Before Super Bowl LI gets underway these weekend and Tom Brady attempts to win yet another championship, mized martial arts (MMA) can tune in and watch Chan Sung Jung make his return to the Octagon later tonight (Sat., Feb. 4, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 104 live on FOX Sports 1 from inside Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, in a main event tilt opposite proven featherweight veteran Dennis Bermudez. It will mark the first fight “Korean Zombie” has had since losing to Jose Aldo back in 2013. It will also mark the first time Bermudez is headlining an event for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
As two fighters who are more than capable of making a run at the title in a declining featherweight division (Conor McGregor is gone and Chad Mendes is out), UFC Fight Night 104 will be a huge night to start out the year for Bermudez and Jung. It’s a matchup that’s sure to produce fireworks before the big game and one worth breaking down. Here are the keys to victory for both fighters as they attempt to get things rolling in 2017.
1. Overload early…
Considering “Korean Zombie” hasn’t fought in ages, Bermudez would be remiss if he didn’t attack early and try to overload the South Korean’s motherboard. Jung is the type of fighter that will always be able to throwdown in a brawl-like atmosphere, so it’s important that Bermudez goes after it in a methodical and calculated manner.
As a guy who will undoubtedly experience some sort of cage rust, it may take Jung a round or two to process some of Bermudez’s movements, reactions, and distancing. To make his efforts more difficult, Bermudez must mix things up from the outside. He must show “Korean Zombie” a variety of different looks, level changes, combinations and angles. If he can do that, Jung might not have enough time to settle in and reestablish the groove he left behind in 2013.
2. Rely on cage control…
It’s no secret that “Korean Zombie” is one of the more effective and dangerous strikers in the featherweight division. He can knock you out in a variety of ways and has solid distance control when pressing the action from the outside. While Bermudez isn’t a complete slouch on the feet, he’s better at grabbing a hold of an opponent, pushing them up against the cage, sapping their energy and controlling the action.
Against a fighter like Jung, especially since the South Korean may rely on his wild striking to suffice for cage rust, Bermudez will benefit immensely if he can pin him against the cage and score points inside. It’s the best way to limit Jung’s most dangerous weapons.
Chan Sung Jung
1. Establish cage presence early…
Jung hasn’t fought in a very long time and will most certainly look to establish his range in the opening frames. More importantly, he will try to gain the respect of Bermudez early in order to make “The Menace” second guess his own plan of attack. If he can do that, “Korean Zombie” can possibly buy himself some time to settle back in and channel his former self.
In order to establish some sort of cage presence Jung must land early and put Bermudez back on his heels. Allowing Bermudez to move in quickly and control the action chest-to-chest isn’t going to bode well for the former title challenger. Instead, Jung needs to make Bermudez pay right off the bat, hit him with some counters, mix things up from the outside and make it seem as if he’s been actively fighting for the past three years.
2. Believe in his grappling…
If all else fails, Jung should not hesitate to rely on his grappling skills. His biggest threat inside of the cage is obviously his ability to land strikes and pressure opponents on the feet with unworldly toughness, but “Korean Zombie” is more than just a brawler. He’s actually one of the more technical submission artists in the division.
While Bermudez sports a solid background in wrestling and may be one of the strongest featherweights in the top 10, he has been susceptible to submissions in the past. In fact, four of Bermudez’s five career losses have come by way of submission, one of which came at the hands of Ricardo Lamas back in 2014. Having pulled off everything from a twister to a Von Flue Choke, “Korean Zombie” possesses the tactical know-how and creativity to pressure Bermudez on the mat.
Prediction: Jung via third-round submission
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 104 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, and then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the main card start time at 10 p.m. ET, also on FOX Sports 1.
Source:: mma mania