Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/12/21/ufc-busan-report-the-korean-zombie-stops-frankie-edgar-in-round-1/
UFC Busan Report: The Korean Zombie stops Frankie Edgar in Round 1
Early on Saturday morning, the UFC made their debut in Busan, South Korea, at the Sajik Arena. The event was originally to be headlined by a bout between featherweight contenders, Brian Ortega and “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung. However, roughly two weeks before the card, Ortega was forced to withdraw from the fight due to a torn ACL. Shortly thereafter, former UFC lightweight champion and long-time featherweight contender Frankie Edgar was announced as the short-notice replacement to face The Korean Zombie. Edgar was preparing for his January bantamweight debut against Cory Sandhagen, but those plans have been put on hold as Edgar looked to make another case for a featherweight title shot. In the co-main event, light heavyweight contenders Volkan Oezdemir and Aleksandar Rakić met in what was sure to be a hard-hitting fight.
Commentary for the event was provided by the team of Brendan Fitzgerald and Dan Hardy. Performance bonuses were awarded to Chan Sung Jung and Alexandre Pantoja. Fight of the Night bonuses went out to Doo-Ho Choi and Charles Jourdain. The reported attendance for the event was 10,651.
*Alatengheili def. Ryan Benoit by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
*Amanda Lemos def. Miranda Granger by rear-naked choke at 3:43 of Round 1
*Raoni Barcelos def. Said Nurmagomedov by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
*Alexandre Pantoja def. Matt Schnell by KO at 4:17 of Round 1
*Omar Morales def. Dong Hyun Ma by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 29-28)
*Sung Woo Choi def. Suman Mokhtarian by unanimous decision (29-26, 29-26, 29-25)
*Ciryl Gane def. Tanner Boser by unanimous decision (30-26 all)
*Hyung Ho Kang def. Pingyuan Liu by split decision (29-28, 30-27, 28-29)
*Jun Yong Park def. Marc-Andre Barriault by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
*Da Un Jung def. Mike Rodriguez by KO at 1:04 of Round 1
*Charles Jourdain def. Doo-Ho Choi by TKO at 4:32 of Round 2
*Volkan Oezdemir def. Aleksandar Rakić by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
*Chan Sung Jung def. Frankie Edgar by TKO at 3:18 of Round 1
ALATENGHEILI (13-7-1, 136) VS RYAN BENOIT (10-5, 136) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Benoit opened with a hard kick to the body that echoed throughout the arena. Alatengheili pursued a takedown that Benoit defended well. Alatengheili walked into another hard kick to the body. The bodywork from Benoit was creating opportunities for strikes up high by the end of the round. With about twenty seconds remaining, Alatengheili connected with a straight right that momentarily dropped Benoit. Nonetheless, Benoit was in no danger of being stopped and I still gave him the round.
Benoit continued his high output of body shots in the second. The fighters exchanged hard kicks to the body. Benoit threw a high kick that partially connected but backed off his attack after Alatengheili responded with a short right hand. Alatengheili started to find his rhythm towards the end of the round with straight right hands and somebody kicks of his own. He had Benoit hurt at the end of the round and busted up Benoit’s nose with a right hand. 19-19 on my scorecard heading into the third.
The third round took place primarily on the ground. Alatengheili controlled the first half of the round with his grappling, taking Benoit down four times in the early portion of the round. With a minute remaining they returned to the feet. Benoit was aggressive but did not do enough to steal the round. I scored this fight 29-28 Alatengheili.
WINNER: Alatengheili by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
I thought this fight was a fun start to the card. Benoit looked great early, but Alatengheili’s power was the difference-maker, and he looked impressive himself as the fight progressed. Alatengheili is now 2-0 in the UFC.
MIRANDA GRANGER (7-0, 116) VS AMANDA LEMOS (6-1-1, 116) – STRAWWEIGHT
Lemos was able to get the fight to the ground by taking Granger down in the clinch. Lemos sunk in a rear-naked choke from the side, almost like from the position one would apply bulldog choke, and Granger went out quickly.
WINNER: Amanda Lemos by rear-naked choke at 3:43 of Round 1
This was a very impressive finish by Amanda Lemos. I cannot recall seeing a rear-naked choke applied from this position in the UFC. This was Lemos’s first win in the UFC following a two-year USADA suspension that came after her UFC debut. This marked Granger’s first professional loss.
SAID NURMAGOMEDOV (13-1, 136) VS RAONI BARCELOS (14-1, 136) – BANTAMWEIGHT
There were fireworks in the first minute of this one, as both fighters threw flurries of strikes. Nurmagomedov responded to Barcelos’s attacks with attempted spinning backfists and elbows. Nurmagomedov may have set a record for most attempted spinning attacks within a single round in this fight. Barcelos took Nurmagomedov down briefly. Nurmagomedov’s best weapon throughout the round was his jab, and I thought he narrowly edged out the round with it.
