Longtime featherweight contender Chan Sung Jung, affectionately known as “The Korean Zombie,” will look to keep his place in the featherweight Top 5 when he collides with No. 8-ranked Dan Ige in the UFC Vegas 29 main event, scheduled for tomorrow night (Sat., June 19, 2021) inside APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. Expect the winner to be atop a very short list of opponents in line for a crack at the winner of Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega, who lock horns in September for the Aussie’s 145-pound belt.
Not long before Jung and Ige do their five-round dance, well-traveled heavyweight veteran Aleksei Oleinik looks to snap a two-fight losing streak — and notch the 60th win of his storied mixed martial arts (MMA) career — when he tangles with up-and-coming Moldovan mauler Serghei Spivac, winner of two straight.
Before we dive into the main and co-main events, head over to the UFC Vegas 29 preliminary card breakdown expertly deconstructed by effervescent analyst Patrick Stumberg here and here. Resident MMA champ Andrew Richardson did most of the heavy lifting for the rest of the UFC Vegas 29 main card right here.
For the latest “Korean Zombie vs. Ige” odds and betting lines be sure to check out the updated numbers right here.
Let’s break it down ...
145 lbs.: Chan Sung Jung vs. Dan Ige
“The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung
Record: 16-6 | Age: 34 | Betting line: -110
Wins: 6 KO/TKO, 8 SUB, 2 DEC | Losses: 3 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 3 DEC
Height: 5’7“ | Reach: 72” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 4.15 | Striking accuracy: 41%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 4.01 | Striking Defense: 56%
Takedown Average: 0.62 (41% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 75%
Current Ranking: No. 4 | Last fight: Unanimous decision loss to Brian Ortega
Dan “50k” Ige
Record: 15-3 | Age: 29 | Betting line: -110
Wins: 4 KO/TKO, 5 SUB, 6 DEC | Losses: 0 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 3 DEC
Height: 5’7“ | Reach: 71” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 3.95 | Striking accuracy: 46%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 3.36 | Striking Defense: 58%
Takedown Average: 1.68 (27% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 59%
Current Ranking: No. 8 | Last fight: Knockout win over Gavin Tucker
Chan Sung Jung is ranked No. 4 at 145 pounds and that feels like a generous placement when you consider what Jung has done over the last few years. Then again, I was one of the few people who were unimpressed with Brian Ortega’s win over the “The Korean Zombie” because Jung is an action fighter, not a world-class contender. Too harsh? Since returning from his mandatory military service in South Korea, Jung has put together a 3-2 record. Those wins have come over Frankie Edgar, Renato Carneiro, and Dennis Bermudez. Edgar and Bermudez have lost three of their last four and Bermudez has dropped four of his last five. On top of that, Jung was soundly defeated by a pair of Top 5 opponents in Ortega (No. 2) and Yair Rodriguez (No. 3), leaving him firmly seated as the division’s resident “tough out.” That said, most “Korean Zombie” fights are wall-to-wall violence, so he may not be in the hunt for the featherweight title, but he can certainly put butts in seats.
Standing across from him on Saturday night will be Dan Ige, which some people are still pronouncing as eye-juh and not ee-gay (you know who you are). Ige has been a nice surprise at 145 pounds and quietly put together a 7-1 mark in a very tough division, which culminated with his knockout win over Gavin Tucker last March. Unfortunately for “50k” his recent loss was a big one, because it came against No. 5-ranked Calvin Kattar in what was his toughest opponent to date and the opportunity to cement himself as a legitimate contender. The good news is that MMA fans have short-term memories, so burying “The Korean Zombie” is a great way for Ige to reestablish his place among the featherweight elite. Like Jung, the battle-tested Hawaiian has a history of putting on bonus-worthy performances, notching post-fight duckets for his finishes over Danny Henry and the aforementioned Tucker. Not too shabby.
