UFC Fight Night Report: The Korean Zombie defeats Dan Ige
By: Eric Marcotte
On Saturday evening, the UFC held a Fight Night event at the Apex Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event was headlined by a bout between featherweight contenders Dan Ige and “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung. The Korean Zombie lost his last fight in a decisive fashion to Brian Ortega, but he remains a top contender in the division and looked to rebound with a strong win here against Dan Ige. In direct contrast to Jung, Ige came into this fight off of what was perhaps the most impressive performance of his career thus far, a twenty-two-second knockout of Gavin Tucker. Ige and Zombie are widely regarded as two of the most exciting fighters in the division today, and this was a fight that was almost guaranteed to entertain. In the co-main event, Alexey Oleinik faced Sergey Spivak, in what marked Oleinik’s 76th professional fight.
The commentary team for this card consisted of Jon Anik, Dominick Cruz, and Michael Bisping. Performance of the Night bonuses went out to Matt Brown and Seung Woo Choi. Fight of the Night honors was awarded to Marlon Vera and Davey Grant.
*Casey O’Neill def. Lara Procopio by rear-naked choke at 2:54 of Round 3
*Ricky Glenn def. Joaquim Silva by KO at 0:37 of Round 1
*Josh Parisian def. Roque Martinez by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
*Khaos Williams def. Matthew Semelsberger unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
*Virna Jandiroba def. Kanako Murata by TKO at 5:00 of Round 2
*Nicolae Negumereanu def. Aleksa Camur by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
*Matt Brown def. Dhiego Lima by KO at 3:02 of Round 2
*Bruno Silva def. Wellington Turman by KO at 4:45 of Round 1
*Seung Woo Choi def. Julian Erosa by TKO at 1:37 of Round 1
*Marlon Vera def. Davey Grant by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 30-26)
*Sergey Spivak def. Alexey Oleinik by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*The Korean Zombie def. Dan Ige by unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46)
CASEY O’NEILL (6-0, 125.5) VS LARA PROCOPIO (7-1, 126) – FLYWEIGHT
Procopio snapped O’Neill’s head back with a straight right hand, just past the one-minute mark of the opening round. Both fighters landed hard knees in the clinch before Procopio successfully dragged O’Neill to the ground. O’Neill was able to escape to her feet quickly but spent the majority of the final minute with her back to the cage. 10-9 Procopio.
O’Neill began the second round aggressively, but that allowed Procopio to take the fight down while O’Neill was off balance. O’Neill was very active off of her back, and she was able to stand back up, before stuffing a takedown attempt from Procopio. Procopio was getting overwhelmed by O’Neill’s activity, and ending up spending a large portion of the round with O’Neill throwing down ground and pound strikes from top position. 19-19.
O’Neill was able to trap Procopio in a rear crucifix and threw right hands until Procopio fully gave up her back. O’Neill was able to sink in a rear-naked choke as Procopio attempted to stand up, and choked her unconscious.
WINNER: Casey O’Neill by rear-naked choke at 2:54 of Round 3
Procopio looked noticeably stronger (to me) in the opening round, and I was unsure as to how O’Neill was going to overcome that disadvantage. By the time the second round began, however, it looked like a completely different fight. O’Neill looked very competent on the ground, and the final eight minutes of this fight were all O’Neill. She is now 2-0 in the UFC and has certainly looked impressive thus far into her run in the promotion.
JOAQUIM SILVA (11-2, 154.5) VS RICKY GLENN (21-6-1, 156) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Glenn almost immediately dropped Silva with a right hand, and he just kept pouring them on until the fight was stopped, less than a minute into the first round.
WINNER: Ricky Glenn by KO at 0:37 of Round 1
Silva rushed Glenn to begin the fight, and he paid for that aggression quickly. Glenn has been out of action since November of 2018, so this marked a fantastic return for Glenn, who recorded his first UFC finish with this knockout. Glenn improved to 4-3 in the UFC with this win.
JOSH PARISIAN (13-4, 266) VS ROQUE MARTINEZ (15-7-2, 249) – HEAVYWEIGHT
Martinez pressured Parisian into the cage, negating Parisian’s reach advantage. Both men landed heavy punches on the separation, and Parisian was cut open by one of Martinez’s blows. Martinez began to let loose with a series of uppercuts, but Parisian’s chin held up, and he seemed to be in good condition by the end of the round. 10-9 Parisian.
In the second round, it was Parisian who brought Martinez to the fence. Martinez was more active with his offense, but his positioning didn’t allow for particularly effective strikes. Eventually, they were separated after an inadvertent knee to the groin from Parisian. Parisian was beginning to take control of this fight on the feet, but almost got caught in a standing guillotine by Martinez in the final minute of the round. 19-19 on my scorecard regardless.
