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The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday closed the book on its 2019 campaign with UFC Fight Night 165—an event featuring a featherweight showdown between Chan Sung Jung and Frankie Edgar at Sajik Arena in Busan, South Korea. Some stocks rose, and others took a dive.
Chan Sung Jung: “The Korean Zombie” dominated Edgar on home soil, as he knocked the former lightweight champion around the Octagon before scoring a technical knockout midway through the first round. The victory gave Jung his first winning streak since 2012—a year that saw him challenge then-champion Jose Aldo for the 145-pound title. Active and healthy for the first time in years, Jung looks rejuvenated and better than ever. The strides he has made with his standup are notable, and he has quickly gained momentum as one of the featherweight division’s most dangerous contenders. Afterward, Jung called for a shot at newly minted featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, but with UFC President Dana White appearing to favor a rematch between the Aussie and Max Holloway, “The Korean Zombie” may have to settle for a title eliminator against another Top 5 opponent.
Charles Jourdain: Rebounding from a decision loss in his UFC debut, Jourdain persevered through a difficult first round in which Doo Ho Choi managed to put him on wobbly legs with punches on multiple occasions. He walked down his opponent in the middle stanza and did not take his foot off the gas until the knockout punch landed. Jourdain has yet to go to a decision in any of his 10 professional victories, and after getting his hand raised inside the Octagon for the first time, he now has an opportunity to establish some momentum. “Air” Jourdain possess proven finishing ability, which, when combined with an aggressive style and a willingness to throw himself into a firefight, will endear him to fans.
Da Un Jung: The 31-year-old has impressed through two UFC appearances, picking up stoppage victories in each of them while extending his overall winning streak to 12 fights. Jung is the latest product from Korean Top Team to show promise, and at 6-foot-3, the lengthy striker excels at firing straight shots down the middle, similar to the blow that cut down Mike Rodriguez. Jung sports 12 finishes among his 13 professional victories, making him a person of interest in the shallow 205-pound weight class. If he can put together another outstanding performance the next time he enters the cage, he would likely find himself in position for a Top 15 opportunity.
Frankie Edgar: It was a risky move for Edgar to step up on short notice to face Jung, foregoing his scheduled bantamweight debut opposite Cory Sandhagen in January in favor of one more headlining slot at 145 pounds. Unfortunately for Edgar, the decision backfired and resulted in a first-round technical knockout loss and his second consecutive defeat. Jung came out firing early, and inside the first two minutes of the fight, Edgar was forced onto his back foot while eating heavy shots from “The Korean Zombie.” The setback will most likely delay Edgar’s move to 135 pounds and does not figure to do him any favors on the matching front in the first half of 2020.
Doo Ho Choi: Due to complications involving his mandatory military service, “The Korean Superboy” has been unable to leave his native South Korea, resulting in close to a two-year layoff for a fighter who was once considered the brightest prospect in the featherweight division. Choi enjoyed some early success against Jourdain with his counterstriking, as he rocked the Canadian and stalked him around the Octagon throughout the first round. In the second, the tide began to turn, as Choi’s output diminished and eventually resulted in a technical knockout loss. Choi has now lost three fights in a row, two of them via stoppage. Defense has never been his strength, but after back-to-back knockout losses, the young Korean striker needs to go back to the drawing board and learn to protect his chin better. Worse yet, Choi has yet to fulfill his military service—a reality that will ultimately lead to his being sidelined again at some point.
Mike Rodriguez: It has been a rocky road for the Dana White’s Contender Series alum, as he attempts to navigate his way through the UFC’s light heavyweight division. Rodriguez fell to 1-3 with the promotion and put himself at serious risk of being axed. He is at his best when he can stand with opponents and utilize his large 6-foot-3 frame to impose his will and land heavy strikes. However, his striking defense has proven to be a detriment in his most recent outings. If Rodriguez gets another opportunity with the UFC, he will almost assuredly be fighting for his job.