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'Korean Zombie' turns in star-making UFC performance

May 16, 2012|By Todd Martin
  • "Korean Zombie" Chan Sung Jung jumps for joy after defeating Mark Hominick, lower right, during UFC 140 in Toronto on Dec. 10, 2011.
"Korean Zombie" Chan Sung Jung jumps for joy after defeating… (Chris Young / Associated…)

With a nickname like the “Korean Zombie,” pedestrian performances simply will not do.

Since his American MMA debut in 2010, Chan Sung Jung has delivered a series of memorable fights. His first bout with Leonard Garcia was one of the most action-packed bouts in recent years and his second bout with Garcia produced the first UFC submission via the unique twister jiu jitsu lock. Tuesday night in Fairfax, Va., Jung progressed from popular undercard fighter to title contender with a scintillating fourth-round submission over Dustin Poirier.

Louisiana’s Poirier was thought by many to be the top contender to the UFC featherweight title after four consecutive UFC wins. The oddsmakers pegged him at more than a 3-to-1 favorite against Jung, but he found the going tough from very early on.

After a back and forth first round in which fans alternated chants of "USA" and "Zombie," Jung took over in a dynamic second round. Jung rocked Poirier with a flying knee and looked to close the fight with a series of additional knees from the clinch. Poirier shot for a desperation takedown, but Jung rolled through and took the dominant mount submission. Jung threatened to finish the fight with armbar and triangle choke attempts, but Poirier managed to survive.

In the third round, Poirier rebounded and landed his best strikes of the contest. Jung landed plenty of blows of his own, but Poirier was able to earn his first round on the scorecards of two cageside judges.

Poirier’s success proved to be short lived, as Jung dropped him early in the fourth with an uppercut and straight punch. Like in the second round, Poirier shot for a desperation takedown. This time, Jung locked in a D’Arce choke and the fight was called off at the 1:07 mark. A jubilant Jung celebrated on top of the Octagon while being serenaded with cheers from the crowd.

After the victory, Jung left no doubts as to his future plans. After doing the rest of his postfight interview in Korean, he proclaimed, "I want Jose Aldo" in English.

The emergence of Jung couldn’t have come at a better time for the UFC. The featherweight champion Aldo has dominated his division and there are few credible or marketable challengers for his crown. Jung probably will be an overwhelming underdog against Aldo, but there will be more fan interest in the bout than any challenger since Aldo fought Urijah Faber.

The myriad difficulties that arise in fighting the explosive Aldo will be tackled at a later time. On this night, Jung could bask in the glory of a great fight, defining win, and the warm embrace of a crowd thousands of miles from home.

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