Seo Hee Ham: Top 5 MMA Finishes

Seo Hee Ham (written “Ham Seo-Hee” in Korean) was born on March 8, 1987, in the Gangwon province of South Korea. The 34 year-old, is a former UFC strawweight fighter, a former Jewel’s Featherweight Queen Champion, and also former Rizin Women’s Super Atomweight Champion, now proudly signed to the atomweight division of One Championship.

She is currently ranked 2nd Best Female Atomweight, and 38th Best, Pound for Pound female mixed martial artist in the world.

The South Korean fighter nicknamed “Hamderlei Silva” (due to the similarity between her and Wanderlei Silva’s fighting style) is going strong with a current streak of 6 victories and has an impressive pro-MMA record of 23-8. She started training in kickboxing in 2004 with Busan Team MAD, alongside other male athletes due to the shortage in numbers of female, mixed martial artists in Korea at that time.

She has represented Deep, Smackgirl, and Jewels fighting promotions, with her debut being fought against Japanese veteran Hisae Watanabe at Deep 28 Impact. Seo left her opponent shell-shocked with the defeat coming via 2nd round decision.

Later, Seo dethroned Rizin’s Atomweight Champion, Ayaka Hamasaki, at Rizin 20. However, she vacated the post without defending her title as she was signed by One Championship and is now scheduled to fight no.1-ranked contender (Denice “Lycan Queen” Zamboanga) in the upcoming Women’s Atomweight Grand Prix in Singapore on September 3rd 2021.

After leaving the UFC, she had an undefeated 6-win streak in both Rizin FF and Road FC. At UFC it was quite challenging for her to be matched up against bigger opponents, but at ONE, she will be facing fighters in her own natural weight class.

So, now you’ve got a little of the backstory on the former Rizin and RFC Atomweight Champion let’s explore Seo Hee Ham’s Top 5 MMA Finishes! (in descending order)

5. Vs. Sadae Suzumura – Deep Jewels 2 (Nov. 4, 2013)

Seo Hee Ham’s DJ Featherweight Championship was on the line against an opponent 16 years her senior in Sadae Suzumura. Upon the referee issuing his usual fight instructions, Ham did not lock eyes with her veteran Japanese opponent out of respect.

At 19 seconds into round 1, Ham smashes Suzumura with three, mighty, left-hand jabs that push her towards the side of the cage.

Sadae fires off a high kick that’s grabbed by the champ who returns fire with a stiff left-hand jab that sees Sadae collapse to the ground. Ham continues the assault, raining punches while Sadae is left exposed and vulnerable.

Back to their feet, the fighters grapple at the side of the cage with Ham overpowering Sadae into a takedown as Sadae miscalculates a triangle. At 1:48, “Hamderlei” exerts hammer fists to her opponent’s face.

Soon, Seo fumbles, and Sadae gets her opening, running down furiously on Seo, with ruthless left-right striking. The fighters go ‘berserker mode’ on each other in the last seconds of the first round.

In round 2, Ham rolls down Sadae to execute a painful armbar. Withstanding colossal pain, Sadae shows immense resilience and keeps pivoting her feet to withdraw her arm from near breaking point!

In round 3, now on her feet, Sadae chokes Ham and punishes her with some brutal striking. Seo creeps out of the choke as the referee calls for a stand-up.

Now, “Hamderlei” gets her opponent reeling under intensive striking that finally wins her the match via a round 3 unanimous decision to retain her DJ Featherweight Championship.

4. Vs. Mina Kurobe – Road FC 39 (June 10, 2017)

This match was for the vacant RFC Atomweight Championship. Seo Hee Ham made her return to Road FC after her last UFC appearance in 2016.

Ham strolled her opponent to the corner with her intimidating southpaw stance that got Mina going on the defensive from the beginning of the match.

Both fighters looked nimble despite the age difference between them – Mina was 40 at the time of the bout, 10 years older than Seo.

Dancing down the cage, at a minute into round 1, Ham coerces Mina into the corner and levies a carnage of furious left-right punches. After delivering a knee to her opponent’s head, Mina strolls away, gasping for breath. The round got more intense as Seo got hold of her again, clasping her down into meaty blows and knees.

At 2:08 into round 1, Seo ran wild on Mina looking to finish the match by delivering fast and furious blows to her head and body.

In round 2, Mina got her much-needed opening to remain in the match. She immediately went on the offensive after Seo and, taking it to the ground, sought to ground and pound. Seo, with sharp presence of mind caught Mina’s head in a triangle, and applied an armbar at 2:25 into round 2.

“Hamderlei Silva” displayed impeccable skills not allowing Mina to overpower her, even though she was on the turf for close to 3 minutes in the round.

At the start of round 3, Mina goes for a takedown attempt. This time however, the tables turn as Hamderlei mounts over her and punishes with nerve-wrecking blows.

Kurobe found no way out, succumbing to her trap. By 4:11 of round 3, the referee had had enough and intervened to call a stop. Seo had ransacked her opponent with ruthless skull striking.

