Pinnacle FC 18 is just a few weeks away, and the main event this time around is going to be a fun one. Khama Worthy (11-6) returns to Pinnacle FC for the tenth time, as he welcomes in Tim Cho (6-3) in a professional lightweight bout.
Here’s why you should care about this fight:
Khama Worthy has definitely had an up and down year, but he’s done a lot of things right along the way. First, moving back up to lightweight was probably the best thing for his body. He has never seemed to have much weight to cut, and he’s not a guy who has to get in ‘fight shape,’ as he stays in the gym pretty much year round. After a 2-4 run with four knockout losses, he had to go back to the drawing board, and he’s done just that with a pair of impressive wins over solid competition in Mike Roberts and Brady Hovermale this year. A win here just might put him in the BluegrassMMA Fighter of the Year conversation.
Sure it’s kind of a cop out to throw a tag like this on a guy who has just fought on the undercard of a Bellator show in his backyard, but don’t discount the fact that at just 24 Cho already has gotten a taste of the big show, and earned a TKO win over Josh Hardwick at Bellator 175 in 2017. Fighting under the bright lights has a different feel to it, and you’d think it would make a fighter train harder after getting that one cup of coffee to eventually make that his permanent home.
It took Worthy 16 fights into his career to get his first Pinnacle main event at Pinnacle FC 16, and this will be his second headliner for the promotion. His success in the Pinnacle cage cannot be overlooked, as he’s produced a 8-1 record while fighting for the promotion, with five of those wins via knockout. In fact, he’s turned into quite a headlining fighter with a deep fan base, headlining multiple events outside of Pinnacle in the recent past as well.
Cho trained in the past in Chicago with former Bellator champion Pat Curran, and there’s a wealth of other great fighters always in and around the Windy City. He’s now at the new Mango Combat Sports training under former Curran trainer Doug Mango and Brian Norris. If even a little bit of the greatness of some of his training partners has rubbed off on Cho, then he will be a tough out.
But don’t underestimate Worthy’s team at The Academy. Pittsburgh continues to produce tons of great fighters with more and more making their way to the national stage.
Worthy hasn’t produced a true knockout since 2015, but don’t think for a second that he hasn’t found video of Cho getting knocked stiff in his pro debut and salivated. “The Deathstar” has looked like a different fighter since his return to lightweight, and he seems more patient and willing to pick an opponent apart. His fight against Mike Roberts at Pinnacle FC 16 was maybe my favorite of his career, because it showed his ability to continue to be creative after 15 minutes of striking with an opponent. There are also just some guys who you’re not going to knock out, and Khama showed a different ability to completely control an entire fight. His ground game also continues to improve as always and that’s something he has in his back pocket, where he can use his long limbs to help him on the mat.
After spending his entire career fighting in the Midwest, Cho comes to Pittsburgh for the first time looking to play spoiler. Cho has also competed at featherweight before moving up to lightweight, and he has a high pressure offensive style where he’ll try to set up consistent takedowns. “Chotime” has nice power in his right hand and sets up his takedowns well, and he will take a punch to give one. He has two wins via TKO, two via submission, and two via decision, so he’s proven that he can earn a victory in just about any way.
Like Worthy, Cho is a taller lightweight at 5’10”, so the reach here should be pretty even. This will likely be a matchup of Worthy looking to stay on his feet and pick his shots, with Cho trying to get things to the ground to earn the decision. Worthy has faced a lot of opponents with a similar style to Cho, but I’m not sure if Cho has ever seen anyone like Worthy. That may just prove to be the difference in this one.