UFC on ESPN+ 24: Edgar vs. Korean Zombie Full Preview

In 2019, UFC hosted 42 MMA events across the world. They touched down in well established markets like New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Brazil and more, but they also visited growing markets like Denmark, Mexico and Singapore. In the final event of the year, and decade, UFC heads to Korea for the second time in its history. 

The country has a niche MMA market, including regional promotions like ROAD FC and Angel’s Fighting Championship. No doubt they have produced prominent names in MMA, including the “Stun Gun” Dong Hyun Kim, A Sol Kwon and Seo Hee Ham. Arguably the most well-known however is Chan Sung Jung, better known as “The Korean Zombie.” After serving his mandatory military time in South Korea, Jung started his second UFC run in 2017. Now 2-1 in his campaign, he goes up against Frankie Edgar in the main event of UFC Busan.

Live from the Sajik Arena (사직실내체육관), in Busan (부산시), Korea (한국), UFC concludes it’s action-packed 2019 with UFC on ESPN+ 23. Starting at the ripe time of 2AM EST, the prelims for UFC Busan features seven bouts.

Bout 1: Heili Alateng (알라탕 헬리) (13-7-1) vs. Ryan Benoit (라이언 브누아) (10-5) (Bantamweight)

In the first bout of the show, Ryan Benoit will make a return to the UFC after a two-year layoff to face Heili Alateng. Benoit is 3-3 in the UFC, being absent since 2017, where he defeated Ashkan Mokhatarian with a head kick. Alateng is familiar to Korea, having been a frequent fighter in ROAD FC prior to being scouted by the UFC. He won his UFC debut against Danaa Batgerel back in August, going the distance with the Mongolian fighter.

Bout 2: Amanda Lemos (아만다 레모스) (6-1-1) vs. Miranda Granger (미란다 그레인저) (7-0) (Flyweight)

Similar to the first fight of the evening, Amanda Lemos comes back from an extensive break to face Miranda Granger in this fight. Lemos last fought in 2017, losing to Leslie Smith. That was Lemos’ first fight in the UFC, attempting to bounce back from whatever negative momentum still is there from the dated loss. Granger got her debut jitters out of the way in August, getting a win over Hannah Goldy. Granger had previously fought in regional promotion CFFC. She has stayed undefeated throughout her professional and amateur career.

Bout 3: Said Nurmagomedov (사이드 누르마고메도프) (13-1) vs. Raoni Barcelos (라오니 바르셀로스) (14-1) (Bantamweight)

In a fight that feels buried deep down this card, up-and-coming Said Nurmagomedov and Raoni Barcelos are pitted against each other in a bantamweight bout. Nurmagomedov is 2-0 in the UFC, prevailing over Justin Scoggins and Ricardo Ramos. Barcelos is 3-0, having recently defeated Carlos Huachin via punches.

Bout 4: Alexandre Pantoja (21-4) (알렉산드레 판토자) vs. Matt Schnell (14-4) (맷 슈넬) (Flyweight)

Matt Schnell took a little time to get on his feet in the UFC. He lost to Tim Elliott on The Ultimate Fighter Season 24, then lost two times on other shows. But, in late 2017, he snapped his losing streak and started what is now a four-fight winning streak. Attempting to move it to five, Schnell goes up against Alexandre Pantoja. “The Cannibal” most recently lost to Deiveson Figueiredo via decision at UFC 240, breaking a three-fight winning streak he had before. Pantoja has a solid 5-2 record in the UFC.

Bout 5: Omar Morales (오마르 모랄레스) (8-0) vs. Dong Hyun Ma (마동현) (16-10-3) (Lightweight)

The first Korean fighter on the card, Dong Hyun Ma, has a tall order: end Omar Morales’ undefeated streak. Morales is a Dana White’s Contender Series winner, making his debut on this card. He has also fought in Bellator in the past, taking out Troy Nawrocki in under a minute at Bellator 204. Ma has fought in the UFC since 2015, going 3-4 in the promotion. “The Maestro” will walk into this fight on a two-fight losing streak, recently getting stopped by Scott Holtzman in August.

