The Bloody Elbow team has made its picks and predictions for Saturday morning’s UFC Busan card, and there’s a slight lean towards Chan Sung Jung, aka “The Korean Zombie” closing out 2019 with a victory over Frankie Edgar. Most of us are going with Volkan Oezdemir to halt the rise of Aleksandar Rakic in the co-main event.
Note: Predictions are entered throughout the week and collected the day before the event. Explanations behind each pick are not required and some writers opt not to do so for their own reasons. For example, if Phil Mackenzie entered all of his predictions on Wednesday without adding in any explanations, he has no idea if he’s going to be the only one siding with one fighter for any given fight.
Note 2: We are looking at a new predictions format, and that means only having descriptions on our picks for the top 2-5 fights on smaller UFC events such as this one. No worries though, as we’ve embedded both MMA Vivisections for you to listen to if you want in-depth breakdowns.
Chan Sung Jung vs. Frankie Edgar
Mookie Alexander: I’d have probably picked Brian Ortega had he still been in against Korean Zombie -- which is to say that Ortega would’ve been down 40-36 on the scorecards before guillotining TKZ with six seconds left in the fight. Edgar is hardly washed up or even that particularly faded, but I think the nearly 2020 version of him does not match up well against the sharp counterpunching of Jun. This fight will be determined almost entirely on the (eroding) effectiveness of Edgar’s wrestling, because I cannot see him going up to 25 minutes without eating a massive shot from TKZ that puts him down and possibly out. On the flip side, TKZ is hardly unhittable and Edgar is still pretty fast, but he historically lacks really big fight-ending or fight-changing power, so as long as TKZ’s takedown defense is on point then I’ve got to go with Chan Sung Jung by KO, round 3.
Staff picking Jung: Dayne, Mookie, Phil
Staff picking Edgar: Stephie, Shak
Volkan Oezdemir vs. Aleksandar Rakic
Mookie Alexander: I’m picking Oezdemir but Phil is obviously here in the predictions to downplay the idea of any light heavyweight prospect actually being any odd. I believe Rakic is good but that Oezdemir has improved significantly. He’s pacing himself better and isn’t resorting to swinging wild haymakers early and gassing himself out in an instant. His durability doesn’t appear to be an issue, and there’s no denying that he has knockout power. As much as it pains me to say it, his destruction of Ilir Latifi greatly changed my opinion of him and his abilities. Rakic has power and athleticism, along with a steadily improving wrestling and grappling game. Where I have pause is how he reacts to clean shots, as Devin Clark nearly knocked him out a couple of fights ago with a left hook. I’ll go with this new version of “No Time” to get a big time win. Volkan Oezdemir by KO, round 2.
Phil Mackenzie: The main question is still “is Aleksandar Rakic actually good?” as opposed to just, y’know, athletic and dynamic with a decent finishing skillset. Which is very difficult to actually parse out from being good at light heavyweight. While a dextrous and clever kicker, Rakic does not seem to have much defense in the pocket and seems to duck out of dodge or just swing wild when closed down. Oezdemir has gotten a lot more patient and controlled in recent years, and does very good work near the fence. Volkan Oezdemir by TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Oezdemir: Stephie, Mookie, Phil, Shak
Staff picking Rakic: Dayne
Doo Ho Choi vs. Charles Jourdain
Mookie Alexander: Jourdain is a really fun, kinda wild fighter whose style unfortunately (for him) plays directly into Korean Superboy’s very heavy hands. I’m just glad that Doo Ho Choi is fighting again, as it’s been too damn long. Doo Ho Choi by KO, round 1.
Phil Mackenzie: Jourdain ran into a lot of straight shots and clean counters from Des Green, and was able to shuck them off because it was Des Green. Korean Superboy has similar counterpunching skill but a good deal more power. Doo Ho Choi by TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Choi: Dayne, Stephie, Mookie, Phil, Shak
Staff picking Jourdain:
Alexandre Pantoja vs. Matt Schnell
Mookie Alexander: First off, it’s bullshit that this is way down on the prelims. Schnell has been on a hell of a run after suffering some brutal knockouts at bantamweight. He’s got a wicked submission game off of his back, but is that really going to work against a slick grappler and scrambler like Pantoja, who is miles ahead of everyone Schnell has beaten? I think that’ll be very difficult for him to pull off, and Pantoja shouldn’t have athletic and physical disadvantages like he did vs. Deiveson Figueiredo. Pantoja has the more well-rounded skill set and his power isn’t something to scoff at. Alexandre Pantoja by unanimous decision.
Phil Mackenzie: Schnell will have to walk a tightrope here. While it’s plausible that he can fight an outside striking game on Pantoja, and perhaps sprinkle in judicious takedowns, Pantoja is far tougher and a mean counterpuncher with a nose for a brawl. The ground game is also fairly risky as Pantoja is a strong scrambler and wrestler in his own right. In general I just think Schnell is too comparatively frail, but this should be great fun. Alexandre Pantoja by TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Pantoja: Dayne, Stephie, Mookie, Phil, Shak
Staff picking Schnell:
Cyril Gane vs. Tanner Boser
Mookie Alexander: Boser is tough but he’s going to be at a ridiculous athletic disadvantage. Gane is just more skilled virtually everywhere. Cyril Gane by TKO, round 1.
Phil Mackenzie: Made to give Gane a big finish on a main card. Tanner might be too tough for that to happen, but it’s also hard to see him finding a way to actually win. Cyril Gane by TKO, round 1.
Staff picking Gane: Dayne, Stephie, Mookie, Phil, Shak
Staff picking Boser:
Rest of the card
Da Un Jung vs. Mike Rodriguez
Staff picking Jung:
Staff picking Rodriguez: Dayne, Stephie, Mookie, Phil, Shak
Jun Yong Park vs. Marc-Andre Barriault
Staff picking Park:
Staff picking Barriault: Dayne, Stephie, Mookie, Phil, Shak
Kyung Ho Kang vs. Ling Pingyuan
Staff picking Kang: Dayne, Stephie, Mookie, Phil, Shak
Staff picking Pingyuan:
Seung Woo Choi vs. Suman Mokhtarian
Staff picking Choi: Dayne, Stephie, Mookie, Shak, Phil
Staff picking Mokhtarian:
Dong Hyun Ma vs. Omar Antonio Morales Ferrer
Staff picking Ma: Mookie
Staff picking Ferrer: Dayne, Stephie, Shak, Phil
Raoni Barcelos vs. Said Nurmagomedov
Staff picking Barcelos: Dayne, Stephie, Mookie, Shak
Staff picking Nurmagomedov: Phil
Miranda Granger vs. Amanda Lemos
Staff picking Granger: Dayne, Stephie, Mookie, Shak
Staff picking Lemos:
Alateng Heili vs. Ryan Benoit
Staff picking Heili: Dayne, Stephie, Mookie, Shak, Phil
Staff picking Benoit:
This poll is closed
Chan Sung Jung