Featherweight contenders Brian Ortega (14-1, 3 KOs, 7 SUBs) and “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung (15-5, 5 KOs, 8 SUBs) will meet at UFC on ESPN+ 23 on Saturday, December 21, 2019 at the Sajik Arena in Busan, South Korea. The card streams live on ESPN+ starting 5am ET.
The Korean Zombie has been on a quest to earn another shot at the featherweight title since a failed championship bid against Jose Aldo in 2013. This Saturday, he could very well secure a second chance in his home country of South Korea.
It won’t be easy – standing across from him will be former lightweight champion, two-time featherweight title challenger and future Hall of Famer Frankie Edgar.
The Korean Zombie makes for a natural title challenger should he beat Edgar. A huge fan favorite with the best nickname in the game, the 32-year old also lays claim to a Fight of the Year and multiple Fight of the Nights. There’d be a lot of excitement around a Volkanovski-Zombie title match, and it’d be ridiculously easy to promote to casual fans. Of course, Dana White is still figuring out whether to book an immediate rematch for Blessed.
Edgar isn’t taking the matchup under the most ideal circumstances. The New Jersey native was deep into a training camp for his bantamweight debut, but an injury to Brian Ortega opened up the opportunity for Edgar to main event a card a month earlier than he was scheduled to fight.
It makes a ton of sense for Edgar to take this matchup: Jung is a legit star and a top featherweight. A win would give Frankie serious momentum going into 135 pounds – and perhaps give him the clout to jump right into a title match. A loss would hurt, but Edgar would still be seen as a top bantamweight when he actually makes the cut.
Let’s take a look at the UFC odds at BookMaker.eu make some betting predictions. Live UFC betting is available should you want to hedge any of your bets during the fight.
Chan Sung Jung -165 vs Frankie Edgar +135
Fight goes/doesn’t go to decision:
Significant Striking Stats
Strikes landed per minute: Edgar 3.60 / Jung 4.25
Striking accuracy: Edgar 39% / Jung 39%
Strikes absorbed per minute: Edgar 2.39 / Jung 3.77
Striking defense: Edgar 69% / Jung 60%
Takedowns per 15 minutes: Edgar 2.36 / Jung 0.81
Takedown accuracy: Edgar 31% / Jung 41%
Takedown defense: Edgar 65% / Jung 75%
Submission average: Edgar 0.3 / Jung 0.64
Edgar is at an age when fighters typically show signs of clear decline. While we haven’t seen a steep dropoff in skills, this is a guy that’s been in a ton of brutal wars and was stopped by strikes for the first time last year. The takedowns aren’t as coming as often, and he’s working a little harder to get them.
The question here is whether he can bring TKZ to the mat. When he’s mixing his boxing and wrestling successfully, Edgar is nearly impossible to deal with – the best example being his masterclass TKO of Yair Rodriguez. He can still be effective with just his boxing, but because he lacks finishing power Edgar is solely reliant on volume to win on points.
We think that Zombie’s size and athleticism will be a real deterrent. While the Korean has yet to face a wrestler of Edgar’s caliber, he does possess 75% takedown defense and has springy hips if he does get pulled to the ground. It’s likely that Edgar lands a takedown only for TKZ to pop back up.
Who holds the edge in a striking matchup? Edgar is the more technical boxer, but Jung has a more diverse arsenal. Both styles can be effective, and it’s easy to see how either fighter could assert himself in this matchup. There’s a reason why the online sportsbook shows such competitive prices.
Our Pick: Jung to win at -165
These guys have different strengths and weaknesses, but the sum of their skills are relatively even. In this case, we have to lean on the guy that’s bigger, stronger, younger and more athletic: The Korean Zombie.