Bout 6: Suman Mokhtarian (수만 모크타리안) (8-1) vs. Seung Woo Choi (최승우) (7-3) (Featherweight)

As the prelims near their end, two fighters will compete who have never tasted victory in the UFC. Suman Mokhatarian lost in The Ultimate Fighter Season 27, and most recently lost in the first round to Sodiq Yusuff. Korean fighter Seung Woo Choi debuted earlier this year, losing to Movsar Evloev and Gavin Tucker. He had previously been successful in Korean promotion TFC.

Bout 7: Ciryl Gane (시릴 가네) (5-0) vs. Tanner Boser (태너 보저) (17-5-1) (Heavyweight)

In the featured fight of the preliminary card, undefeated Ciryl Gane faces Tanner Boser. Gane debuted earlier this year, prevailing over Raphael Pessoa and Dontale Mayes. He had previously fought in Canadian promotion TKO. Boser won his UFC debut two months back, going the distance against Daniel Spitz. Before then, he had competed many times in ACB.

Bout 8: Kyung Ho Kang (강경호) (16-8) vs. Pingyuan Liu (리우 핑유안) (15-5) (Bantamweight)

Kicking off the main card, “Mr. Perfect” Kyung Ho Kang will face Pingyuan Liu. Coming from recognized Korean gym “Team MAD,” Kang has been a part of the UFC since 2013. A win at this show would give him a three-fight winning streak. That would make a three-way tie with his two other three-fight winning streaks for most consecutive wins in his career. But that’s looking quite ahead of time. First, he has to defeat Liu, who is no walk-through opponent. While he recently lost to Jonathan Martinez in July, the fight ended his 10-fight winning streak which dates back to his career in WLF.

Bout 9: Jun Yong Park (박준용) (10-4) vs. Marc-Andre Barriault (마크-안드레 바리올트) (11-3) (Middleweight)

The next fight sees Jun Yong Park and Marc-Andre Barriault battle for their first win in the promotion. Park lost his debut to Anthony Hernandez in August, getting caught in an anaconda choke in the second minute. Barriault lost twice this year, more recently in a split decision to Krzysztof Jotko. He wrapped up a six-fight undefeated stint in TKO before being signed by the UFC.

Bout 10: Da Un Jung (정다운) (12-2) vs. Mike Rodriguez (10-4) (마이크 로드리게스) (Light Heavyweight)

Following a strong debut in August from Da Un Jung, he returns on this card to face Mike Rodriguez. Jung’s UFC debut saw him choke Khadis Ibragimov to win the fight. He had previously fought in many promotions, mainly Japanese promotion HEAT. Rodriguez recently lost to John Allan via decision, making him 1-2 in the promotion. He found himself in the UFC after getting a stoppage victory in the first season of Dana White’s Contender Series.

Bout 11: Doo Ho Choi (최두호) (14-3) vs. Charles Jourdain (찰스 조르단) (9-2) (Featherweight)

A couple of fights after gym-mate Kyung Ho Kang fights, Doo Ho Choi will be put up against Charles “Air” Jourdain in a featherweight class. Choi has been out of the spotlight lately, recently losing to Jeremy Stephens via punches in early 2018. Before then, his most recent fight was a loss to Cub Swanson in 2016. Attempting to break his streak, “The Korean Superboy” will be put up against Jourdain, who lost in his UFC debut against Des Green back in May. Coincidentally, like many other fighters on this card, Jourdain fought frequently in Canadian promotion TKO before being signed to the UFC.

Bout 12: Volkan Oezdemir (볼칸 우즈데미르) (16-4) v.s Aleksandar Rakic (알렉산더 라키치) (12-1) (Light Heavyweight)

The co-main event of the show sees light heavyweight contender Aleksandar Rakic get put up against one of the weight classes gatekeepers, Volkan Oezdemir. Rakic is 4-0 since debuting in the UFC, more recently getting a win over Jimi Manuwa in under a minute due to a head kick. Oezdemir recently put an ending to a three-fight losing streak, stopping Ilir Latifi in two rounds. To be absolutely fair, Oezdemir’s losses came against title challengers like Daniel Cormier, Anthony Smith and Dominick Reyes. Whether he will allow Rakic to add his name to the list of winners will be seen on Saturday.

