The UFC is in Singapore is today with a fight card that starts at 5 a.m. ET. The main card, which starts at 8 a.m. ET, is headlined by Max Holloway vs. Chan Sung Jung (aka The Korean Zombie). On paper that fight promises a ton of action, but will it be competitive? Well, no, not according to us.
We are all picking Holloway to get the win. Now, sometimes this curses the fighter and the MMA Gods make sure that they lose. So if Blessed becomes Cursed this Saturday, that’s on us.
Scroll down for the rest of our picks for UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Korean Zombie. And don’t forget to tell us yours in the comments!
UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Korean Zombie staff picks and predictions
Max Holloway vs. Chan Sung Jung
Anton Tabuena: This is such a terrible match up, and they honestly could have found much better pairings even with the featherweights already in this card! Tell me you wouldn’t rather watch Max Holloway vs Giga Chikadze and Korean Zombie vs. Alex Caceres.
Those would at least be more competitive and far more fun contests, but instead we’ll likely see a shopworn fan favorite get drubbed again. Zombie will always have a puncher’s chance, but I think he’s too worn down for someone as good as Holloway, and he should just be put in fun bouts between fellow veterans instead. Max Holloway by sad, late TKO.
Dayne: I lobbied for this fight prior to Jung fighting Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 273. Then Jung got utterly destroyed and now no one has any interest in this contest. I hesitate to say myself included because I don’t want to say that fight – and the Ortega fight – is enough to completely write off Jung. I get that he’s old for a featherweight, but he also had a long layoff due to his military commitment. Maybe he isn’t as worn as we all believe…
Admittedly, I’m trying to talk myself into looking forward to this fight. Holloway is undeniably an all-time great who still appears to be in his prime. While Jung has a special place in the hearts of most fans, he appears to come short of all-time great status and isn’t in his prime any longer. That appears to be the only analysis needed. However, I’ll throw out that Jung may have a chance if he can get Holloway to the mat. Jung’s one undeniable advantage is in grappling. Holloway has solid mat defense, so I wouldn’t count on it, but I’m throwing that out there anyway. Holloway via TKO of RD3
Chris: This fight reminds me of when Chuck Liddell fought Wanderlei Silva at UFC 79; too late in their careers to be relevant, but it provided just enough fireworks and with a definitive result. That said, I think Max is going to prevail simply by being the less diminished fighter. He’s lost a step but doesn’t look like a fighter who’s out of ideas, playing their greatest hits in the cage to the next generation. It’s wild that KZ has gone 4-3 in the past 10 years and his record reflects a hard ceiling. When we talk about MMA’s greatest ‘what if’ fighters, KZ’s three and a half year absence should be noted more often.
Zane: Get the feeling we’re in for an absolute bloodletting. Max Holloway via TKO, round 2.
Tim: Both these guys are getting up their in age and mileage. But whereas Holloway may have lost some of his potency, he seems as fast as ever. Jung, however, looks to have slowed. So I think Holloway is going to pepper him for five rounds. He might not do enough to put the Korean Zombie away, but I think it could be a pretty one-sided beating. Max Holloway via decision.
Staff picking Holloway: Tim, Dayne, Jack, Chris, Stephie, Eddie, Anton, Kristen, Lucas, Zane
Staff picking Jung:
Anthony Smith vs. Ryan Spann
Dayne: Smith doesn’t look like he wants to fight anymore. He’s got a nice gig as an analyst with the UFC and has already put an incredible amount of miles on his body. Given he’s a major longshot to even sniff a UFC title shot at this juncture, it makes sense he’s ready to give it up. Given he’s never been a great athlete, it was his desire and know-how that allowed him to climb the heights he did. Given I don’t see that fire, I don’t see success coming his way any longer.
I do need to caution that Spann tends to make stupid decisions that cost him if he’s unable to secure a first round finish. Thus I can see Spann walking headlong into a submission at some point. It doesn’t help Spann’s chances that even if Smith doesn’t have the fire anymore, he still doesn’t appear easy to put away. He did go the distance with Johnny Walker after all. Regardless, I’m going to stick with Spann, feeling like he’s more likely to be the one who doesn’t lose as opposed to the one who wins. Spann via submission of RD1
Chris: Everything about my perception of LHW is being torn apart by the coin flip. Normally I’d say that Smith is the guy who separates the contenders from the pretenders but fate has decided that he’s going to sleep on Saturday morning because I can’t see Spann pulling off a decision.
Zane: To Dayne’s point, Smith has seemed like a guy who doesn’t really want to fight anymore for, like… the past 5 years? That still didn’t stop him from absolutely pantsing Spann the first time they fought. Spann might knock Smith out fast, but durability isn’t nearly so much Smith’s Achilles heel as it is Spann’s. Mostly because Spann can’t go more than a couple minutes without making some kind of catastrophic fight IQ error. Assuming Smith can survive some early shots, I think he’s much more likely to catch Spann getting wild like he did the first time. Anthony Smith by submission, round 2.
