The UFC’s 20th-anniversary show from Denver – the birthplace of the promotion back in 1993 – wasn’t a major pay-per-view card as it was only coming a week removed from UFC 230 in Madison Square Garden, but for a Fight Night show it was a relatively strong card.
‘Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung made his return in the main event to take on hot prospect Yair Rodriguez in a fight that almost guaranteed fireworks – and delivered hugely in the end – while the co-main event saw a return to form for Donald Cerrone as he submitted Mike Perry in the waning seconds of the first round.
With a card filled with prospects and veterans alike, there were bound to be at least some surprises throughout the night, and indeed, we got a handful of really shocking moments that should be remembered fondly when the year ends.
Here are 3 surprises from UFC Fight Night 139: Korean Zombie vs. Rodriguez
#1: Rodriguez’s wild elbow ends an instant classic
The main event fight between the ‘Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung and TUF: Latin America winner Yair Rodriguez was a tricky one to pick coming in, with plenty of variables making it an almost impossible choice. And in execution, both men got their licks in with defense apparently being the last thing on either fighter’s mind.
A bonafide contender for the Fight of the Year, early on it appeared that Rodriguez’s wild, kick-heavy offensive game was giving him the edge, but as the fight went on, Jung began to come back – outboxing the Mexican with his combinations and bloodying him up, stunning him on more than one occasion too.
Coming into the 5th round, the scorecards read 39-37, 39-37 and 38-38 with Jung ahead – meaning Rodriguez would’ve almost needed a miracle to win. And as Jung appeared to be bossing that round too, the miracle didn’t look likely to happen at all.
That was until literally the dying seconds – when Jung stepped forward, only to be met by an upward elbow from Rodriguez, who ducked and basically threw the strike blindly. The Korean Zombie was knocked out instantly and somehow, ‘El Pantera’ had snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat.
UFC President Dana White has already called it “the craziest finish ever” and he probably isn’t far wrong. This was the definition of a crazy surprise on a UFC show!