Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back at it again for your weekly dose of fisticuffs as UFC Singapore is set to go down later TODAY (Sat., Aug. 26, 203) inside Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore. Headlining the ESPN+-streamed event will be a pivotal and highly-anticipated Featherweight fight between former division champion, Max Holloway, taking on Chan Sung Jung (a.k.a. Korean Zombie). In UFC Singapore’s co-main event, Anthony Smith and Ryan Spann will collide in a Light Heavyweight affair.
It’s hard to believe that for as long as both Holloway and "Korean Zombie" have been fighting inside the Octagon — Holloway 11 years and Jung for 12 — their paths have never crossed. After all, these two talented 145-pound warriors are a couple of the most exciting fighters in the history of mixed martial arts (MMA), so it seems pairing them up long ago would have been a no-brainer, especially in the prime of their fighting careers. Nevertheless, the MMA Gods have finally given fight fans a bout we have been craving for years.
After dropping back-to-back title fights to Alexander Volkanovski, Holloway turned things around by going 2-1 over his last three fights, but that lone loss was yet another defeat to the current champion. While a fourth fight against “The Great” is highly unlikely for “Blessed,” he opted to stick around at 145 pounds instead of moving up to Lightweight. Despite his three defeats to the champion, Holloway remains the No. 1-ranked fighter in the division and is still trying to make his case for title fight consideration. Against “Korean Zombie,” however, he will encounter a tough roadblock, though he is coming off a one-sided beat down to Volkanovski, and is just 1-2 in his last three bouts.
Both men have a highlight reels that are miles long and their histories of all go with no brakes have made them fan-favorites. Both men have a knack of dishing out punishment, and both can take a licking and keep on ticking, too. “The Korean Zombie” was a moniker that was rightfully-earned — for better or worse — because Jung is one of the hardest fighters to put down and if you want to accomplish that feat, you have to be willing to go the extra mile. Holloway, meanwhile, has only been stopped one time in his storied combat career, which was at the hands of Dustin Poirier in the Hawaiian’s UFC debut in Feb. 2012.
Their respective gameplans are no secret, they will stand and bang, they will dish out the punishment, they will eat that punishment, and it will be glorious. Should it play out strike-for-strike, Holloway has the advantage here. He is a bit more technical with his strikes and packs a bit more power, despite this bold claim. If it somehow goes to the ground, Jung has the jiu-jitsu area covered and would love nothing more than to be the just the second man to force “Blessed” to tap, shooting him up the rankings and into the Top 5, in the process. But, I fully expect this bout to be an all-out striking war that could leave both men feeling worse for the wear come Sunday morning. If that’s the case it means “The Korean Zombie” will have to once again live up to his infamous nickname.
The start time will be at 5 a.m. ET for the undercard and 8 a.m. ET for the main card. The timing is always wonky with these international cards, so you will have to get up bright and early if you wants your dose of combat sports violence for the day. Especially if your in the mountain time zone (like me).
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
There weren’t really many major changes for this event.
Hallelujah, the injury bug somehow stayed away from this fight card, which is a rarity these days.
Billy Goff punched his ticket to the big show by scoring an impressive first-round stoppage win over Shimon Smotritsky on Contender Series more than one year ago. That victory pushed his win streak to six straight, and now he intends to add to it as he gears up to take on Yusaku Kinoshita, another Contender Series alum who failed to make a splash in his debut, coming up short against Adam Fugitt earlier this year.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
Song Kenan got off to a great start to his UFC career, winning four of his first five fights. Since then, however, he has been stopped in consecutive bouts, with his most recent loss coming at the hands off rising sensation, Ian Garry, at UFC 285 earlier this year (highlights). Now, “The Assassin” looks to right his ship against Rolando Bedoya, who saw his 11-fight win streak come to a halt in his UFC debut, losing a razor-thin split decision to Kalinn Williams.
Both J.J. Aldrich and Na Liang have lost their last two bouts inside the Octagon, which means the loser of this fight could find her way out of the promotion sooner, rather than later. That especially holds true for Liang because she is win-less so far with the promotion, getting stopped via strikes on both occasions. As for Aldrich, her skid is a bit surprising seeing as how she was on a roll, winning three in a row and four of her last five before hitting her slump.
Chidi Njokuani is another contender who started off great with two straight wins inside the Octagon, only to lose his last two outings. He has a lot of potential but he has been unable to put it together over the last year. He will try to avoid a third straight loss when he goes toe-to-toe against Michał Oleksiejczuk, who is trying to get back on track himself after getting choked out by Caio Borralho in his last fight (see it again here).
