Yair Rodriguez pulls off historic finish against Jung Chan-Sung
Yair Rodriguez inscribes his name in the history books.
Even though both featherweight contenders were coming off extremely long layoffs, it was Yair Rodriguez who flatlined Jung Chan-Sung with an unseen elbow strike in the Octagon.
The 25th anniversary event for the UFC in Denver was originally supposed to be headlined by Frankie Edgar and Jung Chan-Sung. However, the former lightweight champion suffered an injury with less than two weeks left and pulled out.
The promoters frantically searched for a proper replacement. Many turned down the opportunity on short-notice yet one man south of the border stepped up.
The theme of the fight was the diverse attacks of Rodriguez versus the forward pressure of Jung’s fists.
The first round played out mostly in the center of the cage with Rodriguez working leg kicks and stiff jabs. Meanwhile, Jung mostly bum-rushed with his boxing and clinched when necessary. The highlight of the round was when a short left hook landed on Rodriguez and he stumbled.
A takedown attempt to clinch kicked off the second frame. Nothing came of it as Rodriguez was able to switch position and separate. The Mexican continued with his kicks and added a spinning elbow which landed cleanly on the “Korean Zombie” while he was pushing forward. This was a precursor of what would eventually end the fight, but nobody had a clue what was going to transpire.
Going into the third, Jung was visibly beaten up with a split lip and bloody nose but this is where he picked up the pace and turned the tide in his favor.
Jung started to control the center of the Octagon and snapped jabs, making Rodriguez’s head snap back multiple times. As his opponent backpedaled, the South Korean slugger chased him down and gained momentum.
The fourth and fifth rounds mirrored every other close round throughout the fight.
“El Pantera” maintained his spinning variations and counters moving backwards, while Jung went forward and connected with solid punches.
The exchanges led to one of the craziest knockouts ever seen.
With less than ten seconds left, Rodriguez held his hands up encouraging Jung to come in and engage. This strategy was effective as the “Korean Zombie” rushed in after Rodriguez threw a combination.
As the 26-year-old moved backward, he threw a never-seen-before elbow and caught Jung square on the jaw. The South Korean fell face first on the canvas and was out cold.
Yair Rodriguez took the fight and embraced the moment to perform one of the greatest knockouts ever. The Mexican striker ultimately tied Demetrious Johnson for the latest finish in UFC history and in the process took home an extra 100,000 USD in performance bonuses on the night.
With this impressive win after sitting out for more than a year while being cut by the organization, Rodriguez (11-2) puts himself back into contention for the title.
Jung Chan-Sung (14-5), on the other hand, lost for the first time since 2013 when he was knocked out by Jose Aldo in Brazil at UFC 163 for the featherweight title.
UFC Fight Night, Denver, November 10th
Yair Rodríguez def. Jung Chan-Sung via KO (Elbow) at 4:59 of R5
Donald Cerrone def. Mike Perry via Submission (armbar) at 4:46 of R1
Germaine de Randamie def. Raquel Pennington via Decision (Unanimous) at 5:00 of R3
Beneil Dariush def. Thiago Moises via Decision (Unanimous) at 5:00 of R3
Maycee Barber def. Hannah Cifers via TKO at 2:01 of R2
Mike Trizano def. Luis Pena via Decision (Split) at 5:00 of R3
Ashley Yoder def. Amanda Cooper via Decision (Split) at 5:00 of R3
Bobby Moffett def. Chas Skelly via TKO at 2:43 of R2
Davi Ramos def. John Gunther via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:57 of R1
Devonte Smith def. Julian Erosa via KO at 0:46 of R1
Eric Shelton def. Joseph Morales via Decision (Split) at 5:00 of R3
Mark de la Rosa def. Joby Sanchez via Decision (Split) at 5:00 of R3