Bout 13: Chan Sung Jung (정찬성) (15-5) vs. Frankie Edgar (프랭키 에드가) (23-7-1) (Featherweight)

The main event of the evening sees Chan Sung Jung, or, “The Korean Zombie” face Frankie Edgar in a five-round fight. This matchup only came together in recent weeks, as Jung’s original opponent was Brian Ortega. He pulled out of the fight recently however, citing a torn ACL taking him out of action. Edgar stepped up to the plate, and here we are. Jung left the UFC limelight in 2014 to undergo two years of military service in Korea. He returned in 2017, stopping Dennis Bermudez in under three minutes with punches. His first lost in his recent run came against Yair Rodriguez, who landed a literal last-second elbow to knock Jung out in a five-round bout. Jung bounced back however, recently defeating Renato Moicano in just under a minute with strikes.

Edgar’s last fight was for the Featherweight Championship. While he went all 25 minutes with now-former champion Max Holloway, he did not prevail. Before then, he beat Cub Swanson. He was originally slated to face Jung in 2018, but was replaced due to a torn bicep. Edgar is one of the most experienced fighters in UFC’s history, with a record of 17-7-1 in the promotion.

After this event, UFC will be absent from events for four weeks. When returning, UFC will present UFC 246. Currently scheduled to headline the card is Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone in a five-round non-championship fight. In the meantime however, there will most certainly still be MMA. Bellator will debut in Japan on the 28th, with Fedor Emelianenko and Rampage Jackson main eventing the card. New Year’s Eve will have a double header with RIZIN in Japan and PFL having their grand finals in New York. ONE Championship will also hold a big card in Thailand to kick off the new year’s tour of MMA events.

 

UFC 237 Full Report: Andrade Becomes New Strawweight Champion

UFC returned on Saturday with another one of their pay-per-view hallmark events. UFC 237 included a Strawweight Championship bout between defending champ Rose Namajunas and challenger Jessica Andrade. Andrade, like many names on this card, were fighting in the comfort of their passionate home country of Brazil. The card was booked accordingly, with 14 Brazilian fighters on the 12 bout card. Among them were Jose Aldo and Anderson Silva, two big names not only in Brazilian MMA but MMA in general. Let’s go through the whole evening of festivities, starting with the preliminary fights.

Preliminary Card

Bout 1: Talita Bernardo (#15) (5-3) vs. Viviane Araujo (6-1) (Bantamweight)

Kicking off the evening was a Brazilian versus Brazilian matchup, with Viviane Araujo debuting against Talita Bernardo. Araujo had a successful run in the Japanese promotion Pancrase in recent years. In this fight Araujo was constantly bouncing on her toes, coming in for combos or strikes and then backing out. In the final minute of the first round, Bernardo shot for a takedown which Araujo took control of, taking the top position. Araujo tries for a rear naked choke as the round concluded. Bernardo started to land more strikes at the start of the second. Araujo started to land her overhand right with great power. Another takedown was defended by Araujo. Araujo landed a takedown with roughly a minute left in the second round.  Bernardo landed a great combo as the round ended. In the first minute of round three, Araujo dropped Bernardo with a right hand. No extra strikes were needed to conclude the bout. She had previously fought at Strawweight in her career, and said after the bout that she plans to go back to that division.

My Scorecard:

FighterRound 1Round 2Round 3Total
Bernardo1010

Araujo99

Bout 2: Raoni Barcelos (13-1) vs. Carlos Huachin (10-3-2) (Bantamweight)

The next bout was Brazilian Raoni Barcelos versus Carlos Huachin. Both fighters were throwing some heavy hands in the first round. The tempo of strikes thrown in the first was very fast. Barcelos tried for a takedown at the start of the second round but take up unsuccessful. Huachin was dropped by a right jab. Barcelos attempted to finish the fight on the ground, landing tons of punches. Huachin made himself vulnerable to many holds, with Barcelos trying things from many angles. In the final moments of the second round, Barcelos started to land elbows which made the referee step in and end the bout.

