Originally slated to challenge the reigning featherweight champion Jose Aldo (22-1 MMA) at UFC 163 in Brazil was lightweight superstar Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis. However, in training rolling with Phil Davis unfortunately resulted in a torn LCL forcing him out of his 145 title shot. His replacement for Aldo? None other than two time submission of the night, one time knockout of the night, one time fight of the night, and one time submission of the year holder Chan Sung Jung (ranked #5, 13-3 MMA), better known as the Korean Zombie.
Jung is currently on a three fight winning streak, all of which have been finishes. He has shown ability to absorb unruly amounts of punishment as well as deliver powerful strikes of his own (which was most recently seen in his seven second knockout over former number one contender Mark Hominick) but one would be hard pressed to equate the level of his striking to that of the champions. The number four pound-for-pound fighter Jose Aldo has displayed some of the most technical striking seen in MMA today — his thunderous leg kicks, his flying knees, and his amazingly timed power punches have been destroying every Featherweight he’s been put up against. Of his 22 wins, only seven have come by way of decision (13 KO, 2 SUB).
Eight of Jung’s 13 wins have come by way of submission (3 KO, 2 DEC), which means we could end up seeing the Korean Zombie attempt to take down Jose Aldo and look for a finish on the ground. However, getting the champion there is no easy task. Two acclaimed MMA wrestlers in Frankie Edgar and Chad Mendes both found it very difficult to get Aldo down, let alone keep him down. In the final rounds of the Mark Hominick fight, mind you, Hominick was able to get the champ down and for the first time since Aldo had entered a cage belonged by Zuffa we saw him dominated for close five minutes. This was partly due to the conditioning of Jose Aldo who has been known to fade in the later rounds due to his size. If the challenger comes in in with top notch conditioning, he may be able to get Aldo on the mat and out grapple him with his versatile ground game in the championship rounds.
Jung should look to aim for a fourth or fifth round submission finish against the champion. Unfortunately for the Korean Zombie, getting to the later rounds against Aldo is no easy task. While Jung is known for his ability to take punishment well, he will have to be very weary of the leg kicks of Aldo or this Zombie may be chopped down and finished. If he is able to survive the initial onslaught, Jung just might be able to pull off a submission in the championship rounds.
Prediction: Jose Aldo def. Chan Sung Jung via TKO in round 2 (knee to punches).
The only way I see this fight being competitive is if the challenger, Jung, is able to break rounds four and five. The problem with that is, while four of Aldo’s last six fights have gone the distance, is that we’ve seen the Korean Zombie tagged and finished by much lesser fighters than Jose Aldo – he was knocked out by Roop and he showed a lack of discipline letting Leonard Garcia bait him in and tag him repeatedly which cost him a split decision (though considered a robbery). I believe that Jose Aldo is leaps and bounds ahead of the Korean Zombie in terms of striking, and I believe that his take down defense will be more than enough in the early rounds to earn a second round knockout after slowing down Jung immensely with his vicious leg kicks.