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Monday MMA Round-Up: The Korean Zombie!

Hello, fight fans, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Monday MMA Round-Up, where we look at all of the happenings in the world of mixed martial arts. Despite a couple of major events going down, it was a relatively quiet week, so let’s get into what is going on.

Looking Back at UFC On ESPN 25

  • “The Korean Zombie” shined on Saturday night in the main event of UFC On ESPN 25, as Chan Sung Jung scored a unanimous decision win over Dan Ige. It was a competitive fight, but Jung was the clear winner, and he looked really solid against a tough opponent, especially in the middle rounds and late in the fight. It’s a good bounce back win for Jung, as it keeps him in the title picture in a crowded featherweight division. He’s always been one of the most exciting fighters to watch, but this version of Jung was more patient, more relaxed, and more well-rounded overall. He called out Max Holloway afterwards, and that would be a tremendous fight to make.
  • This was the third straight UFC event to produce a contender for Fight Of The Year, as the bantamweight battle between Marlon Vera and Davey Grant was a great fight that would be worthy of consideration. It featured tremendous back-and-forth action, spectacular ground work, and Grant was a bloody mess afterwards. That fight is worth going out of your way to see.
  • The first three fights of the main card of Saturday’s show brought the violence, as it featured three clean knockout wins by Matt Brown, Bruno Silva and SeungWoo Choi. The Brown knockout was particularly impressive as he was losing the striking battle to Dhiego Lima, and all it took was one right hand to put Lima’s lights out. Brown now holds wins over both Lima brothers, and he continues to be at the top of the UFC’s welterweight record books for both finishes and knockout wins.
  • The referees need to start taking points away for fouls without warnings. There were multiple groin strikes in one fight with nothing done. It was really bad in the fight between Nicolae Negumereanu and Aleksa Camur, as Negumereanu grabbed the fence at least five times before referee Mike Beltran even started to warn him, then grabbed it a couple more times before Beltran stopped to admonish him and give him an official warning, and he still grabbed it once more afterwards without having a point taken away. There was a later fight where both men got warned within 30 seconds of each other about grabbing the fence without any points being taken away. Fighters are taking more-and-more chances in committing fouls because there’s no consequences for actually committing them, and until we reach a point where points are immediately taken away, they’re just going to continually make light of the lack of punishment. Points need to be taken away right away. Give the official warnings in the back. It’s the only way to curb the amount of fouls we’ve been seeing lately.
  • A young UFC prospect to watch out for is Casey O’Neill. She scored her second straight win since signing with the UFC, choking Lara Procopio out cold in the third round after dominating from the end of the first round onward. Keep an eye on O’Neill as she climbs the rankings as she’s got championship-level potential.

  • Rory MacDonald got absolutely robbed and screwed out of a win in the main event of PFL 5 on Thursday. He clearly won the first two rounds, and it was as clear as can be, yet he lost a split decision to Gleison Tibau after two of the judges gave Tibau the first round. This shouldn’t be a loss on MacDonald’s record, yet it’s just another example of now hundreds of examples of bad judging, especially more recently. Something has to change.
  • Congratulations to my fellow F4W staff member and friend of In The Clinch, Tom Lawlor, on a win over Jordan Young at PFL 5 to seemingly close the chapter of MMA fighting in his combat sports career. Lawlor has been involved in many memorable moments over the years, especially his weigh-in fun. His win over Young was an excellent showing, and it did show he still has some gas left in the tank. He has said never say never, but, for now, Lawlor looks to focus on his budding pro wrestling career. Props to you Tom, and thank you for all of the fun in MMA over the years, and continue to do great things in pro wrestling.

  • I don’t know how to appropriately explain what you’re about to read here, but I’ll try. Paulo Costa is undergoing a hair transplant. He’s 30 and seems to have a good set of hair. I don’t know if there’s an issue there, and I don’t want to speculate. However, the fact that he’s undergoing a hair transplant isn’t just something that comes together over the matter of days. It’s a planned-out process. He pulled out of his scheduled fight with Jared Cannonier on June 4, and was undergoing the transplant on or around June 17. That tells me this was already scheduled and is the reason the fight with Cannonier isn’t happening, which would be the most-ridiculous reason to ever pull out of a fight. Worse yet, his doctor told him he couldn’t fight for anywhere between six-to-twelve months. So, he’s potentially throwing away a year of his career in his prime at 30 to have something done that really could’ve waited until he was done fighting. I don’t know what to make of this, but between this and his recent comments, and, really, his comments over the past few months, it’s very apparent he’s become more difficult to deal with than is worth the effort.
  • Max Holloway had to pull out of his scheduled main event against Yair Rodriguez on 7/17 due to injury. That’s a shame, as that was an exciting fight scheduled. Giga Chikadze has been offered the fight to replace Holloway and has accepted, but there’s no current word if Rodriguez is going to accept that fight. Rodriguez should. He hasn’t fought in almost two years and really needs to get active, but he’s been known to turn down fights.
  • With UFC 266 being shifted to 9/25, the fight night card planned for that night was originally scheduled to be headlined by a fight between Thiago Santos and Johnny Walker, but that fight has shifted to the main event of the 10/2 card. Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira are still slated to fight at UFC 266, but as of earlier in the week, neither fighter has been notified of a date change.
  • Playing Matchmaker