Seo emerged victorious via KO punches and won the vacant RFC Atomweight title belt, much to the delight of the audience who applauded the audacious performance of the Korean combatant.

3. Vs. Jinh Yu Frey – Road FC 45 (Dec. 23, 2017)

The Road FC Atomweight title was on the line as Hamderlei Silva took on the American, Jinh Yu Frey. Seo won the Road FC Atomweight title belt in her last fight against Mina Kurobe after returning from the UFC.

At the start, both fighters marched forward in southpaw taking their time to adjust their stances, whilst preying on each other for first blood.

At 2:10 into round 1, Ham cracks a herculean left jab towards Yu Frey’s face as she tried to exert left-right hooks to no avail. Biding her time, Yu Frey smashes Seo with a skull-crushing left hook. Yu Frey had ruffled Seo’s feathers who was now looking dangerous to deal with, yet Hamderlei held her nerve well.

At 4:34 into the round, Seo exacted a final death blow by way of a thunderous left hook that sends Yu Frey free falling to the canvas. Yu Frey paid a heavy price here for the error of keeping her guard down.

Seeing Seo dealing out nonstop hammer fists and punches, referee Lim Tae-Uk intervened, rolling Seo over at 4:40 of round 1.

Seo retained her RFC Atomweight Championship by winning the match via KO punches. This match also won her the Road FC Award for Knockout of the Year 2018.

2. Vs. Alyona Rassohyna – Road FC 18 (Aug. 30, 2014)

This atomweight bout was the co-main event of Road FC 18.

In round 1, Alyona bites the dust care of a thunderous left hook from Seo as soon as the match starts.

Rassohyna throws a kick which Seo catches, jolting her to the mat with a ringing left hook. Alyona, now stunned and embarrassed couldn’t believe she was already grounded twice within 10 seconds of round 1!

Now, Ham collided with her opponent by way of a meaty blow and, maintaining impeccable balance, furiously and aggressively speed curled around her opponent, looking for a takedown in order to execute a choke.

At 1:40 into round 1, exerting a huge amount of force, Seo tightly strangle-holds Alyona whilst mounting excessive pressure between her shins. Additionally, she rocks her opponent’s face with a mighty blow, and brutally overpowers her with hammer fists, and walks away giving her time to get back to her feet.

In round 2, Seo storms her opponent with a left hook and kick as Alyona goes for yet another fall near the side of the cage.

At 4:50 into round 2, Seo mounts over Alyona, unleashing her animal instincts as she mercilessly batters her with ruthless punches; iron fists straight to the face as the crowd roars in appreciation of the gladiatorial performance.

Seo won the match via round 2 unanimous decision – a decision that hardly required much deliberation on the part of the judges!

1. Vs. Saori Ishioka – Deep Jewels 6 (Nov. 3, 2014)

Seo, as DJ Featherweight Champion defended her title here against the challenger Saori Ishioka in Tokyo, Japan. There was a long-standing rivalry here going back to 2008 when they locked horns for the first time.

In round 1, like wild cats, they went tearing into each other. Saori took Seo to the ring post and got her to the ground whilst Seo kept creeping sideways to get herself out of her opponent’s clutches.

At 2:48 in, Saori, after enduring an influx of involved grappling to gain an authoritative position, trips her opponent towards the side of the ring, mounts herself over, and lands hammer blows to the back of Seo’s head.

At 4:06, Saori appeared to be inching close to a victory as she executed an armbar whilst Seo had to slither sideways using maximum endurance to set herself free. The crowd erupted in cheers after witnessing such a grappling ‘struggle for life’.

After relentless grappling in round 1, the challenger looked exhausted coming in to round 2. Seo hurled a couple of hooks in the first half of the round and accidentally poked Saori’s eye as the referee calls a stoppage.

With this micro break and recharge, the fighters go at it again, exchanging heavy knees and jabs. By now, Saori’s vitality seemed to be rapidly flagging whilst fighting.  Seeing Saori apparently gasping for breath, the referee stopped proceedings again.

Now, following a stunning left jab, Seo went for a takedown on Saori who fought hard but got caught in a triangle as Seo squeezed her head with full force. Saori tried to pivot on her feet but collapsed on the other side as Ham ratcheted up the pressure forcing her neck down into the mat with a deadly armbar.

Saori is forced to tap out at 2:43 of round 2 as the referee immediately separates the rival combatants. Fait accompli for Seo who triumphed this gruelling contest with an armbar submission.

So there we have it folks, 5 of Seo Hee Ham’s best MMA finishes!

With her admirable record of 23 wins with 4 TKO/KO’s and 3 submissions, where would you rank Seo among the all-time greatest female Atomweights? From the list above, what’s your favourite “Hamderlei Silva” fight moment? How do you think she’ll do vs Denice Zamboanga in her  fight on 3rd September, 2021?

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Atif Khan

Atif Khan is an MA graduate in International Journalism from Cardiff University. He is keenly Interested in learning about all types of martial arts and their essence in cultivating strong physical and mental strength. He's always been fascinated by Chinese kung fu pioneers along with their mystical animal styles, forms and poses, and their hard work philosophy leading to a balanced way of life.

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