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UFC Fight Island 6 predictions: ‘Ortega vs Korean Zombie’ early ‘Prelims’ undercard preview

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing more “Prelims” fights to ESPN+ this weekend (Sat., Oct. 17, 2020) when UFC Fight Island 6: “Ortega vs. Korean Zombie” returns to Abu Dhabu, United Arab Emirates. MMAmania.com’s Patrick Stumberg kicks off the UFC Fight Island 6 “Prelims” party with the first installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.

UFC 253 Viera v Eubanks Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

A long-brewing grudge match hits “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, this Saturday (Oct. 17, 2020) when former title challenger Brian Ortega returns from 22 months away to face the legendary “Korean Zombie,” Chan Sung Jung. UFC Fight Island 6 will also see elite Heavyweight prospect Ciryl Gane take on Croatian standout Ante Delija and Jessica Andrade fight Katlyn Chookagian in a clash of top-ranked Strawweights.

UFC Fight Island 6 features seven “Prelims” undercard bouts this time around, all of which once again join the main card on ESPN+. Let’s begin ...

185 lbs.: Jun Yong Park vs. John Phillips

Jun Yong Park (11-4) won seven straight to set up a 2019 UFC debut against Anthony Hernandez, who tapped him with an anaconda choke after a competitive first round. Undeterred, he got back on track three months later with a decision over Marc-Andre Barriault.

“The Iron Turtle” will give up one inch of height and two inches of reach to John Phillips (22-10).

“The Welsh Wrecking Machine” finally got his first-ever Octagon victory in Nov. 2019, knocking out Alen Amedovski in 14 seconds to snap a three-fight losing streak. He then had the misfortune of welcoming Khamzat Chimaev to the Octagon in July, resulting in a second-round submission loss to cap off a one-sided mauling.

He’s scored a staggering 19 knockouts as a professional.

We all know the John Phillips script at this point: anyone with a modicum of wrestling skill can easily destroy him, leaving “The Welsh Wrecking Machine” only a few seconds per round with which to bring those heavy hands to bear. Park has more than a modicum of wrestling skill and actually figures to be the more technical boxer, meaning Phillips has a puncher’s chance and nothing else.

Phillips — who’s proven unable to land his punches unless opponents rush headlong into them — is screwed so long as Park doesn’t decide to slug it out at close range. “The Iron Turtle” drags him to the mat in the opening minutes and hands Phillips submission loss number seven.

Prediction: Park via first-round submission

155 lbs.: Jamie Mullarkey vs. Fares Ziam

Two consecutive stoppage losses didn’t stop Jamie Mullarkey (12-3) from winning his next four by knockout and claiming the Superfight MMA Lightweight title along the way. This led to an Oct. 2019 UFC debut against Brad Riddell, who overpowered Mullarkey in a “Fight of the Night”-winning slugfest that featured on our list of 2019 “Fights of the Year.”

All of his wins since 2014 have come inside the distance.

Fares Ziam (10-3) joined UFC on short notice in the midst of a five-fight win streak, which featured a knockout of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) veteran Abner Lloveras. He couldn’t make it six against Don Madge, dropping a unanimous decision to the South African at UFC 242.

He fights for the first time since Sept. 2019.

Mullarkey faced a rough stylistic match up against Riddell, who boasted a far more extensive striking pedigree and enough takedown defense to shut down Mullarkey’s Plan B wrestling after a time. Ziam figures to be an easier out. That’s because not only is “Smile Killer” less destructive than Riddell on the feet, he was thoroughly out-grappled by a pure striker in Madge last time out. Mullarkey figures to hold his own wherever the fight ends up.

The one point of concern is that Ziam, who’s just 23, could very well have improved significantly in his 13 months away. The Ziam who fought Madge, however, loses comfortably as Mullarkey keeps up in the striking and mixes in takedowns for the win.

Prediction: Mullarkey via unanimous decision

205 lbs.: Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs. Maxim Grishin

Gadzhimurad Antigulov (20-7) got off to a red-hot start in the Octagon, tapping Marcos Rogerio de Lima and Joachim Christensen in a combined 2:28 to secure a “Performance of the Night” bonus. He has since suffered three consecutive first-round stoppage losses, the most recent of which came against Paul Craig in July.

Nineteen of his 20 wins have come inside the distance, 15 of them by submission.

Maxim Grishin (30-8-2) — who went 2-0-2 with Professional Fight League (PFL) — entered UFC with 18 wins and just one loss since 2011. He stepped up in weight to face Marcin Tybura on short notice, but struggled with his foe’s size and wrestling en route to a decision defeat.

He’ll have three inches of height and 7.5 inches of reach on Antigulov.

Yeah, I think it’s safe to say I’ve given up on Antigulov, which of course means he’ll win this easily. Unfortunately, I’ve tried to pump-fake fate like that and it never works out, so Grishin it is. “Maximus” has stout defensive wrestling when actually fighting people his own size and badly outclasses Antigulov on the feet; so long as he can survive two minutes of blitzing takedowns, he should have little issue dismantling his foe.

Antigulov is extremely dangerous in those two minutes, but he’s clearly reached the point of diminishing returns. In the end, expect a repeat of Antigulov’s loss to Ion Cutelaba as he gets mauled while trying and failing to drag Grishin to the mat.

Prediction: Grishin via first-round technical knockout

135 lbs.: Said Nurmagomedov vs. Mark Striegl

Though Said Nurmagomedov’s (13-2) UFC debut win over Justin Scoggins was not without some controversy, his second effort proved definitive as he finished Rico Ramos with a spinning back kick. Next came a clash with fellow rising contender Raoni Barcelos in which Nurmagomedov surrendered a critical late takedown that cost him a competitive decision.

He’s knocked out and submitted three pro foes apiece.

Mark Striegl (18-2) started his professional career 12-0 before hitting a 2-2 stretch that saw him choke out Kai Kara-France among losses to Jang Yong Kim and Reece McLaren. “Mugen” is unbeaten since, winning four straight and fighting Shunichi Shimizu to a “No Contest” in his most recent effort.

This will be his first fight in almost 18 months.

Luckily for Striegl, he managed to avoid debuting against Valiev, a hyper-dynamic Dagestani striker with great takedown defense. Instead, he gets to debut against Nurmagomedov, a hyper-dynamic Dagestani striker with great takedown defense.

Can’t win ‘em all ...

Unless Striegl has used this layoff to dramatically improve his standup, Nurmagomedov’s going to eat him alive on the feet. He has to hope that Nurmagomedov’s fondness for risky attacks leaves him vulnerable to takedowns as it did against Barcelos, but between Nurmagomedov’s defensive wrestling and “Mugen’s” tendency to gas, even that strategy’s only going to be viable for about five minutes. Nurmagomedov sprawls and spins his way to either a late stoppage or comfortable decision.

Prediction: Nurmagomedov via unanimous decision

Three more UFC Fight Island 6 “Prelims” fights remain to preview and predict, including the Octagon debut of Poland’s best Lightweight. Same time tomorrow, Maniacs.

Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Island 6 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance at 7 p.m. ET (also on ESPN+).

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Fight Island 6: “Ortega vs. Korean Zombie” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.