Both men came out swinging to begin the final round. It was Martinez who was packing a bit more power behind his punches, and a trio of right hands appeared to hurt Parisian. Parisian clinched Martinez up to relieve the pressure and attempted a takedown to no success. Parisian was kneed low, and we had another pause in the action with a minute left in the fight. This final round was close, but I ultimately gave the round to Martinez. 29-28 Martinez.
WINNER: Josh Parisian by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
To me, it seemed as though Martinez was doing significantly more damage throughout the fight. The final round was close, but I was still somewhat surprised to see Parisian get his arm raised here. It was certainly a tough break for Martinez, who fell to 0-3 in the UFC with this loss. Regardless, this was a big win for Parisian, as this marked his first win in the UFC. He is now 1-1 in the promotion.
KHAOS WILLIAMS (11-2, 169) VS MATTHEW SEMELSBERGER (8-2, 170) – WELTERWEIGHT
Williams swarmed Semelsberger with a ferocious pace in the opening minute. Semelsberger was cut open on the bridge of his nose, and it almost looked as though his legs were on the verge of giving out from under him at one point, but he was able to buy some recovery time in the clinch against the cage. Semelsberger landed a strong counter left hand after they separated. The remainder of the round was rather even on the feet, so Semelsberger definitely rebounded, but not enough to steal him the round. 10-9 Williams.
They continued to trade heavy hands in the second round. Semelsberger’s best weapon was his counter right hand, but he was having trouble setting up his own offense, which allowed Williams to pull ahead in terms of activity. Williams counters were strong as well, and despite some strong shots from Semelsberger, I scored this round for Williams.
Williams was the more active fighter all fight, but it felt as though he had really stifled Semelsberger’s most effective offense in the third round. He continuously attacked Semelsberger’s lead leg and countered strongly with his right hand. This was a competitive fight, but I thought Williams did more than enough to earn the decision. 30-27 Williams.
WINNER: Khaos Williams by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
This was a pretty entertaining fight between two heavy hitters. Williams seemed to be the more confident fighter moving forwards, and I think that was the difference-maker in this fight. Williams improved to 3-1 in the UFC with this win, and Jon Anik was talking about the possibility of Khaos fighting a ranked fighter in his next bout.
KANAKO MURATA (12-1, 114.5) VS VIRNA JANDIROBA (16-2, 115) – STRAWWEIGHT
Jandiroba was tagging Murata with right hands throughout the first minute of the fight. She pulled guard on Murata later in the round and attempted an armbar, but she didn’t really have the positioning to secure it initially. Jandiroba readjusted it, and this one was significantly closer, but Murata defended the attempt well. 10-9 Jandiroba.
Jandiroba had a significant edge in the striking department, and Murata’s face was beginning to swell up from the damage done. The commentary team speculated that there was something wrong with Murata’s left arm (the arm in the aforementioned armbar), and that appeared to be accurate, as Murata was just sort of letting her arm dangle to her side as she was eating numerous shots. This fight was quickly turning into a beatdown. 20-18 Jandiroba.
The fight was stopped due to Murata’s arm injury between rounds.
WINNER: Virna Jandiroba by TKO at 5:00 of Round 2
Murata was devastated by the result, but she showed a lot of heart throughout that second round. Jandiroba has largely impressed since debuting in the UFC two years ago, but this may have been her most impressive performance to date. She was aggressive on her feet, and her extremely high-level jiu-jitsu allowed her to go on the attack without the fear of a takedown. It’s a style that somewhat reminds me of Fabricio Werdum at his best, although Jandiroba is not nearly as wild offensively. She is now 3-2 in the UFC, and I imagine she will return to facing fellow ranked strawweights after this one.
ALEKSA CAMUR (6-1, 204.5) VS NICOLAE NEGUMEREANU (9-1, 205.5) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
A strong jab landed for Camur to begin the fight. Negumereanu was countering well, but Camur was really mixing up his attack and showcased some impressive movement. Negumereanu began to tag Camur with some solid right hands, and he proceeded to take Camur down near the cage. Camur picked himself up, and these guys just swung wild shots for the remainder of the round. 10-9 Negumereanu.
Camur wound up and landed a pair of powerful right hands early in the second round, and Negumereanu just ate them. Referee Mike Beltran aggressively warned Negumereanu not to grab the fence, as they wrestled against the fence. They broke apart and struck for the final minute, resulting in a very close round. I narrowly scored this one for Camur, giving him the edge in damage. 19-19.