Nurmagomedov kept up his high output of spinning offense in the second. Barcelos landed a kick to the lead leg of Nurmagomedov that clearly affected him. Nurmagomedov attempted to take Barcelos down, but Barcelos snatched his back and began to land some hard right hands. Nurmagomedov stood up, and Barcelos clung to him in the backpack position for the remainder of the round. I had the fight 19-19 at the end of the second.
By the third round, Barcelos seemed to have those spinning strikes well scouted. This was a very close round on the feet, with both fighters tired and cautious. Barcelos took Nurmagomedov down and appeared to have been cut in the process. Barcelos attempted an arm triangle and transitioned to his back with thirty seconds remaining. Nurmagomedov escaped the position and the fight ended on the feet. I scored this fight 29-28 Barcelos.
WINNER: Raoni Barcelos by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
I thought this was a really fun fight. Both fighters showcased a ton of potential, but Nurmagomedov went to the same well a bit too often, and Barcelos got a read on him. Barcelos is now 4-0 in the UFC and ranked competition is likely on the horizon for him.
ALEXANDRE PANTOJA (21-4, 126) VS MATT SCHNELL (14-4, 126) – FLYWEIGHT
The first fifteen seconds of this fight was completely insane. They just met in the center of the octagon and started swinging wildly. Schnell briefly took a knee in this exchange but recovered quickly. Schnell wobbled Pantoja not long after, and pulled guard on Pantoja, bringing the fight to the ground. Pantoja did some decent work on top, landing a few heavy strikes. They returned to the feet and Schnell charged forward-looking to continue the brawl, but Pantoja countered with a looping right hand that sent Schnell face down to the ground, and Alexandre Pantoja picked up the knockout victory.
WINNER: Alexandre Pantoja by KO at 4:17 of Round 1
This round was completely insane. From the opening seconds of the fight, these guys started trading strikes Holloway/Lamas style, and both men were rocked throughout this four-minute fight. A terrific finish for Alexandre Pantoja, who may be in line to fight Joseph Benavidez if he defeats Deiveson Figueiredo for the flyweight championship.
OMAR MORALES (8-0, 156) VS DONG HYUN MA (16-10-3, 156) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Huge reaction for Dong Hyun Ma from the South Korean crowd.
Morales found an opening to take Ma to the ground after a couple of minutes of feeling each other out on the feet. Ma searched for the Kimura but could not free the arm to extend it and get the submission. This was a tough round to score, with a bit of a stalemate on the feet, Morales getting the top control and Ma having the submission attempt. I gave the round to Morales, but I would not argue it either way.
Morales started to pull ahead on the feet in the second, throwing his strikes in combination. They traded kicks. Ma landed a straight left and followed it with a nice jab to the body. Morales ended the round with a spinning head kick that Ma just ate, as well as a solid kick to the body. Uneventful round, but I thought Morales edged it out once more.
Morales connected with a spinning heel kick one more time, and this time it dropped Ma. Ma recovered from the strike, but Morales seized top control and made sure Ma would be unable to get even on the scorecards. I scored this fight 30-27 Morales.
WINNER: Omar Morales by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 29-28)
A dominant performance for Omar Morales. Dong Hyun Ma really never got going in this fight, and Morales picked up a very decisive win here. This was Morales’s UFC debut, and he moved to 9-0 professionally with this win.
SUMAN MOKHTARIAN (8-1, 145) VS SUNG WOO CHOI (7-3, 146) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Mokhtarian opened up with a pair of heavy right hands. Choi stumbled Mokhtarian with a head kick and landed some hard elbows and knees in the following clinch exchange. Choi was doing damage in the clinch against the cage, but they were separated following multiple fence grabs, and referee Greg Kleynjans took a point from Sung Woo Choi. Choi was aggressive when the action resumed, but Mokhtarian halted his momentum against the cage. Choi ended the round with a big elbow. With the point deduction taken into consideration, I scored the round 9-9.
Choi unleashed with a seemingly endless combination of strikes to Mokhtarian against the cage, who was hurt badly in the flurry. His mouthpiece was knocked out, and he tried to get Kleynjans to pause the action mid-combination. Mokhtarian was dropped soon thereafter, and Choi began to work from top position. Mokhtarian survived the round, but this was a tough five minutes for him. I scored the second round 10-8 in Choi’s favor.
