KOREAN ZOMBIE (Chan Sung Jung) vs Frankie Edgar at 145lbs.
One of the greatest nicknames in sports, and well earned by constantly enduring and flourishing within all out wars. He is must see television: every single one of his fights since 2011 (he did take 2 yrs out for military service) earned him some type of performance bonus – nearly all submission or knockouts of the night, with a ton of “Fight of the Night” awards. What more do you want from a guy? Cannot pay these dudes enough money…
So he’s fighting a late replacement in 38 year old Edgar (I was so ready to short Brian Ortega in this fight, after his Max Holloway beating and subsequent time off to heal/meditate/party, and the odds were even)… Eventual hall of famer Edgar has fought everyone, is incredibly well rounded, and in this instance ONLY one inch shorter (he always seems under the gun to me). Must admit, I usually always make money betting against Edgar (how did he beat Yair though?? And recall the Zombie lost to Yair, hmm), so I am biased, and mostly out of compliments for him.
Frankie is in deep trouble here. Commendable for taking the fight at 145 when he was training for the Sandman at 135 (I would have/will bet Cory in that one too), but this is who Frankie is, the ultimate company man. I think it will be a close, hard-fought fight for a few rounds, as the old pro wrestles and scrambles (ducks) his way out of trouble…. But for Edgar fans, hope for a quick finish, as this could be a long, long night for him.
The pick: The clue is in the name, the Korean Zombie inevitably by KO.
The Korean Superboy (Choi Doo-ho) vs Charles Jourdain.
You need to see his boyish face to get the name and the joke. As a fighter Choi is not a joke. He too loves a scrap, earning “Fight of the Night” in his last FOUR UFC cards he’s participated in. That’s ridiculous. And since he was on the losing end of two wars against Jeremy Stephens (2 yrs ago) and Cub Swanson (wow that was 3 yrs ago), the UFC is dialing his opponent back to earn Choi a Win.
I wouldn’t call Jourdain a tomato can, as everyone under the banner of the UFC is absolutely legit, but I think Choi dusts off a little ring rust and gets the win. Hand speed and a lack of defense (on both of their parts) makes this a fun bout….
Pick: Superboy by KO.
Volkan Oezdemir vs Aleksandar Rakic at 205lbs.
Volkan won that fight against Dominick Reyes. I was there, he was sincerely robbed. But he got to take it out on Ilir Latifi (whom I rate, and it wasn’t close) and now potentially the Austrian (Croatian), Rakic. Considering that the Swiss (Turkish) Volkan has wins against Ovince Saint-Preux (OSP is a beast), Misha Cirkunov, Jimi Manuwa, Reyes and Latifi (with losses against Daniel Cormier, and the superb Anthony Smith) you have to give him some proper respect.
Rakic on the other hand will be the taller fighter, and with that quick vicious head-kick finish of Jimi Manuwa, it would seem he’s as dangerous as anyone in the division. Thing is we don’t know too much about Rakic, except that he will look to pick apart the plodding Oezdemir from the outside. And Volkan is a bit hard to guage as well (shooting on Reyes was shocking, especially to Reyes), so there is intrigue with both. Bit close to call and if this one is going to the judges, in Korea, I have no idea what that means.
Pick: UFC gods should steal one back for Volkan unless Rakic gets the finish. And going on the 5 minutes of research we have on this guy, he looks a lot quicker than Volkan. I will take Rakic by KO
Ciryl Gane vs Tanner Boser.
I am taking Ciryl until he loses. He’s an enormous striker, with polished BJJ. He’s like a skillful Francis Ngannou. But it’s the Heavyweights, where one punch means everything, so the price is too steep.
Pick: Ciryl will finish.
Raoni Barcelos vs Said Nurmagomedov
We have a Nurmagomedov on the card! What a layup. You know that last name means? Yes, you do. Do not pass go. Also, this Nurmagomedov finished Brazil’s Ricardo Ramos (remember this name, stud up-and-comer) inside the first round and in Brazil.