The Main Event: UFC Denver

The Korean Zombie
(Mark J. Rebilas – USA TODAY Sports)

By Jake Auten. November 7, 2018. — The largest mixed martial arts promotion in the world is set to commemorate 25 years of blood and broken faces on Saturday, as the UFC heads to The Mile High City of Denver for Fight Night 139 on a refreshing Saturday night inside the Pepsi Center.

Almost as skeptical as it is intriguing, the fight card’s featherweight main event features two effective pace-driven kickboxers who both seek decisive victories after extremely lengthy layoffs.

Entering the octagon for just the second time since August 2013, “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung is no stranger to making the most of his few & far between appearances. In just five fights under the UFC banner, Jung has been a straight shooter, climbing the ladder and being one half of three separate main events. A two-time Submission of the Night claimer, the South Korean has displayed some of the best grappling capabilities and quick twitch forward movement ever seen at 145 pounds.

After knocking out Dennis Bermudez last year in Houston, Jung earned Performance of the Night honors and took home yet another $50,000 bonus, before a severe knee injury sidelined him extensively yet again. In a September interview with BJPenn.com, Jung was optimistic yet confident in his future coinciding with the fight this weekend. “I was fighting for myself in my twenties, but now I’m fighting for my family. Even though I do not have the same physical strength, I have amassed much more experience and know-how.”

When former UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar was forced to pull out due to injury, a man who’d once been humbled by “The Answer” picked up the phone, with the young and tactical Mexican sensation Yair Rodriguez moving into position as the short notice replacement. Layoffs of his own brought on by little-discussed injuries and contract disputes, it’s almost a miracle that Chihuahua’s finest made it to Colorado with a deal and no inclination of a setback.

Jan 15, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Yair Rodriguez holds a Mexico flag as he celebrates his TKO of B.J. Penn (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Behind 3 first-round finishes and key career victories over the likes of Dan Hooker, Andre Fili, and UFC veteran B.J. Penn, Rodriguez has made a name worth mentioning behind the prowess of his pace and pressure, and a diverse skill set brought forth by supreme conditioning and thundering leg power. Although his camp lasted just a mere two weeks, Yair Rodriguez feels invested in his opportunity, and comments in an interview with MMAJunkie.com reflected comfortability with his intangibles up against what could be a tricky opponent in Chan Sung Jung. “Korean Zombie’s been out for a long time, I’ve been out for a long time. It’ll be great to see what he has to bring to the table, the changes in his strategy… I think he’s gonna come aggressively, but I think I will handle it.”

In the midst of a match that is seemingly unpredictable, both men are more than capable of switching stance and scaling the repertoire in terms of their bag of tricks. While the essence of youth and explosiveness is more Rodriguez’ bag, effectiveness on the ground and a cloaked wrestling advantage could earn Chan Sung Jung a chance to tap out the legend killer and earn his 15th professional victory.

Who’s willing to sustain their comeback story to overcome adversity and move up in the featherweight food chain? Saturday, all eyes are on Denver


UFCFight Night 139: Korean Zombie vs. Rodriguez

Pepsi Center / Denver, CO

Preliminary Card: 7:00 PM EST

Main Card: 10:00 PM EST

TV: Fox Sports 1 (Paul Felder & Brandon Fitzgerald)

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