Negumereanu’s chin was something to behold here. Every time Camur threw, it felt as though he was swinging for the knockout, and Negumereanu just continued to eat those shots and kept swarming forward. Negumereanu got the hard warning for yet another fence grab in the final minute, but a point was not taken, and this one went the distance. 29-28 Negumereanu.
WINNER: Nicolae Negumereanu by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
It was a close fight, but ultimately, I think the judges got it right here. Negumereanu just had a bit more success and was often able to dictate the pace and location of the action. Mike Beltran’s choice to not take a point from Negumereanu was understandable, but I personally think a point deduction was warranted given the frequency of the offenses. This marked Negumereanu’s first UFC win, and he is now 1-1 in the promotion.
MATT BROWN (22-18, 170.5) VS DHIEGO LIMA (15-8, 171) – WELTERWEIGHT
Brown and Lima exchanged jabs and leg kicks to start this fight. As the round progressed, those leg kicks began to add up on both sides, although Lima’s appeared to be doing a bit more damage. Brown defended a late takedown attempt but ate a few more leg kicks before the end of the round.
Lima continued to beat up Matt Brown’s lead leg. Lima was looking for a takedown, but Brown’s takedown defense held up well. Just past the halfway point of the round, Brown threw a powerful right hand that caught Lima flush, and he faceplanted to the ground, unconscious.
WINNER: Matt Brown by KO at 3:02 of Round 2
“How’s that for forty?”. That’s what Brown said to the camera following this vicious knockout, the twelfth one of his UFC career. This knockout tied Brown for the all-time knockout record in the UFC (with Derrick Lewis and Vitor Belfort), and he is tied for third all-time in total UFC finishes as well. Brown has been one of the promotions most violent fighters for over a decade, and this ranks highly amongst his most vicious finishes.
WELLINGTON TURMAN (16-4, 185.5) VS BRUNO SILVA (19-6, 186) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
Turman nearly took Silva’s back in the opening minute but slipped off. Silva showcased a strong takedown defense, but he couldn’t keep Turman off of him, and Turman eventually climbed up his back once again. Silva shook him off and began to work from Turman’s guard, throwing down some strong ground and pound. He began to really pour it on as Turman attempted to work off of his back, and eventually knocked Turman unconscious.
WINNER: Bruno Silva by KO at 4:45 of Round 1
This was another brutal knockout. Once Silva began to throw down his ground and pound strikes, it felt as though he couldn’t miss. It wasn’t as though he was winding up on each punch, but you could see how strongly each one was landing. This marked Silva’s UFC debut, and he is currently on a five-fight win streak.
JULIAN EROSA (25-8, 155) VS SEUNG WOO CHOI (8-0, 156) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Choi’s hand-speed was ridiculous, and Erosa was having difficulties avoiding Choi’s quick combinations. It didn’t take long for Choi to catch Erosa with a lightning-quick left hook that put him down, and Choi finished the fight with strong ground and pound.
WINNER: Seung Woo Choi by TKO at 1:37 of Round 1
Wow. This was our third consecutive vicious knockout to open up this main card. While perhaps not quite as brutal as the previous two, this one wasn’t far off, and the hand-speed that Choi showcased throughout the fight was remarkable. After starting his UFC run 0-2, Choi has won his last three fights, and this was the type of finish that will keep his name in fan’s minds.
MARLON VERA (16-7-1, 136) VS DAVEY GRANT (13-4, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT
This was a rematch of a fight from February of 2016 that Grand won by unanimous decision.
Both fighters were as active as you would expect from these two throughout the first round. Grant looked very confident on the feet, swinging hard with every combination. Vera caught a kick from Grant and took him to the ground, and while he didn’t keep him there for long, Vera caught Grant with a knee to the head that busted him open. Vera landed numerous leg kicks, something that would certainly add up as the fight progressed. 10-9 Grant on my scorecard.
Grant was beginning to react poorly to Vera’s leg kicks. Grant continued to throw with power, but it was Vera who opened up another cut on Grant’s forehead after landing numerous elbows. Grant was starting to look a bit rough, but Grant was able to take the fight to the ground to relieve the pressure. Vera was active off of his back and eventually moved into top position. Vera ended the round with ground and pound strikes. 19-19.
Grant shot for a takedown to begin the third round. Vera sprawled and took Grant’s back. Grant was in a rough position on the ground, but he managed to escape to his feet, and still had it him to throw some heavy strikes. Vera knew Grant was tired and hurt though, and he swarmed him with strikes, overwhelming him on the feet before taking him back down. With time running out in the round, Vera committed to a rear-naked choke, but Grant survived, and this one went the distance. 29-27 Vera.
