Brian Ortega (14-1) vs. Chan Sung Jung (16-5)CHANCES: Young (-175), Ortega (+155)
Considering his nickname, it shouldn’t have been a surprise that “The Korean Zombie” is resurrected, but Jung’s recent surge since returning from military service has been an absolute delight. Jung’s 2010 US debut against Leonard Garcia went flawlessly everywhere except on the scoreboards. The two had an outright war that made Jung, in part thanks to one of the best nicknames in sports history, an immediate star and cult favorite even when defeated. When Jung started his UFC career with three straight wins, the promotion decided he was the best choice to face then-featherweight champion Jose Aldo, if not on merit, certainly on base. excitement. However, it turned out as badly as it could get for Jung. He didn’t do much until he suffered a serious shoulder injury that would keep him out of action for over a year. Of course, that injury layoff bled into Jung’s compulsory service in the Korean military, so the end result was that it would take three and a half years before he returned. He returned to excellent form, quickly blasting Dennis Bermudez before ending up on the set again, this time with a serious knee injury. Given all of this, it was easy to write a tale that Jung’s years of high-level violence had finally caught up with him, but since returning from his last injury, he has been the best “Zombie” to date. . He won 24 minutes and 59 seconds of an excellent war against Yair Rodriguez in his last comeback fight, only to fall victim to one of the craziest endings in UFC history – a pop-up elbow inexplicable of Rodriguez who turned off Jung’s lights just as the final horn sounded. If a loss deserved a mulligan, this was it, and Jung did his best to wash it off with a great 2019 campaign, winning the main events against Renato Carneiro and Frankie Edgar in a quick and brutal fashion. At this point, Jung is firmly in the mix for a title shot, and a win here in that grudge match against Ortega would make him undeniable.
Ortega is set to create his own successful comeback, given that it has been almost two years since “T-City” graced the Octagon. Ortega remains one of the most venomous submission artists in the sport, which has allowed him to create a weird yet successful style that is far more than the sum of its parts. Ortega has already had a streak of four consecutive third round finishes – never winning a single round on the scorecards – and at first it seemed like a fluke. However, there is a method to the madness, as Ortega keeps advancing and presenting the offense until his opponent eventually slips, at which point he can find a finish, whether through a knockout of highlight reel or one of its signature chokes. There are other fighters who adopt similar strategies in broad strokes, but what makes Ortega particularly odd is that this is a particularly rudimentary form of approach. Ortega doesn’t seem to be doing any defensive reads or trying to drown his opponent in the beat, and his evolution has been more about adding tools to his toolbox rather than developing some sort of clear progression of his fights. Ortega goes through an ever-widening array of techniques until something works, how he is just an incredibly efficient finisher, especially on the mat. Of course, all of this was revealed in his last appearance, a featherweight title fight against Max Holloway in which the Hawaiian proved too quick and elusive for Ortega to accomplish much. Ortega was so technically outclassed that Holloway essentially gave him pointers during the later stages of the fight. If nothing else, Ortega has continued to show the ridiculous durability that has helped him take him this far, as it was the doctor who stopped him and not Holloway. Hopefully that’s true here, because he’ll need it against Jung.
There’s a personal side to it too, as both sides had a blast in the crowd at UFC 248, and the end result was few untitled fights are as interesting as this one. The two men are skilled enough in the field to cancel each other out; a club-and-sub isn’t out of the question, but it would be a shock if either of the men came out and dominated the action on the mat. This makes for an interesting hitting game. Considering the success Holloway has had against Ortega as a much faster forward, it looks pretty certain that the Californian is going to eat quite a bit of damage in this one. Ortega seems up to the task unless that beating really changes his career, and from there the fight gives rise to plenty of question marks.
Again, Jung thinks he’s successful on offense, but the question is whether or not he can remain constantly dedicated to getting out of danger afterwards. Jung has become much more careful in terms of choosing his places to invade and blitz his opponents, but once he pulls the trigger he’s ready to jump in for a trade. Bermudez, Carneiro and Edgar all thought they had a hard time resisting these vicious combinations and were eliminated without too much trouble, leaving a comparison between Ortega and Rodriguez difficult to analyze. Rodriguez has had success turning fire back, but he’s also a much faster fighter than Ortega. However, while Jung has a clear advantage in terms of speed, Ortega is a noisy hitter who can fill the gap with the hardest hits. A victory for Jung has to bank on one of two things: either he can knock out Ortega cleanly in a way no one has done before, or he can cleanly exit the trades after deciding to blitz and ditch. ‘swarm Rener Gracie’s protege with suits. The last scenario is worry. In prolonged combat, “Zombie” must essentially zombie, and if it ends in a war of attrition, Ortega has proven to be the much more enduring fighter. It seems like aerial combat and Jung could make Ortega look silly for the most part, but the call is for “T-City” to go through their options and find something that can quickly turn the tide of the fight. The choice is Ortega via a stop in the third lap.
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