jitsu. I am a calm, disciplined athlete. I believe that if you work hard, you can have anything you want.”
Palhares has been given the nickname of “Toquinho”, which roughly translates to ‘shorty’. Moniker aside, this Brazilian standout is not short on talent. The 185-pound fi ghter claimed the Fury Fighting Championship middleweight title after defeating Flavio Mura, Pan-Am Jiu-Jitsu champion Fabio Negao and Chute Boxe’s Daniel Acacio in impressive tournament action.
“I am very grateful and lucky to have the opportunity to train with Brazilian Top Team. I have made a lot of friends here; they have helped me with everything that I need. I have the opportunity to train with great fi ghters and I learn something new every day.”
Rousimar Palhares earned his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under former UFC champion Murilo Bustamante and Bebeo Duarte. Experts in martial arts touted “Toquinho” as one of the most naturally gifted grapplers today. Rousimar’s Jiu-Jitsu has transitioned well into MMA and his past opponents succumbed to his aggressive style and ground prowess. His proclivity for heel hooks and ankle locks is undeniable.
Having spent his entire career competing in Brazil, Rousimar will venture out of his native country to make his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut in May. After considering offers from organizations in Japan and the U.S., Rousimar and his management team chose to sign with the largest MMA promotion in North America.
“It is my dream to be in the UFC. I have the chance to test my techniques and skills. I can fi ght with the best fi ghters. I want to be a UFC champion. I look up to all of the best fi ghters in the world; it doesn’t matter where they come from. My dream is to be on top beside them.
“I want to say thanks to all of my fans who believe in me and support me. I will work hard to put on a great show for everyone. I want to thank the UFC for giving me this opportunity.”