After an exciting weekend in Boston, Mass., where Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) crowned a new Bantamweight champion, the world’s leading mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion stays on the road and returns to Singapore for a fun night of fights. In UFC Singapore’s ESPN+-streamed main event, No. 1-ranked Featherweight, Max Holloway, takes on Octagon legend, Chan Sung Jung (a.k.a. “The Korean Zombie”).
Is It 2019???
Holloway vs. Korean Zombie feels like it should have happened four years ago. Heck, it could have happened 10 years ago; however, because of the Korean mandatory military service, Korean Zombie had four years of his prime stolen from him. Nonetheless, the two fan favorites finally collide this weekend.
While Korean Zombie has hinted at retirement after his one-sided beatdown at the hands of Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski (watch highlights), he hasn’t officially announced that his fight this weekend will be the last of his legendary career.
There is an argument that he should call it a career whether he wins or loses. Nevertheless, checkout these accolades for the 36-year-old fan-favorite:
- Two-time title challenger
- Owner of a “Fight of the Year” (with Dustin Poirier)
- Cashed eight “Performance of the Night” bonuses
- Fastest knockout in Featherweight history
- Owner of first Twister in UFC history
- Most important? Loved universally by MMA fans!
Some Korean Zombie accolades:— MMA Mania (@mmamania) August 22, 2023
• Fight of the Year (with Dustin Poirier)
• Eight Performance of the Night bonuses
• Fastest knockout in Featherweight history
• First Twister in UFC history
• Two-time title challenger
• Most importantly he is loved by MMA fans. pic.twitter.com/tNXKC5v57A
Bonafide Main Eventers
Holloway will compete in his eleventh main event this weekend, while Korean Zombie will compete in his tenth straight main event.
“Blessed” is currently in a tough spot. He has lost to the current champion (Volkanovski) three times, rendering him of the title picture as long as Volkanoski is the champion. What sucks for UFC is that no one can beat Holloway, and he keeps knocking off top contenders (e.g. Arnold Allen, Calvin Katter, Yair Rodriguez, etc.) So, for now, Holloway will continue to fight rising prospects and take fun fights like this weekend.
The last time UFC traveled to Singapore was at UFC 275 in June 2022, where Jiri Prochazka tapped out Glover Teixeira in the fifth round to win the Light Heavyweight championship (watch it). Before UFC 275, it was UFC Fight Night: “Maia vs. Askren” in 2019, when Demian Maia retired Ben Askren.
In UFC Singapore’s co-main event, Anthony Smith fights Ryan Spann in one of the most unnecessary rematches in recent memory. Smith submitted Spann in the first round of their main event in 2021 (watch highlights).
I’m legit asking ... is there one good reason for this rematch?
No. 1 Contender Fight
Speaking of fights that should be in the co-main event: Erin Blanchfield vs. Taila Santos. That’s because the winner of this fight could be next in line for a Flyweight title shot and fight the winner of Alex Grasso vs. Valentina Shevchenko, which goes down next month in September.
Blanchfield has been absolutely perfect in UFC thus far, going 5-0 and finishing her last five opponents, including Jessica Andrade in her last outing (watch highlights). Santos, meanwhile, returns for the first time since her controversial split decision loss against Shevchenko last year.
In addition, there is a huge Flyweight fight next week between Rose Namajunas and Manon Fiorot, which could also be for the No. 1 contender spot.
Welcome Back, Giga Chikadze
It has been 19 months since Giga Chikadze got destroyed against Calvin Katar at UFC Vegas 46. It is rare for an MMA fighter to take substantial time off after a beatdown, but the Georgian fighter did. And while he did try and return eight months later against Sodiq Yusuff, the fight didn’t materialize. A few other fights were rumored for Chikadze in the last few months, but nothing came of them.
Chikadze will try to reclaim all the momentum he picked up during his nine-fight win streak by taking out Alex Caceres this weekend.
DWCS vs. Road To UFC
A fighter from Dana White’s Contender Series will take on a fighter from Road to UFC for the first time. Powerhouse Rinya Nakamura — winner of Road to UFC Season 1 — will look to go 2-0 in UFC against season five Contender Series contract winner, Fernie Garcia, who most likely is fighting for his job.
Parker Porter Looks For Revenge
Fan favorite Parker Porter is fighting another Tafa brother, Junior Tafa. Porter faced Junior’s older brother, Justin, earlier this year at UFC 284 and got slept in the first round (watch highlights).
Since his loss at UFC 284, Porter picked up a first-round finish over Braxton Smith, while Junior lost his UFC debut against Mohammed Usman via unanimous decision in April.
Welcome To UFC!
Only one fighter is debuting at UFC Singapore: Billy Goff (8-2). Goff was supposed to make his debut against Themba Gorimbo in February; however, he suffered an injury. The 25-year-old earned his UFC contract on season six of Contender Series when he finished Shimon Smotritsky in the first round after being dropped in the fight.
Banger Of The Week
Several fights on UFC Singapore could end up being bangers; however, there is one that stands out like a sore thumb: Chidi Njokuani vs. Michał Oleksiejczuk.
Both men are coming off a loss, which makes the fight have even more stakes. Njokuani has 14 knockout wins throughout his 32-fight MMA career, while Oleksiejczuk has 13 knockouts in his 25-fight career.
This fight should be fireworks ... for as long as it lasts.
Americans In Asia
Ten American fighters made the long trip to Singapore: Holloway, Smith, Spann, Garcia, Blanchfield, Porter, Garrett Armfield, Njokuani, JJ Aldrich and Goff.
Winners And Losers
Six fighters are coming off wins, while 20 fighters are coming off losses.
Here are the divisions that will be on display this Saturday:
- Two Heavyweight fights
- One Light Heavyweight fight
- One Middleweight fight
- Two Welterweight fights
- Three Featherweight fight
- Two Bantamweight fights
- Two Women’s Flyweight fights
Remember that MMAmania.com 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.