UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. Korean Zombie – What to Bet and What to Forget

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Featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski needs a next challenger – one not named Max Holloway. There’s a great chance we’ll find out who that is when Brian Ortega meets The Korean Zombie in this Saturday’s UFC Fight Night headliner. 

On top of being a likely title eliminator…my god what an awesome fight – one of the best non-title fights of the year. For starters, the beef between these two has gone on for years, culminating in T-City slapping a K-Pop star who has been doubling as The Zombie’s translator. It got personal, and it’ll get settled in a cage fight. 

There are only a handful of fighters that are reliably exciting as Zombie, who owns two Fight of the Years and a Submission of the Year. Since coming back from a four-year hiatus where he served in the Korean army and healed up from various injuries, Zombie has notched three first-round knockouts in four fights. 

It’s about time we rightfully labelled him as a knockout artist – which might be difficult because that’s not what he was and he only has six KOs in 16 career wins. This could just be a case where he went through a strength spurt: he was only 27 when he went into his military service, he’s always been big for the weight class and his body had time to recover. 

The 29-year old Ortega is every bit as exciting as his opponent. If you’re friends with casuals that think jiu-jitsu is boring, show them clips of T-City submitting Moicano and Cub Swanson. Both guys are BJJ black belts, but found themselves frantically tapping just seconds after Ortega locked onto them. His submissions are every bit as violent and frightening as knockouts – something that you don’t see often. 

Don’t write him off as a jiu-jitsu specialist either, as Ortega can throw hands. Yes, he got pummelled into oblivion by Max Holloway, but this is the same dude that lifted Frankie Edgar into orbit with an uppercut and blasted the iron-chinned Clay Guida with a knee. 

The UFC odds at BookMaker.eu opened with The Korean Zombie as a huge -245 favorite, with Ortega at +185 on the comeback. Let’s take a deeper look at the stats, break down the matchup and get to your best picks at the online sportsbook. 

UFC Fight Night Odds 

The Korean Zombie -245 vs. Brian Ortega +185

Fight goes/doesn’t go to decision: +180 / -260

Over/under 2.5 rounds: over -110 / under -120

(Source: BookMaker.eu)

Significant Striking Stats

Strikes landed per minute: Ortega 4.07 / Jung 4.25

Striking accuracy: Ortega 33% / Jung 39%

Strikes absorbed per minute: Ortega 7.36 / Jung 3.77

Striking defense: Ortega 50% / Jung 60%

Grappling Stats

Takedowns per 15 minutes: Ortega 0.51 / Jung 0.81

Takedown accuracy: Ortega 16% / Jung 41%

Takedown defense: Ortega 56% / Jung 75%

Submissions per 15 minutes: Ortega 1.36 / Jung 0.64

Bet It: Fight doesn’t go to decision -260

This is not a cheap pick, but it’s the safe one. Both guys can finish anywhere and instantly, and they are aggressive in hunting for stoppages. 

Ortega’s striking defense stats are somewhat skewed by the beating he took from Holloway, but the truth is that he’s got holes in his standup. Zombie isn’t afraid to bite down and bang either, and it’s safe to assume he’s going to eat a few big strikes as well. It’s difficult to measure tangibly, but we’ve got to consider the heat between them as additional motivation to secure the stoppage. 

If you want more stats, consider this: Ortega’s last eight fights and Zombie’s last nine fights have ended early. 

Bet It: Ortega to win at +175

Forget It: Zombie to win at -180

This fight should be much, much more competitive than these lines imply. In fact, we’d be shocked if Ortega’s line stays this low leading up to fight night. The skillset and toughness he brings is undeniable, and opening at +185 was a steal for a guy that has a near 50-50 chance of winning this fight. Pull the trigger anywhere above +160.

Zombie (arguably) has slight advantages here and there, but not enough to justify this price. We wouldn’t go near him anywhere under -200. Consider -180 as your trigger range to bet on Zombie. 

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Abe first encountered MMA in 2000, watching a VHS tape of Kazushi Sakuraba kicking the legs of a downed Royce Gracie in Pride Fighting Championships. He's been hooked ever since. Abe has penned NBA and NFL articles for Sports Illustrated and RotoExperts. In 2010, Abe signed on as the lead MMA writer for BigOnSports.com, and is now dedicated to helping fellow fans beat the odds.

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