My Scorecard:

FighterRound 1Round 2Round 3Total
Barcelos9


Huachin10


Bout 3: Priscila Cachoeira (8-2) vs. Luana Carolina (5-1) (Flyweight)

The Fight Pass Early Prelims finished with Priscila Cachoeira and Luana Carolina facing each other. Throughout the first round, Carolina was using a thai clinch to slow down offense or land strikes. Cachoeira was the fighter consistently walking down her opponent. Carolina got a cut under her eye. Cachoeira caught a kick at one point and then made Carolina fall by kicking the other leg off balance. Both fighters had great moments in the first round. After Cachoeira was eating strikes for quite some time, she was floored by a kick to the head. Carolina tried for a submission the ground afterwards, putting in an armbar that did not put away the fight. As they were about to go to their feet, Carolina landed a knee to a still grounded Cachoeira. There was a pause in the fight, but a point was not taken away. They went back to the ground for a little of the final minute of the second round. Carolina continued to outstrike a very fatigued Cachoeira in the final round. The judges gave Luana Carolina the win unanimously (30-26, 30-26 & 29-27).

My Scorecard:

FighterRound 1Round 2Round 3Total
Cachoeira98926
Carolina10101030

Bout 4: Clay Guida (34-18) vs. BJ Penn (16-13-2) (Lightweight)

Kicking off the prelims on ESPN was veterans Clay Guida and BJ Penn facing each other. Guida went into this bout as a -700 favourite. In the first round Penn was much more composed while Guida was doing his usual all around the place fight style. Guida shot for a takedown in the second round but wasn’t successful. Penn was getting hit consistently with punches in the final round. The judges gave Clay Guida a unanimous victory (29-28, 29-28 & 29-27).

My Scorecard:

FighterRound 1Round 2Round 3Total
Guida9101029
Penn109928

Bout 5: Warlley Alves (12-3) vs. Sergio Moraes (14-4-1) (Welterweight)

Continuing on with the prelims, Warlley Alves fought Sergio Moraes in a Welterweight bout. In the first round, Moraes was landing good combos. Alves threw tons of kicks. There was a pause after Moraes said he got poked in the eyes. The kicks continued to be effective for Alves in the second round. In the final round he started to tee off with punches. After a very dominant performance throughout, Alves finally ended the fight in it’s final scheduled minute. A knee and an uppercut is what put away Moraes.

My Scorecard:

FighterRound 1Round 2Round 3Total
Alves1010

Moraes99

Bout 6: Thiago Moises (11-3) vs. Kurt Holobaugh (17-6) (Lightweight)

It was a battle between two Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series fighters in the next bout. As many people will/have tonight, Holobaugh got boos from the crowd. Both fighters were hot out the gates, with Holobaugh shooting for a takedown up against the cage. He didn’t get it, with Moises keeping it was stand-up. He tried again a minute later but didn’t get a different result. Moises landed a takedown shortly after. He landed elbows while in half guard. At the start of round two, Holobaugh got hit with some hard punches but shook them off. He landed a double leg takedown and stayed on the ground for a short amount of time. Holobaugh started to string together some good combinations in the second half of the round. Holobaugh slipped in the third round after a kick to the leg, letting Moises take top position on the ground. Shortly after they got back up, Moises landed a single leg takedown. Moises put in a rear naked choke but couldn’t finish the bout with it. Holobaugh was on top for a minute or so on the ground. Moises landed a hard slam for a takedown, landing strikes on the ground until the final round ended. The judges all gave Thiago Moises the victory (30-26, 30-26 & 30-27).

My Scorecard:

FighterRound 1Round 2Round 3Total
Moises10101030
Holobaugh99927

Bout 7: Rogerio Nogueira (23-8) vs. Ryan Spann (15-5) (Light Heavyweight)

Finishing off the preliminary card for UFC 237 was Rogerio Nogueira facing Ryan Spann. Spann landed a takedown within the first minute, putting in an arm triangle that Nogueira escaped. Spann tried for another takedown but couldn’t land it. Spann dropped Nogueira with a left uppercut that ended the bout.

