One of the UFC’s most charismatic fighters returns to the octagon after a three-year absence.
South Korean featherweight Chan Sung Jung will make his UFC return on February 4th at UFC Fight Night 104 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. Known as the Korean Zombie for his uncanny ability to take heavy punishment, Jung left the UFC in 2013 in order to serve his two year mandatory military service to his home country. Jung hasn’t fought since his failed title bid against Jose Aldo at UFC 163.
Meanwhile, Dennis Bermudez will be getting his first main event appearance against the Korean Zombie. A finalist in The Ultimate Fighter 14, Bermudez is 2-2 in his last four bouts but has won two fights in a row. The Menace is coming off decision wins over Tatsuya Kawajiri and Rony Jason and will be looking to improve his current #9 ranking in the UFC’s 145 pound division. Jung is unranked but don’t let that deceive you.
Current odds have Bermudez a slight -135 favorite over Jung’s +123. The reason is likely the Korean Zombie’s three-year hiatus from the sport. On the other hand, Bermudez has won two in a row with both wins coming in 2016. However, Bermudez hasn’t had a really meaningful win since beating Max Holloway by split decision at UFC 160 in 2013. Prior to his win streak, he lost by stoppage to Ricardo Lamas and Jeremy Stephens.
Bermudez likes to wear his opponents down and beat them in a grinder. But while he’s an excellent wrestler, he doesn’t have good submission defense. Four of his five losses have actually come by submission. The problem here is that Chan Sung Jung is a submission artist, with 9 of his 14 wins by submission. It’s interesting to note that three of Bermudez’s four submission losses were via chokes and five of Jung’s nine submission wins were by chokes, too.
Bermudez has a feared ground and pound game but remember he lost the TUF 14 tournament after getting caught with an armbar while hammering Diego Barandao. Having said that, the Korean Zombie should have the advantage if this fight goes down to the ground.
On their feet, Jung is the better striker and has the physical advantages over Bermudez at three inches in height and six inches in reach. Given the plus money, I’d risk the Zombie’s ring rust and pick him to submit Dennis Bermudez for the victory.