Two of UFC’s most consistent featherweight finishers will make a bid for contender status on Yas Island’s Flash Forum this Sat. (Oct. 17, 2020) when Brian Ortega returns from a lengthy layoff to meet the inimitable “Korean Zombie,” Chan Sung Jung, in the UFC Fight Island 6 main event on ESPN+.
The original co-feature pitted blue-chip heavyweight prospect Ciryl Gane against Croatian standout Ante Delija, but a contract dispute on the latter’s part bumped the pivotal flyweight clash between former title challenger Katlyn Chookagian and onetime strawweight champion Jessica Andrade into that slot.
Our usual main event guy is stranded somewhere in the Pacific after an ill-fated attempt to storm Fight Island by sea, so this duty falls to me once again. We’ve got UFC Fight Island 6 preliminary breakdowns here and here, some odds analysis here, and Andrew Richardson’s champion-level breakdown of the rest of the main card here.
145 lbs.: Brian Ortega vs. Chan Sung Jung
Brian “T-City” Ortega
Record: 14-1 | Age: 29 | Betting line: +165
Wins: 3 KO/TKO, 7 SUB, 4 DEC | Losses: 1 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 0 DEC
Height: 5’8“ | Reach: 69” | Stance: Switch
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 4.07 | Striking accuracy: 32%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 7.36 | Striking Defense: 50%
Takedown Average: 0.51 (16% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 56%
Current Ranking: No. 2 | Last fight: Technical knockout loss to Max Holloway
Chan Sung “The Korean Zombie” Jung
Record: 16-5 | Age: 33 | Betting line: -190
Wins: 6 KO/TKO, 8 SUB, 2 DEC | Losses: 3 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 0 DEC
Height: 5’7“ | Reach: 72” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 4.58 | Striking accuracy: 41%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 3.73 | Striking Defense: 60%
Takedown Average: 0.78 (41% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 77%
Current Ranking: No. 4 | Last fight: Technical knockout win over Frankie Edgar
There are a lot of similarities between Ortega and Pedro Munhoz; being poor offensive wrestlers, they rely on pressure and power-punching to either clip opponents, lock up a clinch, or provoke a takedown. What Ortega learned against Max Holloway is what Munhoz learned against John Dodson, Jimmie Rivera, and Aljamain Sterling, namely that the strategy simply doesn’t work against opponents with good movement, the ability to fight well at a distance, and the wherewithal to avoid initiating a clinch or grappling exchange.
Jung doesn’t fulfill all those categories, as he’s never been particularly elusive, but his fight IQ, experience, grappling skill, and bottomless gas tank make it highly unlikely that Ortega’s straightforward, plodding pursuit can produce the sort of poor decision-making that “T-City” needs to make his opportunistic submission game work. Ortega isn’t going to exhaust Jung enough to make him panic, and while Jung doesn’t have the sheer volume or technical savvy to dissect Ortega the way Holloway did, he hits way too hard for Ortega to get away with his usual approach.
For Ortega to get the win, he needs to either hurt Jung standing or hope he makes an unforced error like the one that got him slumped by Yair Rodriguez. As far as the former, only a clean head kick, a broken foot, and an elbow that nobody in the universe saw coming have been able to rattle Jung in the past decade. As far as the latter, well, you have to assume that the Zombie’s learned his lesson.
Then again, this wouldn’t be the first or second or third time Ortega overcame what looked like a mountain of obstacles to score a finish. Unfortunately for him, a toxic style matchup, two years of rust, and a truly destructive force on the opposite side of the cage look like too much for even his customary heroics to surmount. I’m not sure Jung or anyone else in the division has enough raw firepower to put Ortega to sleep, but he can definitely pile up enough damage to force a mercy stoppage.
Prediction: Jung def. Ortega by third-round technical knockout
125 lbs.: Katlyn Chookagian vs. Jessica Andrade
Katlyn “Blonde Fighter” Chookagian
Record: 14-3 | Age: 31 | Betting line: +130
Wins: 2 KO, 1 SUB, 11 DEC | Losses: 1 KO, 0 SUB, 2 DEC
Height: 5’9” | Reach: 68” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 4.19 | Striking accuracy: 35%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 4.20 | Striking Defense: 62%
Takedown Average: 0.31 (15% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 50%
Current Ranking: No. 1 | Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Antonina Shevchenko
Jessica “Bate Estaca” Andrade
Record: 20-8 | Age: 29 | Betting line: -150
Wins: 7 KO, 7 SUB, 6 DEC | Losses: 3 KO, 2 SUB, 3 DEC
Height: 5’1” | Reach: 62” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 6.40 | Striking accuracy: 49%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 5.30 | Striking Defense: 53%
Takedown Average: 3.02 (57% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 76%
Current Ranking: No. 2 (Strawweight) | Last fight: Split decision loss to Rose Namajunas
I had a Ciryl Gane-Ante Delija breakdown ready well ahead of time, only for the Croat to withdraw and bring about a new co-feature whose outcome I have to actually think about. Thanks a lot.
While this is Andrade’s flyweight debut, she’s no stranger to fighting larger opponents, having started her UFC career at 135 pounds. Chookagian’s weight doesn’t figure to be an issue for the Brazilian, who’s plenty strong enough to unleash her customary slam onslaught if she gets in on “Blonde Fighter’s” hips.
That said, while the weight’s not a problem, Chookagian’s height and reach certainly are. She towers over all of Andrade’s past UFC opponents, Bantamweights included, and has the length to completely shut down Andrade’s preferred close-quarters bruising. Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk exploited Andrade’s inability to close the gap with anything but raw pressure, meaning that if Chookagian can just play keep-away for 10 out of 15 minutes, she can win without taking too much damage.
The bigger threat is Andrade’s wrestling, especially since we’ve seen Chookagian taken down on multiple occasions. At the same time, nobody besides Valnteina Shevchenko has managed to actually keep Chookagian down long enough to get anything done, not even a highly skilled striker and grappler in Jennifer Maia. Andrade is generally more about scoring takedowns than actually establishing top control afterwards, so this doesn’t figure to actually deter her much, but I’m not convinced her wrestling can bail her out the way it did against, say, Tecia Torres.
Despite these obstacles, Andrade is the favorite for a reason. Chookagian has been taken down in the past, has failed to keep shorter strikers at bay; there’s every reason to believe that Andrade can just bulldoze through her like she has so many others. Without the technical boxing craft to overcome Chookagian’s reach advantage and only three rounds with which to work, though, I see Chookagian just eking out a decision at a distance.
Prediction: Chookagian def. Andrade by unanimous decision
The rest of the UFC Fight Island 6 main card predictions are RIGHT HERE.
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