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UFC 163: Scouting “The Korean Zombie,” Chan-Sung Jung

UFC 163: Scouting “The Korean Zombie,” Chan-Sung Jung

“Inside, I crank up the emergency radio. The local channel has a riot in Koreatown…

Two figures are shambling up the street… their eyes are dull gleams, reflecting back the light like black marbles. Their clothes are torn, and gaping wounds mar their faces. Black blood covers their clothes. Is this some kind of joke? Halloween?

Their mouths sag open, gaping, and a slow moan drifts out, an eerie, otherworldly sound. It’s not a joke.

Zombies, straight out of a horror movie. As the light plays across them, they surge forward…”

Sam Sheridan, The Disaster Diaries (The Penguin Press, 2012)

He’s known for his MMA writing like A Fighter’s Heart, but it’s Sam Sheridan’s apocalyptic nightmares which spur the action in his latest book. Each chapter of Sherdian’s The Disaster Diaries begins with a different fantasy which Sheridan takes time to learn how to cope with: traveling from his LA home to train with experts in the fields of survivalism, knife skills, stunt car driving, and more. To combat a zombie invasion, he trains with a firearms expert.

But José Aldo, UFC Featherweight Champion (and my controversial “Pound-for-Pound” champion), won’t have Sheridan’s Glock 19 with him when he fights the man known as “The Korean Zombie” (for his unbreakable will, remarkable pain tolerance, and constant forward movement), Chan-Sung Jung, next Saturday at UFC 163.

To begin preparing for the event, I took a look at the three bouts which brought Jung his shot at Aldo.

(“What kind of zombies are on the way from Korea?” I can imagine Sheridan writing…)

Everyone knows about the fight Joe Rogan called “the fight of the decade,” Jung’s controversial split decision loss to Leonard Garcia back in April of 2010. But the 2011 rematch, following a training camp with Uriah Faber, really began his move from cult hero to legitimate contender.

Some surprisingly tepid standup began the bout, with Garcia taking a slight advantage — until Jung scored a takedown and landed some nasty strikes, especially from back mount, to end the first stanza.

(“A patient zombie? What?”)

Second round had more of the same, with both fighters landing a flying knee between the tip-toe lateral movement. Another wild exchange saw Garcia hit the deck. Jung pounced back into back control and maneuvered into jiu-jitsu luminary Eddie Bravo’s vaunted “Twister” hold, really a spine crank from the wrestler’s guillotine. In seconds, Jung, not a Bravo disciple or even really a jiu-jitsu exponent, made Garcia tap in submission to the first ever “Twister” in UFC history.

(“An… innovative zombie..? How?”)

In his next bout in December 2011, Chan-Sung Jung entered the cage saying he’d stand with Mark Hominick, the vaunted Canadian striker who had just taken José Aldo the distance. Few believed him. In just seven seconds, Jung walked across the cage and knocked Hominick senseless, shocking an Ontario crowd — and the MMA world.

(“The immovable object, sure… but also the unstoppable force…? Huh?”)

Finally, last May at the main event of UFC on Fuel, Jung took on American Top Team’s Dustin Poirier, who was flying high off a five fight winning streak. Jung mostly dominated takedowns and ground control throughout the first rounds: cutting Poirier open with crisp elbows in the first, and reversing a takedown into mount in the second for more punishment. Jung’s dynamic armbar and triangle attempts to finish the second brought the crowd to their feet.

Both fighters tired in a grueling standup-dominated third round, but a huge punching and flying knee combination rocked Poirier to begin the fourth. Jung locked Poirier in a D’Arce choke (an unusual head-and-arm choke described well in this video by Rener and Ryron Gracie) to end the bout.

(…a Gracie zombie…?)

To be continued. We’ll break down the match up further soon. This “Zombie” invasion continues next Saturday!

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