UFC Busan: Edgar vs. The Korean Zombie Preview
A preview of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card, set to take place in South Korea.
Updated: Dec. 19, 2019 • 3:47 PM ET
Frankie Edgar (left) is looking to shine on Saturday after losing his last fight.
The UFC will invade South Korea for just the second time in company history this Saturday with a main event featuring a featherweight bout between two legends of the sport, No. 4 Frankie Edgar and No. 6 Chang Sung Jung.
Edgar was scheduled to face rising contender Cory Sandhagen at bantamweight in January, but he gladly accepted the opportunity to fight Jung when Brian Ortega pulled out of the fight with Jung with a knee injury earlier this month.
While people have wondered why the 38-year-old Edgar would take a short notice fight on the other side of the world, Edgar thinks it’s a great opportunity.
“I heard that [Brian] Ortega was hurt and I went to my team and I touched base and I said if you need someone, I’m available,” Edgar told MMA Fighting. “I feel like I was ready. My team liked the fight.
“Lately, I’m just about experiences, and this is a good experience to have in my life. I’ve done a lot in this career. I’ve never taken a fight on two weeks’ notice across the country, so why not add that to the repertoire.”
Edgar was scheduled to fight Jung last year, but had to drop from the fight with an injury. However, he feels like he is still prepared for “The Korean Zombie.”
“It played a part,” Edgar said. “I felt like we were very familiar with him. We were so close to fighting just a year ago, so it wasn’t that far off.
“We were supposed to fight and I want to right that wrong.”
Edgar is coming off a loss to Max Holloway for the featherweight title at UFC 240 in July. The former lightweight champion is 3-3 in his last six fights with the other losses coming to Jose Aldo and Ortega. In his career, the future Hall of Famer has key victories over Cub Swanson (twice), Yair Rodriguez, Jeremy Stephens, Chad Mendes, Urijah Faber, B.J. Penn (thrice), Charles Oliveira, Gray Maynard, Sean Sherk and Jim Miller.
He’s still expected to fight Sandhagen in January, but is focused on Jung for the moment.
“Right now, I really don’t want to think about Cory,” Edgar said. “I think I’ve got to worry about the Zombie, first and foremost. I mean, hey, I’ll never say die.
“If it works out, we’ll see what happens, but the test in front of me is no joke. I know it will be a great fight with him. That’s first and foremost. There’s no gimmes in this sport, especially a guy like “The Korean Zombie” with his fighting style. I’m expecting a war. I’m preparing for a war. That’s the kind of fighter I am. I can’t think about January right now. I’ve got to worry about Dec. 21. That’s what’s on my mind.”
Jung is coming off a vicious, first-round TKO victory over Renato Moicano in June. The win was a big rebound after losing to Rodriguez in the last second of their 2018 bout, one of the best fights of the year and arguably one of the greatest knockouts in UFC history.
The 32-year-old Jung challenged Aldo for the title in 2013, but lost in the fourth round by TKO. He didn’t fight in the UFC again until 2017 due to serving mandatory military service in his native South Korea. His return to the Octagon was successful against Dennis Bermudez, winning by first-round knockout.
Including Moicano and Bermudez, The Korean Zombie has key victories in his career over Dustin Poirier, Mark Hominick and Leonard Garcia. A win over Edgar would put him in a great position to go on one more run at the title. Although a few fighters would be ahead of him in the title shot line, he could be just one win away from another title opportunity with the belt changing hands last weekend.
Saturday’s co-main event will be a light heavyweight fight between No. 8 Volkan Oezdemir and No. 10 Aleksandar Rakic.
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Following three straight losses to Daniel Cormier, Anthony Smith and Dominick Reyes, Oezdemir got a much-needed win in August when he knocked out Ilir Latifi in the second round. The Swiss fighter won his first three UFC fights en route to a title shot against Cormier at UFC 220 in 2018, but he lost the bout by second round TKO. The 30-year-old Oezdemir, however, is confident he will be victorious in Busan, South Korea.
“It’s definitely going to be an explosive fight,” Oezdemir told MMA Junkie. “Rakic is there. He’s putting a lot of pressure, a lot of intensity.
“In his fights, he completely out-strikes his opponents, puts a lot of pressure, like always going forward, and he loves to strike. I think he will try to be more subtle, and I will definitely put more pressure into the game. This is how I see the fight going.”
Rakic is 4-0 in the UFC and hasn’t lost a fight since his professional debut in 2011. He most recently defeated Manuwa in June with a first-round head kick, one of the best knockouts of 2019. The 27-year-old is expecting another outstanding result on Saturday.
“This next fight is the most important fight of my life,” Rakic told MMA Junkie. “Volkan is the perfect matchup for me. When I got the name Volkan Oezdemir, I was really, really happy – not because of anything personal, but because his style of fighting is very good for my style of fighting, and that’s the reason I’m so happy about this fight.”
The rest of the main card on ESPN+ at 5 a.m. EST
Featherweight bout - Dooho Choi vs. Charles Jourdain
Light heavyweight bout - Da Un Jung vs. Mike Rodriguez
Middleweight bout - Junyong Park vs. Marc-Andre Barriault
Bantamweight bout - Kyung Ho Kang vs. Liu Pingyuan
ESPN Prelims at 2 a.m. EST
Heavyweight bout - Ciryl Gane vs. Tanner Boser
Featherweight bout - Seungwoo Choi vs. Suman Mokhtarian
Lightweight bout - Dong Hyun Ma vs. Omar Antonio Morales Ferrer
Flyweight bout - No. 4 Alexandre Pantoja vs. No. 9 Matt Schnell
Bantamweight bout - Raoni Barcelos vs. Said Nurmagomedov
Women’s strawweight bout - Miranda Granger vs. Amanda Lemos
Bantamweight bout - Heili Alateng vs. No. 13 Ryan Benoit