Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight veterans Max Holloway and Chan Sung Jung will go to war this morning (Sat., Aug. 26, 2023) at UFC Singapore inside Singapore Indoor Arena in Kallang, Singapore.
I genuinely don’t know what Holloway’s path forward is. At 31 years of age, the Hawaiian is still putting on great performances as one of the very best fighters in the world, but Alexander Volkanovski simply seems to have his number. A Lightweight move is always an option, but Holloway seems intent of fighting at 145-pounds until Volkanovski loses or a fourth fight is booked ... neither of which feels likely!
As for Jung, it’s clear that his career is almost up. He’s walked back retirement talks slightly, but the South Korean title contender has clearly lost a step in the speed and athleticism department. I won’t quite call it a miracle, but he’ll need to do something special to find victory in Singapore.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Jose Aldo (UFC 218, UFC 212), Calvin Kattar (UFC Fight Island 7), Yair Rodriguez (UFC Vegas 42), Frankie Edgar (UFC 240), Brian Ortega (UFC 231), Anthony Pettis (UFC 206), Arnold Allen (UFC Kansas City), Ricardo Lamas (UFC 199), Cub Swanson (UFC on FOX 15)
Key Losses: Alexander Volkanovski (UFC 276, UFC 251, UFC 245), Dustin Poirier (UFC 236, UFC 143), Conor McGregor (UFC Fight Night 26), Dennis Bermudez (UFC 160)
Keys to Victory: Holloway is a statistical anomaly, more than a thousand strikes landed above the second most active striker in UFC history. His absurd work rate is benefitted by a legendary chin and very crafty boxing, which is why he’s achieved so much in his already Hall of Fame-worthy UFC career.
Jung’s great problem has always been that he attacks on a straight lines. He’s great if opponents come right to him, but anyone who makes him reset his stance often and gives him a lot to think about tends to trouble the gifted finisher.
Holloway may not be as mobile as Volkanovski, but he can feint and box with the best of ‘em. Really, it feels like Holloway can jab Jung up. He’ll have to be active with his shoulder pumps, double jabs, and body jab to offset the risk of a Jung vs. Moicano situation, but all those tools are comfortable ones for Holloway.
When the jab is landing, Holloway’s combinations and counters start flowing. Then, that legendary volume record grows even further out of reach for normal humans.
Chan Sung Jung
Key Wins: Dustin Poirier (UFC on Fuel TV 3), Renato Moicano (UFC Fight Night 154), Frankie Edgar (UFC 231), Dennis Bermudez (UFC Fight Night 104), Mark Hominick (UFC 140), Leonard Garcia (UFC Fight Night 24)
Key Losses: Alexander Volkanovski (UFC 273), Jose Aldo (UFC 163), Brian Ortega (UFC Fight Island 6), Yair Rodriguez (UFC Fight Night 139), George Roop (WEC 51)
Keys to Victory: Jung is a comfortable kickboxer and brawler. He’s deceptively fast to close distance with a big combination or intercept his opponent with a stiff counter, and few are better at finishing off a wounded foe.
The odds are stacked against Jung here, but the South Korean certainly hits hard enough to even them out a bit. Sure, cracking Holloway’s chin is a seemingly impossible task, but somebody is going to do it eventually. Why not “The Korean Zombie?”
Though connecting with a huge right hand, uppercut, or left hook is the ultimate goal, Jung would be a fool not to kick at Holloway’s legs. It’s a proven strategy against Holloway, as well as any other good jabber. That alone is not a solution for the “Blessed” problem, but it can help.
In addition, Jung has to work in combination. He’s great at timing shots, but one clean connection is unlikely to ever put Holloway down. He needs multiple shots, the last shot of an extended combination that Holloway doesn’t see is his best chance at putting him down.
Beloved warriors throw down.
As mentioned in the intro, Holloway’s path forward is extremely unclear. Does a win here move him closer to the title? Not really, but a loss certainly pushes him far away! He’s in a no-win position until he changes divisions or Volkanovski loses the belt. Otherwise, maybe a five-fight win streak would be enough to get him another shot.
Jung is an all-time action fighter who managed to break into contention on several occasions. Even without a belt, Jung has carved out a great legacy on the strength of several “Fight of the Year” victories and a freaking twister submission. His career was hampered by injury and military service, but he still managed to become a Featherweight icon and South Korea’s best MMA representative.
Win or lose, he’s a fighter who’ll be remembered.
At UFC Singapore, Max Holloway and Chan Sung Jung will go to war in the main event. Which man leaves the cage with a victory?