clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
UFC Fight Night: Edgar v The Korean Zombie Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Filed under:

Fighter on Fighter: Breaking down UFC Fight Island 6’s ‘Korean Zombie’

Heavy-handed finisher, Chan Sung Jung, will battle submission ace, Brian Ortega, this Saturday (Oct. 17, 2020) at UFC Fight Island 6 inside Flash Forum on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

At 33 years of age, “The Korean Zombie” is more deadly than ever.

This a problem for the rest of the Featherweight division, namely because Jung has been an excellent fighter since about 2011, when he went on a win streak to earn his first UFC title shot against Jose Aldo. Somehow, he leveled up in his four years on the sidelines, returning to the Octagon even more deadly. Based on his vicious 2019 victories, Jung may have made yet another jump since, as he absolutely creamed both opponents in the opening round.

In short, Jung is firing on all cylinders, ready to make another run at the belt. Let’s take a closer look at his skill set:

Striking

Jung has black belts in both Hapkido and Taekwondo, which is noticeable in his ability to suddenly surge forward from the outside with a quick combination of punches. However, Jung loves exchanging in the pocket far more than most with traditional martial arts backgrounds.

Because of his low hand position, Jung’s primary form of defense is head movement. While fresh, Jung does a very nice job of punching while getting his head off the center line. Both on offense and defense, the dipping jab is a favorite technique of his. When pushing forward, Jung will use this spearing jab to bait his opponent into ducking into an uppercut or leaning back into overhand.

UFC On Fuel TV: Korean Zombie v Poirier Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

The dipping jab works quite well on an advancing foe as well. Against Dustin Poirier, for example, Jung repeatedly gave ground as “The Diamond” pushed forward, but Poirier kept his head perfectly still and stood fairly tall. Jung’s slip may not be a guarantee that his foe’s punches will miss, but it gives him a decent chance, whereas his hard jab finds its mark far more often than not. Interestingly, Jung’s scrap with Dennis Bermudez saw a pair of devoted dipping jabbers clash, making it a battle of Jung’s reach vs. Bermudez’s lower angle of attack.

The way Jung applies his right hand is another interesting technique. He is deceptively quick with the strike, which allows Jung to enter the pocket before his opponent expects. Before firing from his right side, Jung will often lower his level, loading up for the explosive movement. Springing into a long cross is the first option from this position, but Jung will read his opponent as well. If they lower levels as well, he’ll look for the uppercut, whereas a jab from his opponent could prompt a slip and overhand from the South Korean.

After firing the cross, Jung will follow up with a rolling left hook or a more punches from within the clinch (GIF). In addition, Jung makes great use of both the cross counter and pull and return cross (GIF). Both are classic uses for a sharp right hand and strong timing, skills which Jung has sharpened by spending so much time working in the pocket.

Jung’s bout with Renato Moicano did not last long as a result of a perfect right hand. More than that, Jung was able to end the bout so quickly because he identified a weakness in Renato Moicano and capitalized perfectly. Jung and his camp knew that the Brazilian would be looking to establish the jab early, and Moicano also has a habit of boxing too tall. When Moicano fired the jab they knew would come, Jung fired a perfect cross counter that smashed into his foe’s jaw, and the follow up left hook connected for good measure as well.

I can practically guarantee Jung drilled that specific counter a ridiculous number of times, and it paid off (GIF).

Jung game planned similarly well opposite Frankie Edgar. Aside from showing a long jab and left hook, “Korean Zombie” simply waited for Edgar to come to him. The veteran has a habit of attacking on a straight line, and being the far more powerful puncher, Jung was willing to simply stand his ground and find check Edgar’s defense with hooks. The left hook proved his kill shot in this fight, finding Edgar’s chin over top Edgar’s own right cross multiple times en route to the finish (GIF).

Often, Jung will switch stances or utilize marching footwork in his combination (GIF), which allows for an extra bit of distance to be covered and provides punches with considerable power. Any time a fighter abandons his stance (even momentarily), there are definite defensive risks involved. It’s worth noting that Rodriguez’s crazy elbow knockout capitalized on this trait of Jung’s, as the South Korean athlete tends to stop moving his head if he believes his opponent is on the defensive.

The uppercut has grown to become something of Jung signature as well. On the counter, Jung does a nice job of slipping outside the jab and returning the right uppercut. Though that technique is more commonly seen in boxing, it works well for Jung opposite fighters who lean over their lead leg.

