Two of the most talented and entertaining featherweights on the planet will collide this Saturday night (December 10, 2011) when Chan Sung Jung takes on former featherweight title challenger Mark Hominick in the opening bout of the UFC 140 main card.
Chan Sung Jung has exploded in popularity with American fans, partly because of his wild fighting style that saw him earn "Fight of the Year" in his debut on US soil and partly because of his awesome nickname and stylish T-shirts. He's now coming off a "Submission of the Year"-winner in his UFC debut and is looking to build on that momentum against one of the best featherweights on the planet.
Mark Hominick gave Jose Aldo his toughest test to date in his title fight at UFC 129, surviving some heavy punishment and coming back to dominate in a fifth round that had his native Canadian crowd in a full-on frenzy. He's back in front of his hometown fans once more and does not want to let them down.
Will "The Korean Zombie" feast on some of Hominick's limbs with his aggressive submission skills?? Will Hominick's boxing be enough to keep Jung at bay? What's the best gameplan for each fighter to earn a victory in the opening bout of the UFC 140 main card?
Let's find out"
Chan Sung Jung
Record: 11-3 overall, 1-0 in the UFC
Key Losses: George Roop (WEC 51)
How he got here: Hailing from Korea, Chan Sung Jung made a huge splash in the MMA landscape when he made his professional debut in 2007. With a strong background in taekwondo, kickboxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and even Russian combat sambo, he had the skills to dominate lesser foes.
He quickly earned a reputation for his constant aggression and his mentality of taking a punch to give one, earning the nickname "The Korean Zombie." After a run in Sengoku where he was robbed of a victory by biased judges who favored Japanese fighters of Koreans, he was signed by the WEC and made his debut on Spike TV prelims against Leonard Garcia.
We all know how that turned out, one of the wildest sloppiest and most entertaining fights in the history of the sport, although he would one again lose a controversial decision. The talented Korean would learn a rough lesson in his next fight against George Roop when his style played right into the hands of the lanky American who knocked him out with a vicious head kick.
In his last bout, Jung earned his revenge against Leonard Garcia with a "Submission of the Year"-winning twister and he's ready for another major step up in competition, taking on Hominick on his home turf.
How he gets it done: Jung has strong striking skills, but his natural, crazy aggressive style will play right into Hominick's terrific boxing. He would be keen to be more patient, keep it on the outside and utilize some of his kicks or other unorthodox attacks.
When the time is right, Jung should work for a takedown and try to utilize his terrific ground skills. Hominick has been prone to aggressive submission fighters in the past as evidenced by his losses to Josh Grispi, Rani Yahya and Hatsu Hioki, although he's definitely improving.
A key for "The Korean Zombie" will be to try to remain on top of Hominick, avoid his sweeps and work from there. "The Machine" has a solid top game of his own and is very difficult to submit from bottom, as he showed against Jose Aldo earlier this year.
In my opinion, Jung needs to get this fight to the ground if he wants to win.
Record: 20-9 overall, 3-1 in the UFC
Key Losses: Jose Aldo (UFC 129), Josh Grispi (WEC 32), Hatsu Hioki 2x (TKO 28, TKO 25)
How he got here: Mark Hominick got his start fighting on the local Canadian circuit and was the featherweight king, winning and defending the TKO featherweight title a total of four times. He put himself on the radar when he upset top five lightweight Yves Edwards in his UFC debut.
The Canadian would stumble against grappling experts, Hatsu Hioki, Rani Yahya and Josh Grispi and after over a year away from the sport, "The Machine" came back with the vengeance of The Terminator. He ripped through the WEC featherweight division with a four fight winning streak that included the likes of current UFC fighters Bryan Caraway, Yves Jabouin and Leonard Garcia.
Hominick would crush training partner George Roop in less than 90 seconds with a ferocious TKO to set up a title fight with Jose Aldo at UFC 129 earlier this year. Despite getting leveled early and suffering from perhaps one of the worst hematomas of all time, he battled back and won the fifth round convincingly. He lost his title shot, but his comeback spirit won over a plethora of new fans and he took home a $129,000 "Fight of the Night" bonus.
This will be his first fight back since the title loss as well as the loss of his great friend and trainer, Shawn Tompkins.
How he gets it done: Hominick is a battle-tested veteran of the sport and he's mastered one part of his game, his boxing. He has crisp hands and his pure punching prowess is on the level with any featherweight in the world right now. As long as he can utilize proper footwork, he should be able to pick Jung apart, just like his former training partner George Roop did.
The Shawn Tompkins protege needs to get this fight where he has the most potential to do damage, and that's up close and personal. If he can keep this fight in the pocket, he will have the perfect opportunity to inflict damage to the head or body with his powerful precision striking.
Body shots are his friend here, anything he can do to take some of the fight out of "The Korean Zombie" will be for the better. We've seen Hominick in five rounds and he looked great even in the fifth so conditioning should not be a factor for him. He should be aggressive, looking to make Jung pay if he's being patient at all.
Fight "X-Factor:" The biggest factor in this fight has to be the loss of Shawn Tompkins. Hominick is not the first of the key three Tompkins teammates to fight. His friend Chris Horodecki recently fought to a draw at Bellator 57 less than a month ago. Could Hominick have a similar letdown? Thompkins had really been gaining significant momentum with both Sam Stout and Hominick in recent fights, so what did Hominick do to help replace what he brought to the table?
How "The Machine" responds in his first fight without one of his best friends could be the most important factors of all.
Bottom Line: On paper, this match-up is scintillating. Hominick and Jung are talented strikers and are capable of really throwing some leather if the opportunity presents itself. There's some potential that this fight could be a very entertaining stand-up battle. Even if it goes to the ground, both Hominick and "The Korean Zombie" have proven that they can be very entertaining on the canvas whether they're looking for unique submissions or trying to pound out their opponents. There are also some serious implications as Hominick gave Jose Aldo the toughest fight of his young career and he could be on the road to a rematch if he can look impressive here. Keep your eyes peeled.
Who will come out on top at UFC 140? Tell us your predictions in the comments below!