Tim: I think the age, size, reach and athleticism gap will be too wide for Smith to handle. Ryan Spann via TKO.
Staff picking Smith: Zane
Staff picking Spann: Tim, Dayne, Jack, Chris, Stephie, Eddie, Anton, Kristen, Lucas
Giga Chikadze vs. Alex Caceres
Dayne: I know everyone loves counting out Caceres. I don’t blame them. After all, this is a guy with a loss to Guan Wang under his belt. If you’re wondering who that is, you’re proving my exact point. But Caceres appears to have finally matured as a UFC fighter. The dumb mistakes that plagued him in the past appear to be a thing of the past, only losing because his opponent is physically superior. Does Chikadze fall into that category? I’m not 100% sure.
What I do know is Chikadze is bigger and a more technical striker. Caceres shouldn’t look to stand and trade with the former kickboxer and I wouldn’t trust he’d attempt to go that route if I was only going off the tape from the last few years. If he had an established method of consistently getting the fight to the mat, I’d really be anxious to pick Caceres to pull off the upset. However, given Chikadze’s takedown defense, I like him get the job done, even with the long layoff. Chikadze via decision
Anton: Caceres is perpetually underrated, and deserving of a good step up in UFC competition after his pretty good streak as of late. This is a pretty rough match up for him though. Caceres will likely be unable (or maybe unwilling at some points) to take him down to take advantage of his superior ground game, and on the feet, while Bruce Leeroy is much better than he is given credit for, Chikadze has an edge in striking technique and a significant edge in power too. Giga Chikadze by decision.
PS: What’s with the Wang Guan slander though, Dayne? The guy was 23-1, hits hard, and was one of China’s best for years… but then he just suddenly disappeared and retired after winning that UFC debut.
Zane: Cacers will almost certainly fight Chikadze at kickboxing range, where he has less form and less power than the Georgian. If Caceres can create some scrambles and get Chiakdze grappling, all bets are off, but ‘Bruce Leeroy’ is the kind of guy who always lets opponents have their fight, and given his own choice, would prefer to be out at range being creative. Giga Chikadze by decision (but a KO wouldn’t surprise me).
Chris: This is it. After more than a dozen years in the UFC Alex Caceres is going to notch the biggest win of his career and squeeze his way into title talks as the feel good fighter of the year.
Tim: Kind of a weird match-up, no? Feels like a tune-up fight for Giga Chikadze and we never see tune-up fights in the UFC. On paper it seems pretty obvious that Chikadze has the advantage at range and on the inside and I don’t think Caceres can take him down. Giga Chikadze by TKO.
Staff picking Chikadze: Tim, Dayne, Jack, Stephie, Eddie, Anton, Kristen, Lucas, Zane
Staff picking Caceres: Chris
Rinya Nakamura vs. Fernie Garcia
Anton: Rinya Nakamura was clearly one of the best prospects from the first Road to UFC tournaments. He has good wrestling, but also showed big power and explosiveness, and I think he’ll continue to improve. Rinya Nakamura by TKO.
Dayne: There’s no other way to read this fight other than the UFC is attempting to get Nakamura a bit more seasoning. He’s got a great wrestling background, but is still so young in his career that I’d rather see him on the regional scene. However, Garcia hasn’t proven to be worth his UFC roster spot, so this kind of serves as a de facto regional contest designed to provide Nakamura with additional experience. The bigger question is how Nakamura is going to win. Nakamura via submission of RD2
Zane: If Garcia were a little more assertive I might pick him here, Nakamura has a lot more confidence and aggression than he does technique. But Garcia tends to sit back and wait for counters, and while he can crack, he also can’t defend takedowns all that well. Rinya Nakamura by decision.
Staff picking Nakamura: Tim, Dayne, Jack, Stephie, Eddie, Anton, Kristen, Lucas, Zane
Staff picking Garcia: Chris
Erin Blanchfield vs. Taila Santos
Anton: This is a really good match up than I can see going either way. This pick all boiled down to me being more impressed with Blanchfield’s recent wins over the likes of Andrade, and not being as high on Santos’ loss to Shevchenko as most. I think Shevchenko clearly won that fight, but she has just been so dominant up to that point that people have highlighted and overvalued any and all of the small successes people had even in losing efforts. Erin Blanchfield by Decision.
Dayne: I’ve been as big of a supporter of Blanchfield as anyone, frequently calling her the best prospect in the sport, not just the division. I still think she’s going to win the title someday. But she hasn’t come close to facing anyone with the combination of size, skill, and athleticism that Santos possesses. On the flip side, Santos has faced someone with a similar skillset to Blanchfield and convinced many people she should have been crowned over Valentina Shevchenko. That complicates things a LOT.
