The long awaited featherweight clash between Brian Ortega and ‘Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung is finally upon us as the UFC gives us the fourth instalment of the Fight Island series.
The two men will face off in a clash described as a No.1 contender fight by UFC president Dana White, with personal pride as well as a future title shot on the line.
In an 11 fight card that will also see Jessica Andrade move up to strawweight for the first time to take on Katlyn Chookagian, I will break down every fight and give my predictions. I have already predicted the prelims here, and now I’ll take to the main card.
Last week I correctly predicted 8/13 overall with five perfect picks (winner, method, round) although I was wronged by arguably the greatest knockout of all-time for one of them.
Thomas Almeida (21-3) vs Jonathan Martinez (12-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
This one could be fun to open up the main card in the bantamweight division. Thomas Almeida was a 20-0 title contender before he got knocked out by Cody Garbrandt back in 2016 while Jonathan Martinez has had an intriguing run in the UFC so far. Almeida hasn’t fought since January 2018 due to an eye injury but prior to that he had lost three of four while Martinez is currently 3-2 in the UFC including his most recent knockout win over Frankie Saenz back in August. Both guys are Muay-Thai fighters with good hand speed, power and size and it’s a really tough fight to pick. At his best, Almeida would have the advantages but after almost three years away from the cage it’s hard to know what he’s bringing to the fight. Martinez is coming off a big win and he hits hard and accurately so with the likelihood of ring rust coming into play, I’m backing Martinez to take a close decision win.
PICK – Jonathan Martinez via Unanimous Decision
Claudio Silva (14-1) vs James Krause (27-8) – (Welterweight/170lbs)
Another short notice fight on the card as James Krause saves the day yet again, stepping in with around two weeks notice to take on 38 year old Claudio Silva. Despite his age, he doesn’t have a lot of cage miles on his clock, with Silva fighting just three times since 2014. He’s suffered injuries upon injuries but now looks to win a tenth fight by submission. Silva has zero striking proficiency so Krause should be able to pick him apart there, but Silva has a knack of finding a way to win. Krause is coming off a loss but it’s hard to consider it, since he stepped up to middleweight for the first time ever and lost a split decision on ONE DAYS notice. I think Krause’s striking matched up with his good ground game should see him scrape a close decision.
PICK – James Krause via Unanimous Decision
Jimmy Crute (11-1) vs Modestas Bukauskas (11-2) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
A clash between two future contenders in the light heavyweight division here as Australia’s Jimmy ‘The Brute’ Crute takes on the British-Lithuanian Modestas Bukauskas. Crute will be making his first appearance since February, where he defeated Michael Oleksiujczuk via a kimura in the first round while Bukauskas returns to Fight Island following a successful debut where he knocked out Andreas Michailidis with elbows. Bukauskas is a former British kickboxing champion and showed his striking chops in that debut fight but he also showed that his takedown defence isn’t the greatest. Against a guy stepping up from middleweight, he only just stayed on his feet and Crute is a fierce grappler himself. A natural 205lber, Crute is one of the most well rounded fighters in the division and has the ability to knock people out, out wrestle them and even submit them if necessary. Bukauskas is an impressive prospect for the future but right now he’s not on Crute’s level and the Aussie should be able to get an impressive stoppage win.
PICK – Jimmy Crute via Submission, Round 1
Jessica Andrade (20-8) vs Katlyn Chookagian (14-3) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
A very, very good fight on the cards here in the women’s flyweight division as the former strawweight champion moves up to take on a former title challenger in the division. Chookagian is a kickboxer who uses her kicks and range to outpoint her opponents as her 11 decision wins shows on her record. Andrade on the other hand is a brawler who is happy to walk through the fire to get her hands on her opponent and be able to drag her down to the mat to use her wrestling and jiu-jitsu skills. She has lost her last two fights though, being knocked out by Weili Zhang and losing out to Rose Namajunas last time out on the judges scorecards. Chookagian has a huge height and reach advantage in the fight so it will suit her style perfectly, but Andrade is just so powerful and durable and will be able to push a pace that Chookagian has never had to keep up before. Andrade is much more likely to finish this fight than win on points which makes her super dangerous throughout and for that reason I think she’ll be able to get the win via stoppage.
PICK – Jessica Andrade via Submission, Round 2
Brian Ortega (14-1) vs Korean Zombie (16-5) – (Featherweight/145lbs)
Almost guaranteed to be the fight of the night, this grudge match will surely be a lot of fun. Brian Ortega is making his first appearance since December 2018 where he got absolutely battered by Max Holloway while the Korean Zombie looks to make it three wins in a row after he knocked out Frankie Edgar in December last year. ‘T-City’ stands for ‘Triangle City’ and that nickname is well earned, with Ortega’s jiu-jitsu game among the absolute best in all of MMA, while Zombie lives up to his nickname too with a kill or be killed style that has seen him destroy so many opponents in violent fashion. When Ortega tried to stand and bang with Holloway he ended up with a broken orbital bone, nose and hand and Holloway doesn’t hit nearly as hard as Zombie does. Chan Sung Jung is also not a slouch when it comes to grappling. He has submission wins via twister and d’arce chokes while his takedown defence is among the best in the division too. Overall, Ortega needs Zombie to make a mistake for him to win this fight. Zombie is too powerful and too well rounded and I think he may be able to get himself a knockout win if he lands heavy on the chin of ‘T-City’.
PICK – Korean Zombie via Knockout, Round 3