Brian Ortega Returns With Dominant Win Over The Korean Zombie
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Brian Ortega marked a successful return to the octagon earning a dominant unanimous decision victory over the Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jung, in the headline event at UFC Fight Night on Fight Island, Abu Dahbi Saturday night.
This was Ortega’s first appearance since his December 8, 2018 loss to then flyweight champion Max Holloway, a devastating defeat that shocked the UFC world. Ortega dedicated himself to come back a better fighter, but given the long layoff and an opponent of the Zombie’s caliber there were certainly a number of questions to be answered heading into this tilt.
From the outset Ortega showed few signs of rust. Both fighters started cautiously, obviously respecting each other’s power but with just over a minute left Ortega caught a Zombie leg kick and countered with a left hook that sent TKZ to the canvas. The round was close but Ortega held a slight advantage.
The Zombie was enjoying a better second round until he was caught flush with a spectacular spinning elbow from Ortega, and again sent sprawling to the mat in a world of trouble with just over a minute left. He managed to survive but began the third round obviously still feeling the effects.
Ortega began to press the issue, picking the Zombie apart and dominating rounds three and four while holding an almost 2:1 advantage in significant strikes. A serious cut opened over the Zombie’s left eye midway through the fourth round, the result of an accidental clash of heads which only added to TKZ’s problems heading to the final five minutes. The Zombie fought gamely, but Ortega, showcasing a lightning quick jab, dispelled any doubts about whether he is a contender in the flyweight division. Ortega served notice - he’s back and a title fight with current champion Alexander Volkanovski is almost certainly forthcoming.
In the co-main event, former women’s strawweight champion Jessica Andrade made an impressive debut in the flyweight division, with a stunning first round tko victory over number one contender Katlyn Chookagian. Andrade’s power proved to be too much for her much taller opponent, the Brazilian landing a vicious right hand to the body that sent Chookagian crumpling to the canvas, bringing the fight to an end with six seconds left in the opening frame.
In other action from the main card, light heavyweight Jimmy Crute continued his ascent, with a devastating first round knockout victory over Modestas Bukauskas, improving his professional record to 12-1.
James Krause, often seen in the corner of highly regarded fighters, returned to the ring and looked sharp in a unanimous decision win over Claudio Silva in a welterweight scrap. With the win, Krause improved his record to 28-9 and snapped Silva’s fourteen fight winning streak.
In a hard fought featherweight bout, Jonathan Martinez defeated favoured Thomas Almeida via a unanimous decision. It was the first fight since January 2018 for Almeida and he acquitted himself well but Martinez, showing the power he is known for, was a deserving winner, improving his record to 13-3.
In the undercard, 15th ranked Canadian Gillian Robertson earned a unanimous decision over Poliana Botelho in a dominant performance in the women’s flyweight division. With the win the Niagara Falls, Ontario native has her sights set higher as she looks to continue her climb up the flyweight ladder.
The UFC returns next week with UFC 254, the headline event the much anticipated lightweight title fight between champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0) and Justin Gaethje (22-2).