Mokhtarian rocked Choi in the third round with a big punch but shot for a takedown that was reversed into side control for Choi. Choi threw some elbows that made Mokhtarian cover-up and he ended the round strongly after being in danger early in the round. I scored the fight 29-26 Choi.
WINNER: Sung Woo Choi by unanimous decision (29-26, 29-26, 29-25)
This was another fun fight, and Sung Woo Choi looked dominant aside from his brief moment of trouble in the third. This was his first win in the UFC. Mokhtarian is now 0-2 in the UFC, but displayed a lot of heart in this fight, particularly in the second round.
CIRYL GANE (5-0, 246) VS TANNER BOSER (17-5-1, 249) – HEAVYWEIGHT
These are two heavyweights who move well and fight smart, traits that are immediately evident in that division. Gane knocked Boser off balance with a jab to the body. Boser was attacking in flurries of punches, but Gane’s strikes had more behind them. Gane connected flush with an uppercut. I scored the first round 10-9 Gane.
Boser landed a solid leg kick and defended a takedown attempt from Gane. A Gane strike cut Boser open near his right eye. Gane wobbled Boser with a straight left, but Boser recovered quickly. Boser landed a nice left hook as Gane moved forward. Gane responded with a powerful left hand of his own to close the round. 20-18 Gane, heading into round three.
Gane really started to pull away in the final round. He began to work the body with knees in the clinch and teep kicks that shut Boser down. Gane mixed in some uppercuts and clearly won the third and final round. I scored the fight 30-27 Gane.
WINNER: Ciryl Gane by unanimous decision (30-26 all)
Another dominant victory for Ciryl Gane against a tricky opponent in Tanner Boser. He is one of the top prospects at heavyweight right now, and I would have no issues with seeing him against a top ten opponent. Gane is now 3-0 in the UFC in just five months. This was his first win by decision.
KYUNG HO KANG (16-8, 1 NC, 136) VS PINGYUAN LIU (15-5, 136) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Quick takedown for Kang in the first round. Liu kept busy from the bottom, and Kang just held Liu down for the duration of the round. 10-9 Kang.
Kang opened with a head kick and then took Liu down once more. This round mirrored the first. Kang just smothered Liu, mixing in brief flurries of strikes to keep the referee from standing them up. Liu continued to arguably be the busier fighter from the bottom, but the judges likely had it 20-18 Kang.
Liu defended Kang’s first takedown attempt of the third, but just seemed to stumble to the ground moments later and Kang capitalized. At some point, Kang was cut heavily, likely from Liu’s elbow off his back. That was enough to give the round to Liu for me, as nothing else of note occurred.
WINNER: Hyung Ho Kang by split decision (29-28, 30-27, 28-29)
Not the most entertaining fight, but the crowd was incredibly patient and supportive of Hyung Ho Kang regardless. I don’t think a scorecard in favor of Liu is unreasonable, as Kang was incredibly inactive despite his total control time. Kang has won 5 of his last 6 fights.
JUN YONG PARK (10-4, 186) VS MARC-ANDRE BARRIAULT (11-3, 186) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
Park was aggressive early, mixing up his strikes by throwing his punches high and kicks low. Barriault’s fingers grazed Park’s left eye which appeared to do some damage. Park took Barriault down momentarily after a combination of punches to the body. Park connected with a trio of uppercuts. Clear 10-9 round in favor of Park.
Park took Barriault down once more following a brief barrage of strikes. Barriault picked himself back up and defended Parks takedown attempts for the remainder of the round. He found some success with his leg kicks in this second round. Park would explode for brief moments but seemed to have really slowed his output by the end of the round. Nonetheless, I thought Park won this round.
Barriault started the third round aggressively, but his momentum was brought to a stop by a takedown attempt from Park. They exchanged uppercuts in the clinch. Barriault continued to find success with his leg kicks. This final round went to Barriault, but I thought Park did enough to win the first two rounds, and thus, the fight.
WINNER: Jun Yong Park by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Park started the fight off strongly but noticeably slowed as the fight went on. After losing his UFC debut, this was a much-needed bounce-back for Jun Yong Park. Barriault has now lost all 3 of his fights in the UFC, and his back is against the wall at this point.
DA UN JUNG (12-2, 206) VS MIKE RODRIGUEZ (10-4, 206) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
After feeling each other out for about a minute, Jung threw a straight right that crumpled Rodriguez, and Jung followed it up with four quick right hands that forced referee Marc Goddard to step in and stop the fight.
WINNER: Da Un Jung by KO at 1:04 of Round 1
This was a great knockout win for Jung against a dangerous opponent. Jung is now on a 12-fight win streak with 11 finishes in that span.