UFC Fight Night: Bermudez v Korean Zombie Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

In truth, Jung’s uppercut knockout of Dennis Bermudez should’ve been somewhat easy to see coming. Bermudez has been stunned many times while leaning over his lead leg, as he does a nice job dipping his head during the jab but keeps it there for too long. Jung set up the uppercut well, dipping and loading the cross two or three times. Once he noticed Bermudez was ducking beneath the right hand, Jung switched to a right uppercut and found his mark (GIF). This approach is a quality double-threat from the South Korean, one he’s used prior to the Bermudez fight as well (GIF).

Aside from his skill in the pocket, Jung has shown some strong kicking technique in the past, even if he rarely relies upon it. This was most notably in his bout with Poirier, as his foe’s Southpaw stance opened lots of opportunities. He scored with hard roundhouse kicks to the body — often underneath Poirier’s cross — as well as stepping knees and the occasional snap kick.

Wrestling

A Judo black belt, Jung has proven to be quite crafty at landing his takedowns inside the Octagon. It’s not an aspect of his game that he turns too often, but Jung’s ability to dictate where the fight takes place has been successful against just about everyone aside from Jose Aldo.

UFC Fight Night: Moicano v The Korean Zombie Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

From the clinch, Jung’s timing is excellent. He attempted a pair of takedowns from that position opposite Poirier in very different circumstances, and both were well-executed. In one, Jung caught Poirier backing straight up with fairly flat feet, making it easy for him to transition directly from the cross into a body lock slam. In the second example, Jung took advantage of Poirier’s exposed lead leg, distracting Poirier by controlling his wrist before dropping his weight as he hooked the outside of Poirier’s leg (GIF).

Lastly, Jung scored a slick foot sweep in his second match with Leonard Garcia. Attempting a half-hearted single leg, Jung quickly transitioned to a single collar tie. Controlling Garcia’s posture with one hand, he tripped Garcia’s foot while yanking him to the side, effectively dropping him to the mat.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

A Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt with nine wins via tapout, Jung is a very opportunistic and aggressive submission fighter.

Jung is quite tricky from both top position and his back. From the guard, Jung is incredibly active, stabbing at his opponent with elbows while constantly looking to jam one of his opponent’s arms between his legs to set up a triangle. Once the head and arm are trapped, Jung will quickly transition into the arm bar and back to the triangle as necessary, always looking to finish one of the holds.

UFC On Fuel TV: Korean Zombie v Poirier Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Additionally, Jung showed off the power of butterfly hooks as a defensive tool. After rocking Poirier, Jung’s foe managed to get in deep on a double leg, driving forward before Jung could effectively sprawl. Rather than concede position, Jung went with his opponent’s momentum, using the butterfly hooks to roll Poirier into mount.

The most famous finish of Jung’s career came via twister (watch it), the first in UFC history and a pretty perfect display of how the submission works. The twister is a back or spinal crank, one that locks an opponent’s lower half into place before twisting the head/neck in unpleasant fashion. First, Jung secured his opponent in place with single leg back control, locking down that one leg with both of his leg. Once that single-leg control is in place, Jung reaches around Garcia’s head and traps Garcia’s arm behind his back, allowing him to apply pressure to the crank.

Jung’s d’arce choke finish was also pretty slick. After crushing a wounded Poirier under a heavy sprawl, Jung quickly slid his outside arm around Poirier’s head and arm. Locking in the rear-naked choke grip, Jung applied a twisting pressure to force Poirier to his back. From that position, Jung was able to drop his weight on Poirier’s neck while squeezing, putting “The Diamond” to sleep quickly (GIF).

Finally, it’s worth-mentioning just how brutally Jung flattened out Edgar from back mount. He applied seriously heavy hip pressure, using double underhooks to stretch Edgar out on several occasions. It’s at testament to the New Jersey-native’s toughness that he survived those positions, but Jung was nevertheless able to sock him from that terrible spot, and he showed great technique in doing so.

Conclusion

Jung is ferocious. The South Korean is putting together punches in deadly fashion, and the results have been immediate — three of his six career knockout wins come in his last three victories! “Korean Zombie” matches up fairly well with the champion, and this is his chance to solidify his second title opportunity.

Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Island 6 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance at 7 p.m. ET (also on ESPN+).

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Fight Island 6: “Ortega vs. Korean Zombie” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.


Andrew Richardson, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, is a professional fighter who trains at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California. In addition to learning alongside world-class talent, Andrew has scouted opponents and developed winning strategies for several of the sport’s most elite fighters.

UFC Fighter Breakdowns

Fighter on Fighter: Breaking down UFC Vegas 73’s Angela Hill and Mackenzie Dern

UFC Fighter Breakdowns

Fighter on Fighter: Breaking down UFC Charlotte’s Jairzinho Rozenstruik

UFC Fighter Breakdowns

Fighter on Fighter: Breaking down UFC Charlotte’s Jailton Almeida

View all stories in UFC Fighter Breakdowns

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania