Brian Ortega Earned His path to the UFC featherweight title fight in December 2018. it’s a fact. Nobody gave him that chance. He proved himself worthy of the championship by winning six consecutive fights at the UFC.
And at the same time, Ortega’s defeat to then champion Max Holloway at the UFC two years ago showed just how far he had to go to become the best in the world. Ortega, was completely exposed in a TKO loss – to the point where Holloway famously started giving him pointers midfight. Ortega was undefeated that night and left with observers wondering if that would ever be the case.
Since then, Ortega (14-1) has done exactly what you expected. He took the time to heal and made the very difficult decision to leave his boxing coach, a mentor who had coached him since he was a teenager in Los Angeles. He went mainly from training a couple of former and current champions, along with other professional fighters, to train themselves in a garage.
Ortega 2.0 will be unveiled at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night Main Event in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. And it would see him face a rising contender in Chang Sung Jung (16-5), who has knocked out three of his final four opponents by knockout inside the first round. This is a massive battle for Otega, against a vicious skilled opponent. And UFC President Dana White has already declared it the No. 1 contender battle.
It is unusual for a fighter to return from a layoff of about two years And a major disadvantage For the battle of the No. 1 contender. But he talks on the unusual case of Brian Ortega. Has he shed the holes that Holloway exposed, and learned how to maximize the potential that led him to a title fight for the first time? Or did a painful night against Holloway show its true ceiling?
And Jung, also known as the Korean zombie, is just so good that it wouldn’t even matter if Ortega is on point?
All of this makes for a very intriguing main event on Fight Island.
679: It will be on fight night since Ortega last battles. On 8 December 2018, the then winner Max Holloway suffered a TKO loss. For Ortega’s last victory, you must return to Frankie Edgar’s own KO in March 959 days – two years and seven months ago. That same year
8: The night bonus for Jung was awarded by the UFC, tying him with Cub Swanson for the most among active male featherweights. Korean zombies have pocketed $ 50,000 checks for nightly performances (three times), night battles (twice), nightly submission (twice) and night (once) knockouts. Ortega has six bonuses (night fight four times, night performance twice), tying him for fifth place.
6: The final by Ortega and Jung, with Charles Oliveira and Conor McGregor tying for second, behind four of the active featherweights, Holloway.
6: Consistent main event for Jung, the longest streak in UFC history among fighters to ever win a championship. Jung once challenged for the belt, losing to then-champion Jose Aldo in 2013 from a fourth-round TKO.
1: The rivalry already witnessed attacks. Score it for Ortega – but not against Jung. At the stands of UFC 248 in March, Ortega threatened to slap Jung’s friend Jay Park after slamming it as the Korean-American rapper originally directed it during this matchup during the buildup. The appearance was scheduled for December. Ortega later apologized.
Source: ESPN Stats and Information and UFC Stats
Five vs five
Brian Ortega’s recent results
Disadvantages: Max Holloway (TKO4, December 8, 2018; see on ESPN +)
Wins: Frankie Edgar (KO1, March 3, 2018; Watch on ESPN +)
Won: Cub Swanson (SUB2, December 9, 2017)
Won: Renato Moico (SUB3, July 29, 2017)
Won: Clay Guida (KO3, June 4, 2016)
Chan Sung Jung’s recent results
Won: Frankie Edgar (TKO1, December 21, 2019; Watch on ESPN +)
Win: Renato Moico (TKO1, June 22, 2019; watch on ESPN +)
Disadvantages: Yair Rodriguez (KO5, November 10, 2018)
Won: Dennis Bermudez (KO1, February 4, 2017)
Loss: Jose Aldo (TKO4, August 3, 2013; see on ESPN +)
And the winner is…
Jung has been looking great since returning to action after mandatory military service in South Korea in 2017. Her power is clearly legitimate, and she was on the verge of a heart-wrenching failure (arguably the biggest knockout in Orissa history) in the final seconds, defeating Yer Rodriguez in a 25-minute stand-up fight two years ago. It’s hard to go against the zombie’s pace right now, but I can’t shake the feeling that a two-year turnaround is going to make a difference for Ortega. What if his wrestling has improved dramatically? What if his striking defense has done the same? I have bought into the idea of Ortega 2.0. I am looking forward to a back-and-forth competitive battle, and I’ll go with Ortega to present it, third round.
Saturday fight card
ESPN +, 7 pm ET
Bryan Ortega vs Chan Sung Jung | Men’s wings
Cutlin Chukagian vs Jessica Andrade | Women’s flyweight
Jimmy Croot vs Modestus Bookkus | light heavyweight
Cláudio Silva vs James Kruse | Welterweight
Thomas Alameda vs Jonathan Martinez | Men’s wings
ESPN +, 4 PM ET
Matus Gamrot vs Gurum Kultadez | Lightweight
Gillian Robertson vs Poliana Botello | Women’s flyweight
John Phillips vs Jun Yong Park | Middleweight
Jamie Mularkey vs Phere Zium | Lightweight
Gadzimurad Antigulov vs Maxim Grishin | light heavyweight
Mark Strigal vs Nurmagomedov | Men’s bantamweight
How to see fights
Watch the fight on ESPN +. If you don’t have ESPN +, get it here.
There is also battle, Which provides live updates for every UFC card.
Five more things to know (from ESPN statistics and information)
1. Former UFC strawweight champion Jessica Andrade makes her flyweight debut when she takes on Caitlin Chukagian, who has been eliminated two fights from the challenge for the 125-pound title. Andrey would become the second female fighter in UFC history to join Valerie Letternue to fight in three divisions. Chuckagian is ranked No. 3 in the ESPN women’s flyweight rankings, while Andrade is fourth in the strawweight. A couple more quick notices: all seven of Chukagian’s UFC wins have come from a decision, and an Andrade win would put Brazil in a tie with another 115-pound winner, Joanna Zdrejeski, the most by a woman in UFC history Is for victory.
2. Jimmy Kroot, who faces Modestus Buchkus in light heavyweight, landed eight takedowns in his last fight, which presented the first round of Michal Oleksijiechuk in February. According to UFC Stats, this is the highest takedown by a fighter ever in a first round match.
3. Claudio Silva put a 14-fight winning streak on the line when he faced 36-fight veteran welterweight James Krause. Silva is 5–0 in the UFC, making it one of the 12 Brazilian players to win their first five UFC fights.
4. Former KSW lightweight champion Matusse Gamerot came up with a 17–0 record against 11–2 Guram Kutladze in his UFC debut, which is also making his first Octagon appearance. Gamrott has the third best record on the UFC roster, trailing only Khabib Narmmagomedov (28–0) and Israel Adesanya (20–0).
5. No female fighter in the roster has more submission wins at UFC than flyweight Gillian Robertson, who won her fourth match in June against Kourtney Casey. Robertson faces Poliana Botelo, 3–1 in the UFC, with her only loss coming in – Cynthia Calvillo.
Jeff Wagonheim of ESPN contributed to this fight preview.