WINNER: Marlon Vera by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 30-26)
This was a tremendous fight. Grant started out strongly, but as the fight progressed, Vera began to take over and ultimately earned himself a 10-8 round in the third. Both the grappling and the striking were very entertaining here, and Grant’s durability, as well as his submission defense, were remarkable. With this win, Vera evened the score with Grant and called out Dominick Cruz in his post-fight interview.
ALEXEY OLEINIK (59-15-1, 228) VS SERGEY SPIVAK (12-2, 242) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Spivak did his best to circle away from Oleinik’s attempts to engage him in the clinch. He was able to defend Oleinik’s takedown attempts, and counter strongly when the opportunities presented themselves. With a minute remaining in the round, Oleinik dragged Spivak to the ground and moved into top mount. Spivak kept Oleinik from doing too much damage and made it out of the round. 10-9 Oleinik.
Oleinik pulled guard just over a minute into the second round. Oleinik wasn’t able to make much happen off of his back, and despite moving into top position with thirty seconds remaining and threatening a submission, I thought it was too little too late for Oleinik to take this round on the scorecards. 19-19.
The final round was largely a brawl, with Spivak getting the better of their exchanges. Olenik was cut open from one of Spivak’s punches and was bleeding heavily from his forehead. Oleinik did his best to take the fight to the ground, but Spivak was able to defend his attempt, and secure the remainder of the round from top position. 29-28 Spivak.
WINNER: Sergey Spivak by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
Oleinik certainly still has some fight left in him, but Spivak was able to outstrike him on the feet, defend the majority of his takedown attempts, and do the more significant damage throughout the fight. Oleinik has now lost his last three fights, and it seems probable that the 43-year-old is nearing the end of his run in the UFC. As for Spivak, this was the most significant win of his UFC run thus far, and he is now 4-3 in the promotion.
THE KOREAN ZOMBIE (16-6, 146) VS DAN IGE (15-3, 146) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Ige was landing some strong counters to the head and body early. Zombie changed levels, took Ige down, and began to work from top position. Ige exploded back to his feet, but ate a hard right hand. Ige returned fire and landed a solid combination before the end of the round. Close round. 10-9 Ige.
Zombie knocked Ige down moments into the second round, but Ige recovered almost instantaneously. Ige was still having success with his combinations, but Zombie’s counters were well-timed and stronger this round. Ige shot for a takedown after eating some hard shots, but the attempt was defended. Zombie landed a heavy calf kick and defended another takedown attempt. Zombie responded with a takedown of his own, taking Ige’s back to end the round. 19-19.
Zombie was cut open above his left eye by an inadvertent headbutt near the end of the last round. He quickly took Ige down to begin the third round and began to work from his guard. He was able to transition to Ige’s back again, resuming his search for a rear-naked choke. Zombie wasn’t able to get the finish but clearly won this round with his grappling. 29-28 Zombie.
Ige was able to keep the fight on the feet in the fourth round, finding success by returning to his body shots. Zombie continued to counter with his left hand, but Ige was fighting with a lot of urgencies after being told he was in need of a finish by his corner. Zombie was able to take Ige back down following a head kick attempt from Ige, and controlled the remainder of what was a very close round. 38-38 on my scorecard, but there was a decent chance that The Korean Zombie was ahead on the official scorecards going into the fifth round, as both the rounds I scored for Ige were razor close.
Going to the body was opening up some strong attacks for Ige, forcing Jung to shoot for a takedown after eating some heavy punches. They reached a bit of a stalemate grappling against the cage, but a knee to the head from Zombie allowed him to take the fight back down, and he took Ige’s back yet again. Zombie controlled the remainder of the round from Ige’s back, and I scored this fight 48-47 in his favor.
WINNER: The Korean Zombie by unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46)
Unsurprisingly, this was a fun fight. You know what to expect with The Korean Zombie, and Ige brought the fight to him for twenty-five minutes. The difference-maker in this fight was The Korean Zombie’s grappling, allowing him to take the fight to the ground (and keep it there), whenever he chose. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Zombie’s grappling, but there is a reason why not many fighters engage him on the ground. Notably, this marked only the second time since 2011 that The Korean Zombie has had two fights in a single calendar year, and if he stays healthy, it’s very possible that we’ll see him for a third time later this year. As far as his next opponent is concerned, there is no shortage of directions to go in. A rematch with Yair Rodriguez, a fight against Max Holloway, and championship bout against Alexander Volkanovski, or even fighting down in the rankings against a guy like Edson Barboza would result in fireworks.