Even though Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, has never lost inside the Octagon during his six-year tenure — and he’s the No. 2-ranked men’s pound-for-pound fighter — “The Great” still struggles to get the respect he deserves. That’s because his two wins over fan-favorite, Max Holloway, were super close and, well, the fans seemingly liked “The Blessed” eras more than Volkanovski’s current reign. He wasn’t going to do his image many favors in UFC 273’s pay-per-view (PPV) main event tonight (Sat., April 9, 2022) either, locking horns with another fighter, Chan Sung Jung, who has cultivated a cult-like following for his crowd-pleasing “Zombie” style.
The problem with said style is that Jung often gets hit a lot ... and Volkanovski is a pressure fighter who hits really, really hard. And “Korean Zombie” learned that the hard way this evening, getting blasted from pillar to post en route to a lopsided technical knockout loss in the fourth round.
Both fighters touched gloves and the main event was underway just past 1:10 a.m. ET — very long night. Jung missed with a low kick to start, with Volkanovski scoring one of his own on the counter. Hard shot upstairs from Volkanovski, then another low kick as he got going early. The pair traded hard shots, with Jung seemingly a bit flat-footed, while Volkanovski bounced around like a beach ball. Lunging double jab from Jung pushed back Volkanovski, who came roaring back with a hard hook. Jung landed a nice counter, put Volkanovski retaliated with more fast combinations, including a kick downstairs fro good measure. Hard overhand right from Volkanovski wobbled Jung, but he appeared to recover just fine because, well, he’s a zombie. Inside kick from Volkanovski, who then tied up Jung along the fence, where he tripped the South Korean and landed on top briefly. They scrambled to their feet, with Volkanovski landing a knee and a glancing hook on the break. Strong right hand, followed by a hard left hook dropped Jung just seconds before the bell. Super strong round for the champ.
Jung’s face was beet red to start the second stanza — he ate a slew of hard shots the first five minutes. Jung with a nice leg kick early, then a nice jab moments later. He tried to close the distance, but Volkanovski clipped him with a solid check hook. The pair then traded jabs and Jung nearly went down from the power of Volkanovski. Nice front kick from Jung after getting backed into the cage, then a hard shot down the middle — his nicest combination of the fight this far. Volkanovski responded with low kicks, then mixed in a hook that almost corkscrewed Jung into the canvas. He remained on his feet though thanks in part to Volkanovski whiffing on a huge kill shot. Then seconds later Jung was winging punches — unreal constitution. Trip, or more like a bulldozer, from Volkanovski as the round creeped inside one minute. Back to their feet quickly, though, with Volkanovski landing yet another power punch as the seconds ticked to zero.
Volkanovski put the pressure on early and nearly got his head taken off with a huge hook from Jung that just missed its mark. The crowd started to chant, “Zombie” and suddenly Jung came alive, going after Volkanovski with his hardest punches of the night. None of them really connected, though, as Volkanovski went back to the low kick well. Jabs from Volkanovski, then a hard left hook, landed but didn’t seem to have much effect. Volkanovski began to open up with about two minutes in the round, finding a nice rhythm and tuning up Jung in a major way. Jung tried to fire back with a kick, but Volkanovski bounced a straight right hand off his forehead. With 20 seconds left, Volkanovski destroyed Jung with a tremendous combination. He fell to the floor and ate several more serious shuts. It probably would have been waived off had it happened one minute sooner, but he went back to his corner a bloody mess.
Before the fourth round could begin, referee Herb Dean asked Jung if he was good to keep going. Of course, he responded that he could. And that’s just too bad, because the writing was on the wall. It didn’t take long for Dean to call it off, with Volkanovski opening the action with some serious power that had Jung off-balance immediately — two monstrous overhand rights that probably would have knocked out a bull.
Jung was still standing, but it’s impossible to argue that the mauling should have gone on any longer. Volkanovski put on a masterclass tonight, dominating a top-ranked contender with power, precision and intelligence.
Respect this man ... he’s awesome.
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