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UFC Vegas 29: Korean Zombie vs. Ige staff picks and predictions

Check out the Bloody Elbow staff’s picks and predictions for Saturday’s UFC Vegas 29 card.

The Bloody Elbow staff has made its predictions for UFC Vegas 29, and the belief by the majority is that Chan Sung Jung, aka The Korean Zombie will get back on track with a main event win over Dan Ige. In the co-main everyone believes Sergey Spivak will take care of Aleksei Oleinik.

Chan Sung Jung vs. Dan Ige

Mookie Alexander: This feels like a fight Korean Zombie should win. He’s the more technical, quicker, more potent striker and his grappling isn’t to be slept on. And yet I just can’t shake off how terrible he looked against Brian Ortega. Not to take away from Ortega’s own improvements but TKZ looked a step slow and befuddled. Ige is nothing if not tough and he’s willing to throw down even if it’s to his own detriment. I’m wondering a bit about whether TKZ’s durability and his comments this week about not wanting to be in all of these main events is worrisome. Ige has some issues with consistent round-to-round activity but it gives me the sense that if he can weather the early storm when TKZ is at his most dangerous, he might have more left in the tank to wear TKZ down and pull off a signature W. Dan Ige by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: The questions about Korean Zombie haven’t really changed since 2013. Is he a diminished version of the power-punching wild man he once was? Is he too much of a brawler to handle the division’s more technical strikers? Is his once legendary chin starting to crack? To this point though, I don’t know that we are any closer to an answer than we ever were. A last second miracle KO loss to Yair Rodriguez and a clear out-classing by the best ever version of Brian Ortega were both definitive results. But, is Dan Ige prepared to put on the kind of technical showcase that Ortega created? Is his recent KO win a sign that he’s finally starting to translate his brawling power into a fight finishing style? Gavin Tucker ain’t exactly TKZ. All of which is to say I just don’t trust Ige enough to this point. His past cardio struggles, his inconsistent finishing instincts, his tendency to trade in the pocket, all seem set up to be the kind of fight Chan Sung Jung wins. If he loses this one, maybe it’s time to start worrying a bit more about where he’s at in the current featherweight landscape. Chan Sung Jung via KO, round 2.

Staff picking Jung: Dayne, Phil, Zane, Connor
Staff picking Ige: Stephie, Mookie

Aleksei Oleinik vs. Sergey Spivak

Mookie Alexander: I’m sure Oleinik has one last “wins by weird choke no one else uses” performance in him but probably not in the UFC. He’s getting beaten up badly and while Spivak is not a particularly great striker, he has the athleticism advantage and isn’t 146 years old. Sergey Spivak by TKO, round 1.

Zane Simon: It may be both to Oleinik’s extreme benefit and extreme detriment that Sergey Spivak is not a very dangerous heavyweight. The ‘Polar Bear’ will very likely end up grappling with the ‘Boa Constrictor’ for the better part of three rounds, which should give the Russo-Ukranian veteran plenty of chances to pull out a slick submission win. But, to Spivak’s credit, as a fighter who doesn’t tend to be a dynamic powerhouse in the cage, he’s learned to survive without it. He’s big, he’s durable, and unlike a lot of the division, he seems to have a really solid gas tank. A couple years ago, I might have picked Oleinik anyway, just for pure wily craft. But at this point, I think he gets too tired too fast. Sergey Spivak by decision.

Staff picking Oleinik: Connor
Staff picking Spivak: Mookie, Dayne, Phil, Stephie, Zane

Julian Erosa vs. Seung Woo Choi

Mookie Alexander: Erosa looks reborn since returning to the UFC and Choi has gone from on the cusp of getting cut to a much more composed fighter who can stifle his opponent’s takedowns if necessary. I expect this to be a real banger in which both men have their moments, but Choi’s power and Erosa’s still suspect chin have me leaning towards Seung Woo Choi by TKO, round 2.

Zane Simon: If Seung Woo Choi can pressure and stay controlled, then he’s got exactly the kind of sharp, rangy striking that can give Erosa hell. But, While Zalal gave the Korean every opportunity he needed to stay on his front foot and be the longer man in the cage, Erosa is a much, much more dedicated pressure fighter himself. Seung Woo still hasn’t found the finishing instincts in the Octagon that made him a regional hot prospect. And if he’s not going to knock Erosa out, then I have to pick ‘Juicy-J’ to be the busier, craftier fighter over three rounds. Julian Erosa by decision.

Staff picking Erosa: Phil, Stephie, Zane, Connor
Staff picking Choi: Mookie, Dayne

Marlon Vera vs. Davey Grant

Mookie Alexander: Where did KO artist Davey Grant come from? Anyway, both men have improved considerably from their first meeting (which Grant won by decision). Vera remains a slow starter but he’s a threat everywhere thanks to his brutal kicks, fast combinations, and active guard. Grant has largely been known for his ground game until recent times so his consecutive KOs in two outings has been a hell of a development. Still think that Vera’s hands and ability to punish people with ground-and-pound will play the biggest role in the rematch. Marlon Vera by TKO, round 3.

Zane Simon: Grant’s ropy, awkward power has a real opportunity to make this a tough fight on Vera again, if he can convince Vera to try his luck grappling with the Brit instead of keeping things standing. However, Vera seems like a much, much more confident, higher output, pressuring, and controlling fighter than he was when these two fought way back in 2016. His low kicks, brutal clinch game, and building front foot style have given even some elite talents a real challenge. Vera can still be stymied by the athletic elite at 135, but I just don’t think that’s Grant. Marlon Vera via decision.

Staff picking Vera: Mookie, Dayne, Phil, Zane, Connor
Staff picking Grant: Stephie

Bruno Silva vs. Wellington Turman

Mookie Alexander: Apparently this isn’t the Bruno Silva who bored everyone to tears years ago. No, this is a different Bruno Silva who was signed two years ago but got USADA’d. I back Turman’s wrestling to get him through to victory. Wellington Turman by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: I just don’t like Turman’s body language or decision making in the cage. I’m not convinced at all as to how Silva will show up after USADA and a couple years off. But if he’s anything like the constantly aggressive buzz saw who picked up some shocking wins in M-1, I’ll bank on his success over the guy who got shellacked standing by Andrew Sanchez, and couldn’t out-grapple Karl Roberson. Bruno Silva via TKO, round 1.

Staff picking Silva: Zane, Connor
Staff picking Turman: Mookie, Dayne, Stephie, Mookie

Matt Brown vs. Dhiego Lima

Mookie Alexander: There’s still always that lingering feeling that Lima’s chin hasn’t magically gotten better and that Brown can still deliver some damage. Brown has underrated grappling and wrestling but I don’t think this version of Lima will have problems with that. Add in Brown’s durability is going on him and I just feel like Lima will get the W. Dhiego Lima by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: Kinda like the Oleinik/Spivak fight above, a few years back and I’d lean Brown all day every day. But, at this point, he seems to have one really good charge in him before his gas tank starts to flag. And while versions of Lima in the past have folded under both power punching and wrestling attacks, his current iteration seems to struggle more with pace than anything else. And if Brown can’t push that, then I think Lima can ride out the early surge. Hopefully for the decision or maybe a submission off a sprawl, rather than his own TKO. Dhiego Lima via submission, round 3.

Staff picking Brown:
Staff picking Lima: Mookie, Dayne, Stephie, Zane, Connor

Poll

Who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    Korean Zombie
    (406 votes)
  • 33%
    Dan Ige
    (200 votes)
606 votes total Vote Now