UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. Jung
Saturday, October 17 – Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE
There is plenty on the line in Abu Dhabi as UFC head honcho Dana White has come out on record as saying that the winner of the fight between The Korean Zombie and Brian Ortega will be next in line for a shot at the featherweight title that is currently held by Alexander Volkanovski.
These are both fighters that have fought – and lost – matches for the strap. Jung was stopped via a TKO in the fifth round by Jose Aldo in 2013, while Ortega was stopped by TKO in the fourth round of his title bout with Max Holloway back at UFC 231. Both are hungry, both are talented, and both know that if they lose on Saturday night they may never be able to move themselves back into the title picture again.
Ortega (14-1-1) was riding a streak of six wins when he was stopped by Holloway in a fight that he thought he had every chance of winning. The 29-year-old appears hungry and focused, even if his stunt of slapping Jung’s translator Jay Park at UFC 248 backfired and was met by derision from fans who saw Ortega as a generally humble and likeable fighter.
Jung (16-5) is a 33-year-old who has developed himself into one of the most feared fighters in the division. If you could remove his injuries – and his mandatory military service in his home nation of South Korea – from the equation, then there is an alternate timeline where Jung has been the featherweight champion already.
This should be a fun fight. Jung is just a horrible fighter to face as he delivers plenty of damage with his strikes and holds while being able to take as much of a beating as his opponent gives him. His nickname is very apt for the way he never seems to take a backwards step and he is always coming forward on the attack. 14 of his 16 wins have come with him stopping his opponent, and Ortega must avoid those strikes if he wants to win here.
This one is unlikely to go the distance as neither has seen the bell in their 16 fights. The big problem for Ortega is that he needs to use his striking to set up the submissions he is known for. His average of 7.36 significant strikes absorbed per minute is ok against lesser fighters, but against someone with the power and accuracy of Jung it is bad news. Unless he finds a way to tighten his defense – and take these strikes as glancing blows rather than direct shots – he will not be able to stand toe-to-toe with The Korean Zombie and win.
I don’t think that Ortega is going to be able to set the traps needed to win this match. He will try – and they might be a couple of semi-scary moments for Jung – but his skill and his power will be enough to overcome Ortega and Jung is the pick with BetXChange here.