Saturday’s UFC Fight Night event in Busan, South Korea, is about as good as it gets. So, don’t let it fly beneath your radar just because the main card starts at 5 a.m. ET.
Former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar (23-7-1) takes on former title-challenger Chan Sung Jung (15-5) and it’s about as elite of a veteran contender bout as one can think of in the world of MMA right now. The stakes are certainly high as either man might be able to lay claim to another title shot should they win.
Beyond that, the fight is closely matched and hard to call. From where this writer sits, both men are capable of winning.
To preview the card’s main event we look at some of Edgar and Sung Jung’s strengths and tendencies in several key broad areas. Read on and stay with us Saturday morning for coverage of the bout.
Jung and Edgar both have phenomenal boxing for MMA. They throw punches in combination and use footwork and head movement well for defensive purposes.
This is true for both men but Jung is particularly good at being able to either lead the dance or counter his opponent’s initiations. In either case he is capable of catching opponents off-guard and ending a fight.
When opponents get within is rangy reach and don’t do something worth respecting, Sung Jung often meets their head with a right punch that is usually followed immediately with a left hook to the other side of the noggin’. When opponents decides to punch first, Jung is excellent at slipping the punches to either side and throwing his own counter punch combination in the same instant.
Edgar also does a great job of using lead rear (right) hand attacks and then following them up with hooks. Edgar has a particularly good lead rear uppercut (and his lead uppercut isn’t anything to scoff at, either). Edgar also often does some of his best work on the inside, hitting both the body and head.
He will be at risk in that comfort range of his if he doesn’t immediately make Jung uncomfortable, due to the South Korean’s great timing on his right hand. Edgar moves in and out of range well, typically, but he has to to try and make sure he doesn’t move straight in on Jung unless it’s behind convincing strikes and feints, which might be a challenge for him with his reach.
The pair’s hand speed appear to be similar though Edgar might move laterally and angle-off with his feet better. For his part, Jung may have the punching power advantage.
Edgar is an excellent striker but he’ll have his best chances at dominating if his punches set up takedown attempts and he can get Jung to the mat over and again. Jung will need to trust his punches and let them fly and hope that his wrestling work will have his hips ready to defend if and when Edgar shoots in on him. If Jung over anticipates the shots from Edgar he might become overly cautious, cutting down on his own ability to do damage, and he might also be overly susceptible to strikes if Edgar sees a fearful reaction to level-change feints and decides to fake those shots into punches or kicks.
Edgar has what it takes to take Jung down. The hometown fighter will just need to do damage on the way in, make Edgar work for those takedowns, and work up to his feet.
Both men are capable of delivering nasty ground shots from on top. Edgar traps same-side arms well and has great elbow strikes.
Jung is precise and aggressive with both limbs striking down on opponents, especially after he’s hurt them on the feet and is looking for a finish. Edgar has excellent mat wrestling and great front head control, even capable of threatening with front chokes.
Jung is a superb submission fighter from both his back and when he has dominant positions on opponents.
It’s impossible to tell in advance which man has superior conditioning. Neither has shown any particular weakness there.
To the contrary, both “The Answer” and “The Korean Zombie” are renowned for their ability to keep fighting effectively even while exhausted and having sustained damage to the brain in bouts. So, they seem evenly matched in this category from what we’ve seen.
Edgar does have more five-round experience, however, and might be more capable of staying a bit more busy with volume offensive attempts down the stretch. Still, don’t expect either man to give in, no matter how long the fight goes or how hard it gets.
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