Garrett Armfield got a rude welcome to UFC thanks to David Onama, who slept him with an arm triangle over a year ago. His opponent, Toshiomi Kazama, is desperately trying to erase the memory of his 33-second knockout loss at the hands of Rinya Nakamura earlier this year. A nice win here would be a cure all for his woes.
Lukasz Brzeski is 0-2 in his first two fights for the promotion, so if he wants to call himself a UFC fighter for the foreseeable future he needs a win against Waldo Cortes-Acosta. Very rarely does a fighter survive a wave of cuts if they lose their first three fights. Cortes-Acosta, meanwhile, suffered the first loss of his professional career against Marcos Rogerio de Lima earlier this year, so you know he will come our ready to prove a point and get back in the winner’s circle.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Seungwoo Choi’s stint with the promotion has been a roller coaster of highs and lows. He kicked things off by losing his first two fights under the UFC banner, then rattled off three straight wins. Since then, however, “Sting” has dropped his last three fights in the span of 12 months. Should he come up short against Jarno Errens — who came up short in his UFC debut one year ago — will give him a four-fight losing streak and a potential one-way ticket out of the promotion.
Interest Level: 7/10
Co-headlining the event will be a pivotal 205-pound matchup between former title contender, Anthony Smith, and Ryan Spann. I’ll be honest, it’s a bit of a head-scratcher that this rematch was booked (preview here). Smith defeated Spann rather convincingly via rear-naked choke in the first round in Sept. 2021, where things went from heated to friendly post-fight (highlights). “Lionheart” has since lost two in a row, while Spann has gone 2-1, and is coming off a loss to Nikita Krylov. Why this do-over was booked I still can’t figure out. Nevertheless, both men are still in the Top 10 — Smith is No. 8 and Spann is No. 10 — so the winner here could jump up a spot or two.
Alex Caceres has quietly won seven of his last eight fights and is now ranked No. 15 in the Featherweight division. He will look to up his stock and further climb the rankings when he battles No. 9-seeded Giga Chikadze, who saw his nine-fight win streak go out the window after losing a unanimous decision to Calvin Kattar almost two years ago. I really like this matchup and it’s my early pick for “Fight of the Night.” More important for Caceres, though, is a big feather in his cap if he can hand Giga his second straight loss.
Winner of Road to UFC season one, Rinya Nakamura looks to extend his undefeated streak to 8-0 when he battles Fernie Garcia in a 135-pound tilt. Garcia needs a win in the worst way because he has lost his first two fights with the promotion and, as is the case with a lot of fighters on this card, another defeat could send him to the chopping block. Nakamura, meanwhile, is looking to improve his record to 8-0.
Erin Blanchfield (No. 3) will attempt to solidify her standing as the next contender in the women’s Flyweight division as she goes for consecutive win No. 9 against Taila Santos, who is coming of a loss to former division champion, Valentina Shevchenko, in her first-ever world title fight. A win here won’t get her back to the big dance, but it will prevent her from falling further down the ladder. Blanchfield, meanwhile, could get the winner of Grasso vs. Shevchenko 2 with an impressive victory since she’s been on fire as of late.
In the Heavyweight division, Parker Porter and Junior Tafa will kick things off on the main card. Porter recently snapped his two-fight losing streak by knocking out Braxton Smith in the first round. As for Tafa, he suffered the first loss of his young professional career at the hands of former The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) winner, Mohammed Usman. In an interesting twist, Porter suffered a first-round technical knockout loss at the hands of Tafa’s brother, Justin, at UFC 284 earlier this year (see it again here).
Enjoy the fights!
UFC Singapore Main Event On ESPN+:
145 lbs.: Max Holloway vs. Chan Sung Jung
UFC Singapore Main Card On ESPN+ (8 a.m. ET):
205 lbs.: Anthony Smith vs. Ryan Spann
145 lbs.: Alex Caceres vs. Giga Chikadze
135 lbs.: Fernie Garcia vs. Rinya Nakamura
125 lbs.: Erin Blanchfield vs. Taila Santos
265 lbs.: Parker Porter vs. Junior Tafa
UFC Singapore ‘Prelims’ Under Card On ESPN+ (5 a.m. ET):
265 lbs.: Lukasz Brzeski vs. Waldo Cortes-Acosta
135 lbs.: Garrett Armfield vs. Toshiomi Kazama
185 lbs.: Michal Oleksiejczuk vs. Chidi Njokuani
170 lbs.: Rolando Bedoya vs. Song Kenan
170 lbs.: Billy Goff vs. Yusaku Kinoshita
125 lbs.: JJ Aldrich vs. Liang Na
145 lbs.: Jarno Errens vs. Seungwoo Choi
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights remain subject to change.*
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.