Just one week after the brilliant UFC pay-per-view event in Las Vegas, Nevada, the promotion travels to Busan, South Korea, this Saturday for a UFC Fight Night event featuring many of the sport’s most exciting fighters from the region.
Chan Sung Jung, best known as “The Korean Zombie,” returns to action this weekend in a featherweight matchup with Frankie Edgar. The bout came together at the last minute following a late-camp injury to original opponent Brian Ortega. Edgar was scheduled to step down to bantamweight and face Cory Sandhagen but jumped at the change to fight Korean Zombie in South Korea.
Volkan Oezdemir and Aleksandar Rakic will battle in a promising co-main event. Fan-favorite fighter Doo Ho Choi also returns this week and will face another exciting young fighter, Charles Jourdain.
We’ll begin by diving into the details of the five-round main event matchup between Frankie Edgar and Chan Sung Jung before bringing you the best odds, tips, and our prediction for this weekend.
Frankie Edgar vs. Chan Sung Jung
It’s somewhat astonishing that Frankie Edgar has lost two of his last three fights, but it’s less surprising when realizing that the defeats came at the hands of talented fighters Max Holloway and Brian Ortega. Holloway, the former featherweight champion, was dethroned on the weekend by Alex Volkanovski, meaning that Edgar now has a greater chance of making it to a title fight if he can beat Korean Zombie this weekend.
However, he may still have even more work to do as he currently sits at #4 in the featherweight rankings behind Zabit Magomedsharipov (#3), Brian Ortega (#2), and Max Holloway (#1).
Another man looking to make a run toward that featherweight title shot is Chan Sung Jung, who returned to form with a spectacular first-round win against Renato Moicano in June. The Korean Zombie previously lost to Yair Rodriguez in November 2018 in a fight that will be remembered forever because of Rodriguez’s stunning knockout of the year (and maybe best knockout in MMA history). But the key takeaway from that fight — especially as we approach UFC Busan — is that the South Korean was winning the fight up until that freakish last-second knockout.
Both of these featherweight fighters are within reach of a title shot, but they’ll need to win this weekend to have any chance of fighting for the strap in 2020.
Frankie Edgar is up against the odds in South Korea this weekend, but that should come as no surprise to those who have followed the career of “The Answer.” Edgar claimed the UFC Lightweight Championship all the way back in 2010 by defeating BJ Penn as a +588 underdog. Although his career has had its fair share of ups and downs since then, Edgar’s greatest strengths do remain the same.
A talented wrestler, Edgar always has his grappling in his back pocket if needed. But more often than not, especially lately, Edgar has opted to stand with his opponents. The shift in Edgar’s approach to these fights can mostly be credited to the ability of his opponents, however, as taking Ortega down would have been a recipe for disaster, and taking down Max Holloway or Jose Aldo is somewhat of a nightmare.
So, Edgar has resorted to striking with his opposition, and for the most part, he hasn’t found success. While he has remained competitive for long durations, he has been outworked, badly beaten, and even knocked out while standing. It’s clear that against a powerful and relentless striker such as Chan Sung Jung, Edgar’s going to need to rely on his grappling a little more than usual in South Korea.
But even then, that’s not an easy task. The Korean Zombie is an underrated grappler, with most of his prowess lying with insanely fast and reliable scrambles to escape potentially bad positions. He’s not much of an offensive threat, but he won’t need to be against Edgar.
The impact of a successful Edgar takedown is well-known and the best, most recent example is when the veteran grounded Yair Rodriguez and battered him for two rounds at UFC 211. Expect Chan Sung Jung to be ready for the grappling threat and it’s fair to assume that he’ll have answers ready for Edgar come Saturday.
One way that the South Korean may punish Edgar is by timing his entries and landing powerful blows to discourage Edgar from shooting in again. If the strikes aren’t working for Jung, his scrambling ability should be more than enough to escape the vast majority of Edgar’s attempts to take this one down to the ground.
Edgar comes in with a shorter camp than usual and that does impact the value we can get by betting on Jung — but full camp or not, this matchup sure looks like an extremely challenging one for Edgar.
Prediction: Chan Sung Jung to win by unanimous decision
Bet: Chan Sung Jung to win (-161 at BetOnline)
Bet explainer: The Korean Zombie has all of the tools to make this a true stylistic nightmare for Frankie Edgar. He’ll be comfortable fighting at home against Edgar, who had limited time to prepare. Edgar’s go-to gameplan will likely be unsuccessful in this main event matchup and the value exists on Jung’s side for UFC Busan.
Jake is a mixed martial arts reporter from Australia. At WagerBop, he merges his appreciation of combat sports and a strong passion for analytics to uncover opportunities for readers.