DOO-HO CHOI (14-3, 146) VS CHARLES JOURDAIN (9-2, 146) – FEATHERWEIGHT
As mentioned on the broadcast, Doo-Ho Choi had been inactive for two years, looking to do his mandatory military service in South Korea. Unfortunately, that two-year period of service has yet to begin, so this could be Choi’s lone fight in a four- or five-year period of time.
Choi found success with a variety of strikes early. Jourdain fed Choi some shots to the body in response. Choi wobbled Jourdain with a left hook and then dropped him momentarily with a right. Choi wobbled him one more time with a spinning backfist. Jourdain dropped Choi with a straight left with seconds remaining in the first round. This was an awesome round. I scored the round 10-9 Choi.
The second round continued to entertain. Both fighters were looking for a big knockout win. Jourdain was finding more success with his combinations this round, but in turn, Choi was still throwing dangerous counter backfists and knees at the end of them. The end of this round mirrored the ending of the last, as Jourdain connected with that same left hand he dropped Choi with at the end of the first, but this one sealed the deal. Choi went down hard, and referee Peter Hickmott stopped the contest soon thereafter.
WINNER: Charles Jourdain by TKO at 4:32 of Round 2
This was a really entertaining fight, and Jourdain made a name for himself here by finishing a recognizable face in Doo-Ho Choi. Choi was dominant early, but much like his last two fights, he faded as the fight continued, while remaining susceptible to big strikes. Charles Jourdain called out Cub Swanson, who recently suffered meniscus and ACL tears.
VOLKAN OEZDEMIR (16-4, 206) VS ALEKSANDAR RAKIC (12-1, 206) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Rakić came out of the gates swinging, forcing Volkan back and attempting a standing guillotine. Rakić was doing a good job of utilizing his reach advantage has Oezdemir looked to close the distance. Rakić tripped Volkan and brought him to the ground momentarily. Oezdemir did have some success by kicking the lead leg of Rakić, but the first round was a clear 10-9 for Aleksandar Rakić.
Rakić knocked Oezdemir’s head back with a straight right. Rakic’s left leg was starting to look deformed from Oezdemir’s low kicks. The swelling was unreal. Oezdemir defended a number of takedown attempts from Rakić throughout the round. Oezdemir clapped in Rakić’s face, but I doubt that did much for the scorecard. This was a pretty close round, and an argument can be made for either fighter. Ultimately, I thought the low kicks from Oezdemir were the story of the round and I had it tied up going into round 3.
They exchanged some hard punches in an early break from the clinch against the cage. Despite the damage done to his leg, Rakić was still doing a good job of moving out of the way of Oezdemir’s big shots. They were trading hard shots in the pocket, yet remarkably neither fighter was rocked. Rakić ended the round by pressing Volkan against the cage. This was another super close round that I narrowly gave to Oezdemir. I scored the fight 29-28 for Volkan Oezdemir.
WINNER: Volkan Oezdemir by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
This was about as close as a fight can get. I thought both fighters looked good here, and I am surprised that neither man went down from some of the strikes landed throughout the fight. Volkan pushed for rematches with Dominick Reyes and Anthony Smith in his post-fight interview. Oezdemir is now 5-3 in the UFC.
This marked Aleksandar Rakić’s first loss since 2011 and the end of an impressive 12-fight win streak.
FRANKIE EDGAR (22-7-1, 146) VS CHAN SUNG JUNG (15-5, 146) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Naturally, there was a huge reaction for the Korean Zombie from the Busan crowd.
Jung defended a takedown from Edgar early and wobbled him with a left hook. Edgar recovered, but Zombie dropped him with another left hook, and he began to search for a rear-naked choke after taking Edgar’s back. Frankie was eating some big shots from Zombie, who flattened Edgar out. Jung eventually let Edgar up, but went right back on the attack, dropping Frankie one last time, and referee Marc Goddard stepped in and ended the fight as Edgar covered up.
WINNER: Chan Sung Jung by TKO at 3:18 of Round 1
Since returning from his hiatus, the Korean Zombie has looked amazing. Aside from his last-second loss to Yair Rodriguez, he has finished Dennis Bermudez, Renato Moicano, and Frankie Edgar all in the first round. I do not think very many people would complain about Jung fighting for the title in his next fight, as he requested in his post-fight interview. If they go with the Holloway rematch for Alexander Volkanovski, a rematch between Jung and Yair Rodriguez, or the originally scheduled fight with Brian Ortega, would make for appealing matchups.
As for Edgar, it is fitting that the decade would close with perhaps its most consistent contender in the main event. With no clear path to the title at 145lbs, the proposed move to bantamweight is probably the right move for him.