What has me ultimately leaning in the direction of Santos is how poor Blanchfield looked against JJ Aldrich. Granted, that fight was over a year ago and it’s hard to believe Blanchfield hasn’t improved since that time. But Santos isn’t Aldrich and she also isn’t going to be overwhelmed physically on the mat the way Jessica Andrade was. In fact, I don’t think Blanchfield has faced anyone with the mat abilities of Santos. Plus, Santos is the superior striker. I don’t have a lot of confidence in my pick and I hate doing it given how much I’ve voiced my support of Blanchfield, but I’ve got to be picking with my head. Santos via decision
Chris: Blanchfield vs Santos is a bitter pill because I wish Santos could have gotten a more winnable bounceback fight after her performance against Shevchenko at UFC 275 and moved back into title contention. Perhaps her moment has come and gone, because the coin flip says we are in the year of the Blanch. That said, I’m happy to see a prospect like Blanchfield win fights against opponents of steadily increasing quality. Her ability to hang with Andrade on the feet, balanced out with a win versus the grappler Santos should solidify her title contender status.
Zane: Santos doesn’t really fight a modern high level MMA game. She got to the top taking on a string of far less athletic fighters who just couldn’t handle her physicality. But whenever someone’s been able to compete with her in tie-ups, she struggles hard. She doesn’t put out nearly enough volume otherwise to make me think she wins rounds if she’s not holding Blanchfield down. Erin Blanchfield by decision.
Tim: This is a great step up in competition for Blanchfield. A part of me wonders if it’s too much of a step up, but if I have to pick someone I’m picking Blanchfield since I think she can give Santos fits in the grappling exchanges. Erin Blanchfield via submission.
Staff picking Blanchfield: Tim, Jack, Chris, Stephie, Anton, Kristen, Lucas, Zane
Staff picking Santos: Dayne, Eddie
Junior Tafa vs. Parker Porter
Dayne: Porter wasn’t skilled enough to avoid the heatseekers of Tafa’s brother, Justin. However, he was able to avoid the haymakers of Braxton Smith. Junior Tafa appears to be somewhere between the two, making this an incredibly appropriate contest. The guess here is he leans closer in the direction of his brother, meaning Porter is likely to end up taking a nap. Tafa via KO of RD1
Zane: I guess I’ll pick Porter to survive long enough to wreck Tafa on the mats. But, he might also just get KO’d by the first big flurry. Parker Porter via TKO, round 1.
Staff picking Tafa: Tim, Dayne, Jack, Stephie, Eddie, Anton, Kristen, Lucas
Staff picking Porter: Zane
Waldo Cortes-Acosta vs. Lukasz Brzeski
Dayne: There is no doubt Cortes-Acosta has a higher ceiling. There’s also no doubt his tendency to leave his legs out there for the kicking provides a road to victory that Brzeski could very well take advantage of. However, I’m encouraged Cortes-Acosta was able to withstand the barrage to his legs from Marcos Rogerio de Lima. The fact he’s so young in the sport – meaning he could yet learn to check kicks or not leave himself so exposed – is also further reason to lean in his direction. Brzeski can win this if he fights intelligently. I don’t think he does. Cortes-Acosta via decision
Zane: Waldo is a mess …
To read the rest of our UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Korean Zombie staff picks head on over to Substack. Now that Bloody Elbow is a fully independent site the best way to support us, so that we can continue fearless coverage of combat sports, is to pick up a paid subscription. Paid subscribers help fund other exclusive content like editorials from Karim Zidan and Jonathan Snowden and investigations by John S. Nash.
No changes in our staff leader board after UFC 292 last week, thanks to more than half of us all getting 9-3 records. Vic managed to do best, though, with 10-2. As you can see it remains very tight at the top, with Dayne, Eddie (argh!) and Anton separated by just one correct pick each. We’ll see if their picks at UFC Singapore spaces them out a bit.
|Position||Staffer||Correct||Incorrect||Total Picks||%||Picks Back||Week 27 Record|
|1 (-)||Dayne 🇺🇸||211||139||350||0.603||9-3|
|2 (-)||Eddie 🏴☠️||210||140||350||0.600||1||9-3|
|3 (-)||Anton 🇵🇭||209||141||350||0.597||2||9-3|
|4 (-)||Zane 🇺🇸||206||144||350||0.589||5||9-3|
|5 (-)||Kristen 🇺🇸||202||148||350||0.577||9||9-3|
|6 (-)||Stephie 🇫🇯||200||137||337||0.593||11||9-3|
|7 (-)||Tim 🇨🇦||192||158||350||0.549||19||9-3|
|8 (-)||Lucas 🇧🇷||189||149||338||0.559||22||8-4|
|9 (-)||Chris 🇺🇸||161||177||338||0.476||50||4-8|
|10 (-)||BE Community 🌎||146||137||283||0.516||65||8-2|
|11 (-)||Victor 🇺🇸||136||114||250||0.544||75||10-2|
|12 (-)||Jack 🇨🇦||129||100||229||0.563||82||8-4|
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