One of the things that troubles me ahead of this fight is Jung’s comments at the UFC Vegas 29 media day. Apparently “The Korean Zombie” doesn’t want to compete in five-round fights and is already talking about emulating the career of Nate Diaz with a loss this weekend at APEX. I know his attitude will change when the leather starts flying on fight night, but for the purposes of this column, those sorts of comments make it hard to favor Jung. On top of that, Ige has never been finished in 18 professional fights and wants to match his Korean counterpart in the brawling department. It’s also a good time to point out that “50k” is five years younger than Jung and coming off a spectacular performance, so assuming Ige can find his sea legs early in the fight, he should be able to wear down “The Korean Zombie” and take home a fairly convincing decision.
Prediction: Ige def. Jung by unanimous decision
265 lbs.: Aleksei Oleinik vs. Sergey Spivak
Aleksei “The Boa Constrictor” Oleinik
Record: 59-15-1 | Age: 43 | Betting line: +180
Wins: 8 KO/TKO, 46 SUB, 5 DEC | Losses: 9 KO/TKO, 2 SUB, 4 DEC
Height: 6’2“ | Reach: 80” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 3.47 | Striking accuracy: 50%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 3.85 | Striking Defense: 44%
Takedown Average: 2.38 (46% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 33%
Current Ranking: No. 15 | Last fight: Technical knockout loss to Chris Daukaus
Sergey “The Polar Bear” Spivak
Record: 12-2 | Age: 26 | Betting line: -220
Wins: 5 KO/TKO, 6 SUB, 1 DEC | Losses: 1 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 1 DEC
Height: 6’3“ | Reach: 78” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 3.58 | Striking accuracy: 49%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 2.84 | Striking Defense: 58%
Takedown Average: 3.70 (63% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 75%
Current Ranking: Unranked | Last fight: Technical knockout win over Jared Vanderaa
Aleksei Oleinik has 46 wins by submission, the first coming against Alexandr Kruglenko at Minamoto Clan: “Ukraine Open No Holds Barred Championship” all the way back in Nov. 1996 when his UFC Vegas 29 opponent, Sergey Spivak, was still in diapers. It’s kind of a shame “The Boa Constrictor” didn’t find his way to UFC until June 2014, when he was already past the prime of his combat sports career. During his stay under the ZUFFA/Endeavor banner, Oleinik racked up an 8-6 record against a variety of competition, though knockout losses to Derrick Lewis and Chris Daukaus should give you an idea of where the Russian is at in June 2021. And it’s not just his age that has left him outside the Top 10, it’s his mileage, no surprise after nearly 80 professional fights and countless others that never made it into the history books.
Hoping to send him to the UFC retirement home is Spivak, a talented but still untested heavyweight bruiser with a well-rounded offense and a habit of finishing fights. I don’t want to make a big deal out of losses to Walt Harris and Marcin Tybura, it was still a little early for the 26 year-old “Polar Bear” to be facing two fighters ranked in the Top 10. Consider it a good sign that Spivak was able to bounce back from his “Tybur” loss and score back-to-back wins, including his destruction of Jared Vanderaa last February. Despite his skill on the ground, there is really no reason for Spivak to risk a mistake on the floor, especially against an aging opponent with an increasingly-brittle beard. Age and deterioration aside, it’s not outrageous to suggest that Oleinik’s striking defense is so herky-jerky he could double as a Dynamation creature in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad.
With no disrespect to his career accomplishments, Oleinik looked old and slow in his last couple of fights. Spivak just needs to stay on his feet and this bout should be his to lose. “The Boa Constrictor” is not a particularly large athlete though he does sport an impressive reach, which is meaningless without an effective jab. I would expect a couple of lazy takedowns from the aging Russian, followed by a rat-tat-tat attack from his younger, fresher foe. A first-round finish would not surprise me.
Prediction: Spivak def. Oleinik by technical knockout
Remember, the rest of the UFC Vegas 29 main card predictions are RIGHT HERE.
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