So much for the ring rust argument.
Chan Sung Jung on Saturday returned to the Ultimate Fighting Championship for the first time in 1,281 days and took out Dennis Bermudez with a mean right uppercut and follow-up punches in the UFC Fight Night 104 “Korean Zombie vs. Bermudez” main event at the Toyota Center in Houston. Bermudez succumbed to blows 2:49 into Round 1, as the Long Island MMA rep suffered his third defeat in five appearances.
Despite outlanding “The Korean Zombie” 24-19 by FightMetric count, Bermudez whiffed on all three of his takedown attempts. He staggered Jung with an overhand right less than a minute into the fight and swarmed for a potential finish. However, Bermudez’s bid fell short. Later in the first round, Jung slipped a jab from “The Ultimate Fighter 14” finalist and fired a perfectly timed and exquisitely placed uppercut underneath it. Before he realized what happened, Bermudez was on the floor eating unanswered punches that prompted referee Herb Dean to act on his behalf. It marked the ninth first-round stoppage of Jung’s career and put him right back in the line of contenders at 145 pounds.
On the heels of UFC Fight Night “Bermudez vs. Korean Zombie,” here are five matches that ought to be made:
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Chan Sung Jung vs. Cub Swanson: Jung’s presence adds yet another layer of intrigue to a featherweight division already brimming with excitement. Just 29 years of age and still very much in his competitive prime, “The Korean Zombie” now owns a 4-1 mark in the UFC, his loss to Jose Aldo offset by decisive victories over Bermudez, Dustin Poirier, Mark Hominick and Leonard Garcia. Jung has banked five post-fight performance bonuses in his four wins inside the Octagon, strengthening his reputation as one of the sport’s premier entertainers. Swanson last fought at UFC 206 on Dec. 10, when he captured a unanimous decision from Doo Ho Choi in a remarkable “Fight of the Year” contender at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Jessica Andrade vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk: The table appears to be set for Andrade. The 25-year-old Brazilian powerhouse improved to 3-0 since downshifting to 115 pounds, as she was awarded a unanimous decision over reigning Invicta Fighting Championships titleholder Angela Hill in a crackling main card clash. In her three wins as a strawweight, Andrade has outlanded Hill, Joanne Calderwood and Jessica Penne by a 310-150 margin. Jedrzejczyk has not competed since Nov. 12, when she bested countrywoman Karolina Kowalkiewicz across five rounds to retain her strawweight championship at UFC 205 in New York.
Felice Herrig vs. Nina Ansaroff: Herrig raised her stock at the expense of one of MMA’s best prospects. The 32-year-old Team Curran standout slowed the ascent of Alexa Grasso, as she pocketed a unanimous decision over the previously unbeaten Lobo Gym prospect in the co-main event. While Herrig’s place in the women’s strawweight division remains unclear, she has quietly rattled off nine wins over her last 11 outings. Paige VanZant and Tecia Torres were responsible for her only two defeats. American Top Team’s Ansaroff last appeared at UFC Fight Night 103 on Jan. 15, when she submitted former Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger with a third-round rear-naked choke.
James Vick vs. Lando Vannata-David Teymur winner: A knockout loss to Beneil Dariush at UFC 199 made Vick something of a forgotten man at 155 pounds, but he seems to have resumed his upward trajectory. The Lloyd Irvin understudy rebounded in style, as he submitted Abel Trujillo with a third-round brabo choke in their lightweight showcase. Vick has compiled a stellar 6-1 record since arriving in the UFC a little less than four years ago, with wins over Trujillo, Glaico Franca, Jake Matthews, Nick Hein, Valmir Lazaro and Ramsey Nijem. Vannata and Teymur will lock horns at UFC 209 on March 4 in Las Vegas.
Dennis Bermudez vs. Darren Elkins-Mirsad Bektic loser: Bermudez must return to the drawing board after his ill-fated encounter with “The Korean Zombie.” The first-round knockout halted a two-fight winning streak for the Long Island MMA representative and damaged his hopes of moving into title contention at 145 pounds. Still, Bermudez remains a viable and often-overlooked piece of the featherweight division, a May 2013 victory over current interim champion Max Holloway anchoring his resume. Elkins will face the undefeated Bektic at UFC 209 on March 4.