Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will once again venture away from the familiarity of its APEX facility and ship its cast and crew across the world for the upcoming UFC Singapore fight card, locked and loaded for tomorrow morning (Sat., Aug. 26, 2023) from inside Singapore Indoor Stadium, featuring a 145-pound headliner between longtime featherweight veterans Max Holloway and Chan Sung Jung. Like most “Fight Night” cards, you’ll need a subscription to ESPN+ to stream this weekend’s live event (sign up here).
Before we dive into the main and co-main event, which includes the unnecessary light heavyweight rematch between Top 10 title contenders Anthony Smith and Ryan Spann, check out Patrick Stumberg’s preliminary card breakdowns here and here. In addition, fighter-turned-writer Andrew Richardson did most of the heavy lifting for the rest of the UFC Singapore main card right here.
Let’s get down to business.
145 lbs.: Max Holloway vs. Chan Sung Jung
“Blessed” Max Holloway
Record: 24-7 | Age: 31 | Betting line: -850
Wins: 10 KO/TKO, 2 SUB, 12 DEC | Losses: 0 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 6 DEC
Height: 5’11“ | Reach: 69” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 7.16 | Striking accuracy: 47%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 4.79 | Striking Defense: 59%
Takedown Average: 0.28 (53% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 84%
Current Ranking: No. 1 | Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Brendan Allen
“The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung
Record: 17-7 | Age: 36 | Betting line: +520
Wins: 6 KO/TKO, 8 SUB, 3 DEC | Losses: 4 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 3 DEC
Height: 5’7“ | Reach: 72” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 3.97 | Striking accuracy: 42%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 4.35 | Striking Defense: 52%
Takedown Average: 0.74 (47% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 72%
Current Ranking: No. 8 | Last fight: Technical knockout loss to Alex Volkanovski
It’s hard to put into words just how incredible Max Holloway has been and continues to be in what should be considered the second half of his hall-of-fame MMA career. Defeating top prospect Brendan Allen at UFC Kansas City put Holloway in a group of just 12 men in UFC history to secure 20 or more wins. And while we’re on the topic of records, “Blessed” holds the mark for the most significant strikes at 3122. To put that number into perspective, Angela Hill is ranked No. 2 all time with 1820. Holloway is also tops in total strikes landed at 3366 and holds seven different featherweight records to complement his 10 performance bonuses (one of which he secured at lightweight).
The Hawaiian broke into the Top 15 of the 145-pound rankings back in April 2015 and has stayed there for more than eight years. Along the way he’s beaten every featherweight fighter they’ve put in front of him except Alex Volkanovski, who is in the conversation with heavyweight kingpin Jon Jones as the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the sport. Holloway is a merciless striker who breaks most opponents with his volume, landing an incredible 7.16 significant strikes per minute. I guess the only real threat to the former champ at this rate is Father Time, who remains unforgiving (and undefeated) in the world of combat sports. Sooner or later the “Blessed” Express is going to fly off the rails, but I don’t think it will be this weekend in Singapore.
It’s hard to build any kind of favorable case for Chan Sung Jung, who has one of the more troubling stats at 145 pounds: “The Korean Zombie” absorbs more strikes per minute than he lands (4.35 to 3.97). That’s bad news for this fight. I don’t want to get too crazy over Jung’s loss to Volkanovski, despite how brutal and one-sided it became after the opening frame, simply because “The Great” is light years ahead of most combatants in every category. More concerning for me was how lost Jung looked against Brian Ortega, who landed whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted to land it. Sorry, but a low-volume decision victory over Dan Ige was not enough to get me back on Team “Zombie” after hearing Jung talk about retirement in his most recent loss.
That doesn’t make this an unwinnable fight. Jung, owner of nine post-fight performance bonuses, has legitimate knockout power and it’s not unreasonable to think Holloway could get a little too comfortable in the zone, especially if “Blessed” has the same success in the standup as Ortega and Volkanovski (and there’s no reason he shouldn't). Jung could also turn this into a wrestling match and neutralize the Hawaiian’s offense, though he would need to keep that up for 25 minutes, which is a tall order for even the best of wrestlers. Aside from a flash knockout, or Holloway finally reaching his expiration date, this is going to be a shooting gallery. I don’t know if we’ll see Holloway-Kattar levels of violence, but don’t expect Jung to get a lot of rope when Holloway starts pouring it on — and that’s for his own good.
Prediction: Holloway def. Jung by technical knockout
205 lbs.: Anthony Smith vs. Ryan Spann
Anthony “Lionheart” Smith
Record: 36-18 | Age: 35 | Betting line: +105
Wins: 19 KO/TKO, 14 SUB, 2 DEC, 1 N/A | Losses: 10 KO/TKO, 4 SUB, 4 DEC
Height: 6’4“ | Reach: 76” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 2.96 | Striking accuracy: 47%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 4.49 | Striking Defense: 43%
Takedown Average: 0.48 (28% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 47%
Current Ranking: No. 8 | Last fight: Unanimous decision loss to Johnny Walker
Ryan “Superman” Spann
Record: 21-8 | Age: 31 | Betting line: -125
Wins: 6 KO/TKO, 12 SUB, 3 DEC | Losses: 3 KO/TKO, 3 SUB, 2 DEC
Height: 6’5“ | Reach: 79” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 3.28 | Striking accuracy: 44%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 3.32 | Striking Defense: 48%
Takedown Average: 1.64 (37% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 45%
Current Ranking: No. 10 | Last fight: Submission loss to Nikita Krylov
Anthony Smith has 18 professional losses and is coming off back-to-back defeats against Magomed Ankalaev and Johnny Walker, yet somehow remains ranked at No. 8 in the 205-pound division, which should tell you everything you need to know about the state of the light heavyweight class. Since losing to Jon Jones at UFC 235 back in early 2018, the 35 year-old Smith has put together a 4-4 record. More troubling is the fact that his victories have come over opponents who are a combined 7-12-1 across their last five fights.
Fortunately for “Lionheart,” one of those wins is over Ryan Spann, a first-round submission that took place in the UFC Vegas 37 headliner back in Sept. 2021. Smith would move on to lay an egg in his next two fights while “Superman” rebounded with consecutive first-round finishes over Ion Cutelaba and Dominick Reyes. Spann would be unable to keep the momentum going against Nikita Krylov, falling to
“Al Capone” “The Miner” at UFC Las Vegas last March.
Spann is a Season 2 graduate of Dana White’s “Contender Series” and seemed destined for great things at 205 pounds after jumping out to a perfect 4-0 start, which included a violent knockout victory over the since-retired Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 237. Like Smith, the 31 year-old “Superman” is capable of finishing the fight wherever it goes, balancing a nice blend of knockout and submission stoppages. Also like Smith, the Texan’s biggest issue is consistency, coughing up a loss just when he seems to be getting something going.
I talked about Smith’s ranking at No. 8 and I have a similar complaint against the No. 10-ranked Spann, whose biggest win to date came over the free-falling Dominick Reyes at UFC 281 last November. It’s only been two years since “Superman” tapped to Smith at UFC Vegas 37 so I’m not expecting radically different versions of either fighter. It would make sense to side with “Lionheart” considering how easily he dispatched Spann in their first go-round, but Smith has looked like garbage in his last two fights and I think he ends up getting caught by way of overconfident offense.
Prediction: Spann def. Smith by knockout
Remember, the rest of the UFC Singapore main card predictions are RIGHT HERE.
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+ preliminary card bouts at 5 a.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+ main card start time at 8 a.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Singapore news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive here. For the updated and finalized “Holloway vs. Korean Zombie” fight card and ESPN+ lineup click here.