My Scorecard:

FighterRound 1Round 2Round 3Total
Nogueira



Spann



Main Card

Bout 8: Irene Aldana (#11) (9-4) vs. Bethe Correia (#13) (10-3-1) (Bantamweight)

The main card started with Irene Aldana facing Bethe Correira. Corriera weighed in at 141 for this 135-pound bout, but Aldana agreed to continue on with the bout. She lost 40% of her fight purse due to not making weight in time. The first round was a slow one with Aldana finding success by using her reach advantage. Correira found ways to close the distance in the second round and land more of her own strikes. In the final round, Correira started to string together good combinations, consistently being the one who was advancing in the octagon. When the fight went to the ground with a takedown from Corriera, but Aldana showed good defence and put in an armbar and got a submission victory. Correira was bleeding heavily afterwards.

My Scorecard:

FighterRound 1Round 2Round 3Total
Aldana109

Correia910

Bout 9: Thiago Alves (23-13) vs. Laureano Staropoli (8-1) (Welterweight)

The next fight on the card was Thiago Alves versus Laureano Staropoli. The fight was mostly a close striking battle. The final round started with very aggressive swinging by both guys. Alves landed a takedown, but Staropoli got up moments later. They both had great pacing, still throwing with speed and power in the third round. Alves tried for a second takedown but was stopped. The fight went the distance with the judges gave Staropoli the win (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

FighterRound 1Round 2Round 3Total
Alves99927
Staropoli10101030

Bout 10: Jose Aldo (#1) (28-4) vs. Alexander Volkanovski (#4) (19-1) (Featherweight)

Jose Aldo fought in his home country against Alexander Volkanovski in the next matchup. The first round was a striking battle, with both fighters being very methodical. Volkanovski seemingly landed more, but every time Aldo did anything the crowd would become unglued. Aldo was poked in the eye in the second, making a warning get issued to Volkanovski. The final round was the continuation of the dominant performance that Volkanovski was already putting on. All three judges gave Alexander Volkanovski the victory (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).

My Scorecard:

FighterRound 1Round 2Round 3Total
Aldo99927
Volkanovski10101030

Bout 11: Jared Cannonier (#10) (11-4) vs. Anderson Silva (34-9) (#14) (Middleweight)

In the co-main event slot of the PPV, Anderson Silva fought Jared Cannonier. The first round was somewhat close until Silva was dropped by a leg kick. He fell down and obviously injured his right leg. The fight was ended by referee Herb Dean. Cannonier was getting booed after the fight, and said that he didn’t respect the crowd since they aren’t respecting him.

My Scorecard:

FighterRound 1Round 2Round 3Total
Cannonier



Silva



Bout 12: Rose Namajunas © (8-3) vs. Jessica Andrade (19-6) (#1) (Strawweight Championship)

In the main event of the evening, “Thug” Rose Namajunas put her Strawweight Championship on the line against Jessica Andrade. In the first round, Namajunas was consistently hitting Andrade with jabs. Very early on Andrade had a cut around an eye. Andrade got ahold of Namajunas and slammed her down, but couldn’t get anything done before Namajunas brought it back to the feet. Namajunas landed a takedown as well, but both of them getting up almost right after. After Namajunas landed a knee, Andrade went to the ground in full defensive mode. The first round ended with Namajunas defending a takedown. Andrade showed more life in the second by throwing combinations. Near the end of the second round, Andrade slammed Namajunas on her head for a takedown, knocking her out and ending the bout. Jessica Andrade is the new UFC Strawweight Champion. Andrade and her corner were all very emotional afterwards.

My Scorecard:

FighterRound 1Round 2Round 3Round 4Round 5Total
Namajunas10




Andrade9




UFC returns next weekend with “UFC ON ESPN+ 10” in Rochester, New York, with Rafael Dos Anjos and Kevin Lee main eventing. The next pay-per-view that the promotion is running is just under a month away, with Henry Cejudo and Marlon Moraes fighting for the Bantamweight Championship. Also on the card, Valentina Shevchenko will defend her Flyweight Championship against Jessica Eye.