    Here are some fights I would make next for those who fought at UFC On ESPN 25 on Saturday:

    • Chan Sung Jung vs. Max Holloway
    • Dan Ige vs. Shane Burgos
    • Serghei Spivac vs. Tom Aspinall
    • Marlon Vera vs. Kyler Phillips-Raphael Assuncao winner
    • SeungWoo Choi vs. Ricardo Ramos
    • Bruno Silva vs. Gregory Rodrigues
    • Matt Brown vs. Alex Morono
    • Virna Jandiroba vs. Amanda Ribas
    • Casey O’Neill vs. Hannah Goldy

    Fight Announcements

    Here are some fights that were announced over the past week:

    • Tanner Boser vs. Ovince Saint Preux — UFC Fight Night — June 26
    • Kennedy Nzechukwu vs. Danilo Marques — UFC Fight Night — June 26
    • Nicco Montano vs. Wu Yanan — UFC Fight Night — July 31
    • Vicente Luque vs. Michael Chiesa — UFC 265 — August 7
    • Tecia Torres vs. Angela Hill — UFC 265 — August 7
    • Alonzo Menifield vs. Ed Herman — UFC 265 — August 7
    • Khalil Rountree vs. Modestas Bukauskas — UFC Fight Night — September 4
    • Ion Cutelaba vs. Devin Clark — UFC Fight Night — September 18
    • Curtis Blaydes vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik — UFC 266 — September 25
    • Marlon Moraes vs. Merab Dvalishvili — UFC 266 — September 25
    • Thiago Santos vs. Johnny Walker — UFC Fight Night — October 2 (MAIN EVENT)

    Coming Up This Week

    Here are some of the major MMA events taking place this week:

    • UFC On ESPN+ 48 takes place on Saturday, June 26 from Las Vegas. The entire card airs on ESPN+, with the main card at 4 PM eastern time and the prelims kicking off at 1 PM eastern time. Ciryl Gane vs. Alexander Volkov is the main event.
    • Cage Warriors 123 takes place on Thursday, June 24, airing at 12 PM eastern time on UFC Fight Pass.
    • Cage Warriors 124 takes place on Friday, June 25, airing at 12 PM eastern time on UFC Fight Pass.
    • PFL 2021 #6 takes place on Friday, June 25, from Atlantic City. The main card airs at 10 PM eastern time on ESPN2, with prelims airing on ESPN+ at 6 PM eastern time. Kayla Harrison vs. Cindy Dandois is the main event, and Anthony Pettis vs. Raush Manfio is the co-main event.
    • Bellator 261 takes place on Friday, June 25, from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut. The main card airs on Showtime at 9 PM eastern time, with prelims airing on YouTube at 6 PM eastern time. Tim Johnson vs. Valentin Moldavsky for the Interim Bellator Heavyweight Championship is the main event.
    • Cage Warriors 125 takes place on Saturday, June 26, airing at 12 PM eastern time on UFC Fight Pass.
    • RIZIN 29 takes place on Sunday, June 27, airing at 1 AM eastern time.

    This Week in MMA History

    On June 23, 2007, two of the biggest stars in UFC history, albeit at different stages of their careers, competed on the same card at The Pearl at The Palms Casino & Resort at The Ultimate Fighter 5 Finale. It wrapped up season five of The Ultimate Fighter, one of the best seasons of the reality show, which produced several notable fighters who competed in the UFC, some of whom still compete today.

    In the main event, former and future UFC champion B.J. Penn submitted one of his biggest career rivals, as he choked out Jens Pulver in the second round in the battle of TUF 5 coaches. In the co-main event, future UFC megastar Nate Diaz earned his UFC contract when he defeated Manny Gamburyan in the finals of the TUF 5 tournament. Penn and Diaz have been in some of the biggest fights in UFC history, and are two of the biggest stars to compete in the sport, both with hardcore followings.

    Also on the card was Joe Lauzon, Gray Maynard, Matt Wiman, Leonard Garcia, Cole Miller, Roger Huerta, Thales Leites and a host of others. You can watch The Ultimate Fighter 5 Finale on UFC Fight Pass here.

    In The Clinch

    This week on In The Clinch, myself and Paul Fontaine will recap UFC On ESPN 25, talk about the judging controversy in the fight between Rory MacDonald and Gleison Tibau, preview UFC On ESPN+ 48 and the other big MMA events this week, talk about Paulo Costa and much more. You can listen to In The Clinch on The Fight Game Media Network, with out Patreon page found here.

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