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UFC Singapore predictions: Early ‘Prelims’ undercard preview | Holloway vs. Korean Zombie

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing more “Prelims” fights to ESPN+ this weekend (Sat., Aug. 26, 2023) when UFC Singapore: “Holloway vs. Korean Zombie” storms Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang.’s Patrick Stumberg kicks of the UFC Singapore “Prelims” party with the first installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.

UFC Fight Night: Issa v Doane Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

One of the most beloved Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veterans, Chan Sung Jung (a.k.a. “Korean Zombie”), makes perhaps his final walk to the Octagon this weekend (Sat., Aug. 26, 2023) when he battles the indestructible Max Holloway inside Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore. Early risers (start time = 5 a.m. ET) also get to see Anthony Smith rematch Ryan Spann and Giga Chikadze make his long-awaited Octagon return against Alex Caceres.

UFC Singapore features seven “Prelims” udnercard bouts that will set the stage for Saturday’s show, so let’s take a gander at the first four ...

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HIGH STAKES LIGHTWEIGHT MATCHUP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC APEX on Sat., Sept. 23, 2023, with a high stakes 155-pound showdown as No. 6-ranked contender, Rafael Fiziev, takes on No. 7-seeded Mateusz Gamrot. In UFC Vegas 79’s co-main event, No. 12-ranked Featherweight contender, Bryce Mitchell, steps back into the Octagon against No. 13-seeded Dan Ige.

Don’t miss a single second of face-punching action!

125 lbs.: Na Liang vs. JJ Aldrich

Na Liang (19-6) — who’s ended all but one of her professional wins inside the first round — joined UFC in the midst of a five-fight win streak. “Dragon Girl” is still chasing her first Octagon win, though, having suffered knockout losses to Ariane Carnelossi and Silvana Gomez Juarez.

She fights for the first time in 14 months.

The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 23 veteran, J.J. Aldrich (11-6), slowly worked her way up the ranks with a 7-2 run, highlighted by an upset decision over Gillian Robertson in 2022. Then came a submission loss to Erin Blanchfield, followed by a decision loss to a resurgent Ariane Lipski.

She’s ended two professional fights via knockout, though none since 2016.

Aldrich is as high as -770 in places at time of writing and I honestly can’t disagree. Na’s armbar-or-bust attack just isn’t cutting it in the Octagon; for example, Carnelossi and Gomez Juarez are notoriously poor grapplers and Na still couldn’t put them away. Against a rock-solid technician like Aldrich — who completely neutralized Robertson’s grappling — it’s hard to imagine Na finding the submission.

As much as I love to see extremely focused specialists succeed, moving to 125 pounds isn’t going to fix what ails Na. In the end, Aldrich shuts down Na’s submission attack before pounding her out as soon as her gas tank empties.

Prediction: Aldrich via second round technical knockout

135 lbs.: Toshiomi Kazama vs. Garrett Armfield

Undaunted by the flying knee knockout he’d suffered less than two months prior, Toshiomi Kazama (10-3) grappled his way past Maimaitituoheti Keremuaili to earn a spot in the Road to UFC Bantamweight finals. There, he met ultra-prospect Rinya Nakamura, who flattened his countryman in just 33 seconds.

Five of his eight professional stoppage wins, including his last three, have come via submission.

Two months after picking up his third straight win, Garrett Armfield (8-3) stepped up on short notice to battle former amateur rival David Onama in the Octagon. Unfortunately for Armfield, “Silent Assassin” left him 0-2 in their rivalry via second round arm-triangle choke.

This marks his first appearance in 13 months.

For the sake of disclosure: I’m rooting for Kazama here. His style is so unique and fun that I want to see as much of it as possible in the Octagon. Luckily for both him and me, I like his chances here. Armfield’s ground game is by far his most prominent weakness. And while I get that there was a considerable size difference at play, getting manhandled by a pure striker like Onama is a bad look.

Kazama was never going to beat an absolute freight train like Nakamura. Against Armfield, he should have considerably more success getting inside, finding a grip, and bringing his super-slick Brazilian jiu-jitsu to bear. This might be pure optimism talking, but expect Kazama to slither onto Armfield’s back and force an early tap.

Prediction: Kazama via first round submission

170 lbs.: Billy Goff vs. Yusaku Kinoshita

Struggling through a 2-2 professional start, Billy Goff (8-2) ignited his career, upsetting Robson Gracie Jr. in Bellator, then went on to win and defend CES’ Welterweight title. He found himself dropped early by Shimon Smotritsky on the Contender Series, but powered through to score his fourth consecutive knockout and a UFC contract.

He stands two inches shorter than Yusaku Kinoshita (6-2) at 5’10.”

Kinoshita — whose only defeat at the time came due to grabbing the fence while otherwise legally stomping Ryuchiro Sumimura into unconsciousness — sparked Jose Henrique Souza on Contender Series to win a UFC contract. He entered the Octagon as a huge favorite over Adam Fugitt, only to fall to the latter’s ground-and-pound late in the first.

All of his wins — both professional and amateur — have come inside the distance.

I’m still quite high on Kinoshita, honestly. He’s still just 22 years old and — even if he was unprepared for Fugitt’s wrestling — he still has the tools to be a real threat at 170 pounds. It also helps that Goff seems like a much more forgiving match; though he boasts a solid wrestling pedigree of his own, Goff is also incredibly linear in his attack and regularly gets hurt early in fights.

That’s not a great issue to have against Kinoshita, who is similarly linear, but boasts quite a bit more one-shot power. While I could see Goff physically overwhelming Kinoshita if it gets into the later rounds, Goff’s preference for marching right into the fire is just begging for Kinoshita to melt him with the same sort of counter that felled Souza. Kinoshita blows him away before Goff can build any momentum.

Prediction: Kinoshita via first round technical knockout

145 lbs.: Seung Woo Choi vs. Jarno Errens

Seung Woo Choi (10-6) went from starting his UFC career winless (0-2) to winning three straight, among them a bonus-winning, 97-second knockout of Julian Erosa. “Sting” now finds himself winless in his last three, most recently losing a one-round shootout to Michael Trizano at Madison Square Garden.

All six of his professional finishes have come by knockout.

Jarno Errens (13-4-1) rode a 5-1-1 run into his Octagon debut, which pitted him against French standout William Gomis. Despite stinging “Jaguar” early in the second with a clean right hand, Errens struggled with his foe’s wrestling attack en route to a decision defeat.

He gives up one inch of height and reach to Choi.

Nobody on Earth can question Choi’s heart or power, but it’s become clear that he just doesn’t have the technique to back it up. He fell apart the second Alex Caceres got him to the ground and Joshua Culibao dismantled him on the feet for long stretches of their fight. Though Errens isn’t anything special himself, he’s a high-volume striker with a great gas tank and no (technical) knockout defeats on his record, which is enough to earn my nod.

Choi’s signature left hook will be an excellent weapon in the matchup, as Errens isn’t exactly a defensive wizard. That said, I’m not convinced Choi can put him away and I don’t trust Choi to overcome a fundamentally sound striking attack. In short, Errens shakes off a few heavy blows to out-work Choi down the stretch.

Prediction: Errens via unanimous decision

Three more UFC Singapore “Prelims” undercard bouts remain to preview and predict, including what could be chaos between Chidi Njokuani vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk. Same time tomorrow, Maniacs.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Singapore fight card right here, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 5 a.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 8 a.m. ET.

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

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