Matches to Make After UFC Fight Night 165

By Brian Knapp Dec 21, 2019

Chan Sung Jung chewed up and spit out an all-time great.

“The Korean Zombie” continued his resurgence in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s featherweight division, as he brought down Frankie Edgar with punches in the first round of their UFC Fight Night 165 main event on Saturday at Sajik Arena in Busan, South Korea. A short-notice replacement for the injured Brian Ortega, Edgar succumbed to blows 3:18 into Round 1 and suffered just the second knockout loss of his 32-fight career.

Jung was merciless in his approach. A left hook set Edgar on rubbery legs and set the table for one of the sport’s premier finishers. Jung assaulted the former lightweight champion with punches, transitioned to his back and unleashed his ground-and-pound. Edgar worked his way to a kneeling position and ultimately escaped to his feet, where he was met with an uppercut, a left hook and a right cross that sent him back to the canvas. Soon after, referee Marc Goddard called for the stoppage.

In the aftermath of UFC Fight Night “Edgar vs. Korean Zombie,” here are five matches that ought to be made:

Chan Sung Jung vs. Brian Ortega: Now more than a year removed from his spectacular, last-second knockout defeat to Yair Rodriguez, Jung has re-established himself as a serious threat to the featherweight throne. The 32-year-old buried Edgar with volume, power and precision, as he connected on 79 of the 97 total strikes he attempted, 46 of them deemed significant. Jung has rattled off three wins in four appearances since he returned from close to a four-year layoff in 2017 and seems poised for major opportunities when the calendar flips. Ortega suffered a partial ACL tear while training in November, though he does not expect the injury to require surgery—a development that could allow him to return to the cage sometime in the first half of 2020.

Volkan Oezdemir vs. Johnny Walker-Nikita Krylov winner: Oezdemir curried favor on the scorecards with a strong third round and escaped with a contentious split decision over Aleksandar Rakic in the three-round co-headliner at 205 pounds. All three judges struck 29-28 scores: Evan Field for Rakic, Mark Collett and Anthony Dimitriou for Oezdemir. Rakic landed the more consequential strikes, secured the fight’s only takedown and made a pass at a guillotine choke in the first round, but his efforts went for naught in what his first defeat in more than eight years. Walker and Krylov have been booked opposite one another at UFC Fight Night 170 on March 14.

Alexandre Pantoja vs. Jussier Formiga: Pantoja kept his name on a shortlist of potential title contenders at 125 pounds, as he wiped out Matt Schnell with punches in the first round of their preliminary flyweight pairing. Schnell packed his bags 4:17 into Round 1, his four-fight winning streak having reached its conclusion. Pantoja floored the American Top Team export with an overhand right with less than a minute to go in the first round and snuck in one more punch before Goddard arrived on the scene. Formiga last competed at UFC on ESPN 3, where he bowed to a second-round head kick and follow-up punches from Joseph Benavidez on June 29.

Charles Jourdain vs. Ricardo Ramos: As high as a +348 underdog with some sportsbooks, Jourdain spoiled the homecoming of native son Doo Ho Choi by stopping “The Korean Superboy” with punches in the second round of their featherweight showcase. Choi met his end 4:32 into Round 2 and remains winless since 2016. Both men hit the deck in the first round, but it was Jourdain who turned up the heat in the second. There, he countered an uppercut from Choi with a compact left hook, followed him to the mat and mopped up what was left with follow-up punches. Jourdain, a promising 24-year-old former TKO Major League MMA champion, has won five of his last six fights. Ramos has posted back-to-back victories and owns a 5-1 record in the UFC.

Raoni Barcelos vs. Casey Kenney-Merab Dvalishvili winner: The often-overlooked Barcelos improved to 15-1 overall and 4-0 in the UFC, as the former Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion overcame a slow start to wear down Said Nurmagomedov and earn a unanimous decision in their three-round undercard battle at 135 pounds. All three judges sided with the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt: 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28. Barcelos, who has not tasted defeat in nearly five years, turned the tide with superior grappling in the second and third rounds and will carry an eight-fight winning streak into his next appearance. Kenny and Dvalishvili will collide at UFC Fight Night 167 on Feb. 15.
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