One of the best fights of 2012 occurred last night (May 15, 2012) as Chan Sung Jung battled Dustin Poirier in the main event of UFC on Fuel TV 3 from the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia.
The bout featured everything one could ask in a "Fight of the Year" candidate. It had thrilling exchanges on the feet, exciting scrambles on the ground, big shifts in momentum and much, much more.
"The Korean Zombie" entered the fight as a near 2.5: 1 underdog as "Diamond" had been on a huge roll and was being groomed for a potential title shot.
So how was it that Jung was able to secure a finish and rake in a pair of huge fight night bonuses? And what happens next for both talented and entertaining featherweights?
Follow me after the jump for our Chan Sung Jung vs. Dustin Poirier UFC on Fuel TV 3 post-fight review and analysis:
Both fighters got their licks in early, but in a potential sign of things to come, Chan Sung Jung was able to take advantage of whenever Poirier left himself exposed or off balance with a quick takedown attempt. This process would repeat itself throughout the night as, while Jung doesn't possess great wrestling, he does have terrific timing and instincts.
Poirier fought back by working hard in the clinch but again he'd be taken down and this time Jung made him pay by landing some big elbows which opened up a cut on the top of his head. "Diamond" would reverse the position, but the damage had been done.
While the first round was entertaining it was the second round that made this fight so memorable. Jung immediately opened with another takedown after catching a kick and after returning to the stand-up, After landing a nice right hook, Poirier was immediately swarmed by "The Korean Zombie" who wanted badly to respond to the blow and attacked with big punches and a flying knee.
Poirier didn't respond great to the flurry, covering up against the fence, and when he shot in for a double leg takedown, Jung immediately reversed him with an insane backwards roll into full mount. It was one of the craziest sweeps I've ever seen in a fight.
Despite being deep in full mount, Jung wasn't afraid one bit to give up the position to immediately attack Poirier's free arm with a vicious armbar that was slapped on insanely quickly (more on this later). Poirier was still fresh and is well versed on the ground so he was able to twist and squirm free, but even with his skill, he was repeatedly put in rough positions, even nearly choked out with a triangle at the end of the second round.
By round three, it seemed that Jung had finally started to slow down, as had Poirier. Both men sluggishly winged big punches at each other, but it was Poirier who began to land more effectively, repeatedly connecting with his straight left and right hands and creating some swelling on the Zombie.
Just when you thought that Jung might be losing all his momentum, the fourth round happened. With Poirier seemingly building up steam, Jung threw a beautiful uppercut which split "Diamond's" defenses and then followed it up with a huge flying knee which hurt the 23 year old along the fence. Just like he'd responded to danger before, Poirier dove for a desperation takedown but this time, instead of sweeping directly into mount, Jung stuffed him and then immediately transitioned to a D'Arce choke on the ground.
Poirier was completely caught off guard and in his stunned state, he was unable to properly defend himself. Within seconds he had been choked unconscious and Jung was awarded an incredible fourth round stoppage victory.
For Dustin Poirier, his dreams of potentially being a title contender are far from over. He put on a hell of a fight against "The Korean Zombie" but he was just overmatched. Jung caught him off guard with just how impressive his ground skills truly were and with his aggression and power on the feet. If there's one thing Poirier needs to fix, it's his balance in the stand-up at times as he was repeatedly taken down, reversed among other things. Another thing to work on is the fact that he covers up and backs straight into the fence when he gets hit hard. That's not a great reaction as it left him open to big flurries of strikes from Jung, who threw with reckless abandon when he saw blood.
Poirier will get plenty of opportunities to contend down the line, but as he says, he's 23 years old and still is growing and developing. He was outperformed last night. I'd like to see him step into the cage against someone like Bart Palaszewski, Robert Peralta or maybe even the Hatsu Hioki vs. Ricardo Lamas loser. If the UFC wants him to slow down his development, they could offer him someone further down the food chain like Maximo Blanco.
For Chan Sung Jung, this was perhaps the best performance of his career. Facing perhaps his sternest test to date, he delivered in all accounts, scoring on the feet, in the clinch, with his wrestling and then capping it off with hsi submissions. As Kenny Florian stated, it seems like Jung does everything with an intention of finishing the fight. He was lightning quick with his transitions on the ground and it was extremely entertaining to watch. He's now won four "Fight Night" bonuses in his three UFC fights. That's the main reason he's so damn popular despite the language barrier. "The Korean Zombie" brings it every time and has delivered something exciting with every bout he's ever had under the Zuffa banner.
The word came out after the press conference that Jung will be fighting the winner of Jose Aldo vs. Erik Koch for the UFC featherweight title and I have to say, he's more than earned it. "The Korean Zombie" has gotten better and better each time we've seen him and he's the type of fighter that people could be buying pay-per-views to see in the featherweight division. This guy has more than earned it.
For complete UFC on Fuel TV 3 results, including blow-by-blow, fight-by-fight coverage of the entire event as well as immediate post-fight reaction click here, here and here.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Were you surprised that Jung was able to perform so admirably in his first main event against such a tough opponent? Is this your "Fight of the Year" thus far in the first half of 2012? Can "The Korean Zombie" be a UFC champion someday?