The UFC’s latest trip to Abu Dhabi’s Fight Island goes down this weekend and sees a long-awaited Featherweight clash in the main event.
The rest of the card looks worth watching, too, with a healthy mix of exciting up-and-comers and gritty veterans.
Here are the predicted outcomes for UFC Fight Island 6: Ortega vs. The Korean Zombie.
#1 UFC Featherweight Division: Brian Ortega vs. Chan Sung Jung
As was previously mentioned, the UFC has tried to book this fight before. Ortega and Jung were set to main event UFC Fight Night 165 in South Korea last December, but Ortega ended up withdrawing due to an injury. Jung stayed on the card and smacked Frankie Edgar around, and it was always expected that the UFC would look to re-book the fight at some point in the future.
It’s surprising that it’s taken this long – the best part of a year – for the UFC to follow through with the booking. It should also come as a surprise to most that things have heated up between the two men, making this a highly personal encounter.
Essentially, things turned nasty back in March, when reports suggested that Ortega assaulted Jung’s Korean translator Jay Park after an interview that saw The Korean Zombie claim T-City was afraid of him. Park clearly wasn’t at fault and isn’t a fighter, so to see the usually mild-mannered Ortega behave like this was stunning.
For his part, Jung then threatened Ortega via Instagram, promising to bloody his face in their eventual fight. Essentially then, a fight between two of the UFC’s supposedly nicer fighters has suddenly become full of bad blood. But who will win?
The most worrying thing for Ortega here is the fact that it’s been so long since he last set foot inside the Octagon. His last bout saw him challenge unsuccessfully for the UFC Featherweight title back at UFC 231 in October 2018.
That fight saw T-City take a ludicrous amount of punishment at the hands of Max Holloway, and so an extended leave of absence from the UFC clearly made sense. But being out for the best part of two years just doesn’t bode well for how he’ll respond in his first fight back.
The other issue for him is that The Korean Zombie is a very dangerous pressure-fighter. He’s obviously not unbeatable, but he has very sharp boxing, and he’s more than willing to push forward and string combinations together continually.
Like Ortega, he’s been out of the UFC for a while, but his 10-month layoff is nowhere near as long as Ortega’s has been. And the last time we did see him, he looked sharper than ever. Jung needed just over three minutes to dispatch of the notoriously tough Edgar. And while the former UFC Lightweight champ is past his prime, to knock him out that quickly is still hugely impressive.
Another thing swinging this fight towards Jung is the fact that he’s a highly underrated grappler. Sure, The Korean Zombie is far more widely known for his striking prowess, but it’s easy to forget that he’s also the owner of two of the most memorable submissions in UFC history.
2011 saw him tap out Leonard Garcia with the UFC’s first-ever twister, while 2012 saw him submit Dustin Poirier with one of Poirier’s favored holds – the D’Arce choke.
Is he as good on the ground as Ortega? Well, probably not. An extremely high-level black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Ortega has seven submissions to his name and has tapped out top-level grapplers like Renato Moicano and Cub Swanson in the UFC.
If Jung puts himself into a bad position then, can Ortega snatch up a submission and get him out of there? For sure. And if The Korean Zombie can’t finish T-City, then even if he’s far ahead on the scorecards, he can’t afford to relax. Moicano, Swanson, and Clay Guida all had the beating of Ortega before he somehow pulled off a miraculous finish.
Overall, if Ortega hadn’t spent so much time out of action, then I’d be far more tempted to pick him to win. Skill-for-skill, he doesn’t match up too badly with the Zombie and arguably has the more impressive UFC wins to his name.
After two years on the shelf, though? I’m not so sure. Jung is certainly the superior striker in this fight, and if he can stop Ortega from taking him down and put the kind of pressure on T-City that Holloway did, then Ortega is probably in trouble.
It’s a very tight fight to call, and I could see it going either way, but I’m taking The Korean Zombie to win this one by stoppage.