Imagine just being 20 years old and already posting a 4-1 record in MMA, with an entire country’s MMA scene behind you as one of their top prospects and you’ll know what it is like to walk a mile in Soo Chul Kim’s shoes. When Soo Chul Kim signed with One FC last year his work was cut out for him, with his first test under the One FC banner being a widely-respected brazilian jiu-jitsu expert in Leandro Issa. It proved to be a learning experience for the then-nineteen year old, as he was able to hold on before dropping a decision. At One FC 2 in Jakarta, Indonesia, the deck is once again stacked against the Korean sensation as he squares off with yet another internationally-renowned BJJ expert in Gustavo Falciroli.
Kim comes from Team Force in South Korea where he has honed his skills since the ripe age of fifteen to step into the MMA ring. Right after his eighteenth birthday, Kim turned pro and in his debut fight captured his very first championship, winning the Rising On Featherweight Championship. Feeling that Bantamweight was a more natural weight class for him, Kim dropped down in weight for his next bout and hasn’t looked back. His first two opponents learned all-too-well that Kim’s submission game is nothing to take lightly, with Kim’s career beginning with two first round submissions before taking a step up in competition and posting two solid decision victories.
His biggest challenge came when One FC called him up onto their roster for their debut show and he found himself in a fight with Leandro Issa, a deadly submission artist. To set the stage for you, Issa going into that bout was 8-2, with seven submissions and one TKO victory. It was safe to say that Issa had a reputation for finishing fights and having incredible jiu-jitsu, but Kim was able to neutralize his submission attempts and looked incredibly competent standing up. There are many who have wondered “what if” during that fight, as Kim took an inadvertent low blow which definitely threw him off of his game a bit.
If Kim was able to prove his durability and show composure under pressure at the debut One FC event, many believe that he will need those skills against Gustavo Falciroli at One FC 2 on February 11th. Falciroli is a more experienced fighter than Kim, as the Australian native has competed for Shooto Australia and Shooto Japan against some tough competition at Bantamweight. Falciroli posts an impressive 11-3-2 record in MMA, with his career goes back to 2007. It should be noted, though, that Falciroli began practicing jiu-jitsu way back in 1996, before achieving his black belt in 2003 and was no stranger to grappling competitions. He holds a second degree black belt in jiu-jitsu, which is really nothing to scoff at, with his MMA record showing an impressive six wins via submission.
What Falciroli brings to the table that Kim’s last opponent didn’t is a better striking game, which could provide a challenge for the young Kim. A deciding factor in this bout could be age and experience, as Falciroli is ten years the elder and has bounced back from losses before, while Kim has yet to do so. Kim is coming off of his first loss and still has a lot to prove in the One FC ring, as the mark of a true warrior is being able to learn and evolve after a loss.