Brian Ortega puts on a striking masterclass to outpoint The Korean Zombie in Abu Dhabi
Ortega was making his return to the octagon following an almost two-year hiatus. The last time he fought, he suffered his first professional loss as he suffered a savage beating at the hands of Max Holloway in a failed attempt to win the featherweight title.
From the outset here, it was clear that Ortega had spent the time off wisely. Jung came into this bout having secured back-to-back first-round TKO finishes in his last two. He is widely viewed as one of the best strikers in the division, but Ortega dominated on the feet in each of the five rounds.
He established the jab brilliantly in the first, while both fighters landed some big kicks to the lead leg. Working from the southpaw stance, Ortega landed a clean right hook and looked light on his feet, stunning Jung with around a minute to go in the round.
Jung threw some strong counters in the second and landed a beautiful uppercut through the guard of Ortega. Both fighters continued to find joy with some heavy leg kicks while ‘T-City’ landed a stinging kick to the body of The Korean Zombie.
Then came one of the biggest moments of the fight. Another leg kick landed for Ortega before a beautiful spinning back elbow dropped the Korean to the canvas. Jung found his way back to his feet but was soon taken down as Ortega finished the round dropping shots from the top position.
The #1 contender continued to show excellent variation with his shots in the corresponding rounds as Jung struggled to find answers. The Ortega jab was impressive throughout, managing the distance between the pair as he cracked Jung with a slick left cross in the third. In the fourth round Ortega went for a single leg and landed a short, strong right hand. The pair appeared to clash heads with Jung left dripping with blood. After a brief hiatus, the action continued.
In the fifth round Ortega still oozed confidence and looked full of energy. The snapping jab setting up the left hand as well as some explosive shots to the body. The range of strikes kept Jung guessing and at one stage Ortega even sought to drag the lead leg into a short elbow. It was a special performance from Ortega whose striking has clearly improved exponentially since his last outing.
With Jung down clearly down on the scorecards he would have required an unlikely finish to claw back the result, but it never came. All three judges scored it 50-45 and the unanimous decision victory takes Ortega’s record to 15-1 and earns him another shot at the title at 145lbs.
"I understand you leave the game for two years and you get counted out, but I'm here to remind everyone."@BrianTCity saw the changes he made turn into success and feels ready to challenge for the featherweight title once again.#UFCFightIsland6 | #InAbuDhabi | @VisitAbuDhabi pic.twitter.com/XPVwze9f7N
— UFC News (@UFCNews) October 18, 2020
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Elsewhere, it was far from a dream debut for the Mark Striegl. The URCC featherweight champion was finished via TKO after just 51 seconds by Said Nurmagomedov. The Russian dropped him with a short counter left hand before finishing with him with a savage onslaught of ground and pound. The loss snaps a four-fight winning streak for the Fil-Am fighter and his record slips to 18-3.
It was a much more positive outing for Park Jun Yong as he bullied John Phillips to win a one-sided unanimous decision at middleweight.
The Korean controlled Phillips for 13 minutes and 11 seconds of the 15-minute fight. He peppered Phillips with shots throughout the contest and only absorbed five significant strikes himself.
Park landed a jaw-dropping 258 ground strikes in total to break Matt Riddle’s previous record of 251 ground strikes landed for a three-round match. Riddle had held the record for 11 years. It was a statement win for the 29-year-old who takes his record to 12-4.