"The Korean Zombie" Chan Sung Jung put on a career best performance tonight in his UFC on Fuel TV 3 main event against Dustin Poirier. Jung was able to come out hard and engage with Poirier on the feet and the floor and Poirier had little in the way of answers.
The problems started early for Poirier when he wasn't able to bring his kicks back quickly enough, leading to Jung catching them and getting takedowns in rounds one and two. He worked well from the top and had Poirier bleeding from solid elbow attacks. When Poirier came back a bit in the third, Jung made the right adjustments and by the time the fourth round came around he was able to unleash a slick uppercut/left hook combo that dropped Poirier and led to the choke to finish the fight.
It was a truly great performance in an immensely entertaining fight.
Let's take a quick look at the evening's action.
- Chan Sung Jung may not be the true "top challenger" for Jose Aldo, but he's probably the biggest "star" in the featherweight division. Jung vs. Aldo is a rare "money fight" at 145 pounds. After Aldo trounces Eric Koch, it is the only fight that makes any sense to start moving featherweight toward being a bigger drawing division. Hioki is massively talented, but he's not anywhere near on the level of Jung in terms of crowd support.
- A brief personal rant: Can we stop caring that crowds in America chant "USA, USA, USA" when it's an American fighter against a non-American fighter. Canadian fans support Canadian fighters, Brazilian fans chant all kinds of crazy shit for their fighters/against foreign fighters. It's pretty much normal sports stuff. You don't need to be a self-loathing American and whine because of a pretty normal thing.
- Amir Sadollah has progressed...well...not at all, really. He's not exciting, he's barely hanging around against really iffy competition and he seems to get very questionable nods from the judges to keep his record inflated. He's not entertaining enough to keep getting pushed by the UFC.
- Donald Cerrone is so good when he's on his game against the right opponent. Jeremy Stephens was going to be headhunting, that wasn't a shock. Cerrone was smart in picking him apart with a varied attack that had Stephens cowering at feints by the final round. Cerrone probably won't ever quite get to that title contender level, but he's absolutely capable of putting on shows like this.
- Yves Jabouin pummeled Jeff Hougland, and it probably isn't right to criticize such a dominant performance. But it really felt like Hougland shouldn't have made it to the final bell. Jabouin's near unwillingness to go for the finish will end up coming back to haunt him.
- Poor, poor Igor Pokrajac and Fabio Maldonado. They seemed like they had Fight of the Night locked up until that main event. That was a good scrap between guys who were willing to engage for a full 15 minutes.
- Maldonado needs to start sitting down on his punches to the head like he does when he goes to the body, needs to stop pulling straight back with his chin up and needs to show more interest in defending his head in the clinch when knees could come. These are just things that need to be fixed to up his game a bit.
- Tom Lawlor...not my favorite guy (I don't find his act particularly funny) sure did crush Jason MacDonald.
- I'll probably have a lot more to say about Brad Tavares' fight with Dongi Yang tomorrow. Tavares told a doctor he couldn't see, the doctor said he wanted to stop the fight and then Taveres changed his mind and said he could see. How a doctor doesn't step in there is beyond me. Then, Tavares' corner acknowledges that he can't see between the next rounds and say they're going to not call the doctor so the fight isn't stopped. Yeah, Tavares won, but that doesn't ease my concerns over the way the doctor and corner looked out for fighter safety in this fight.
- Cody McKenzie did his usual thing but I have no clue why Marcus LeVesseur was so willing to sit there while the guillotine was clearly being set up. I still don't think McKenzie is any good, and I don't really see much improvement in his game, but hey. Wins are wins.
- So...that whole Kamal Shalorus thing is done now, right? Rafael dos Anjos just made him look silly.