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Fight By Fight Preview | UFC Fight Night: The Korean Zombie vs Ige

We Break Down UFC Fight Night: The Korean Zombie vs Ige From Top To Bottom

What better way to return to the UFC APEX after a stacked UFC 263 card in Glendale, Arizona than with the return of The Korean Zombie against a fellow top-10 opponent in Dan Ige. We break down the UFC Fight Night: The Korean Zombie vs Ige card from top to bottom below. 

Don't Miss Any Of Saturday's Action On ESPN+ 

CHAN SUNG JUNG VS DAN IGE

Saturday night’s main event is a classic “Veteran vs. Rising Star” pairing in the featherweight division, as perennial contender Chan Sung Jung — “The Korean Zombie” — squares off with Hawaiian hopeful Dan Ige.

This is a perfect matchup — a pairing of two men entering off very different results, intersecting at a time when only a fight like this can answer the pressing questions everyone has for each.

The Korean Zombie: Fighter Trailer
The Korean Zombie: Fighter Trailer
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Jung returns for the first time since October, when he was decisioned by Brian Ortega in Abu Dhabi, a loss that snapped a tidy two-fight winning streak. Now, losing to the current Ultimate Fighter coach and impending title challenger is nothing to hang your head about, however, at age 34 and with a history of intense battles, there are understandable questions to be asked about how much longer Jung can remain an elite contender and when, not if, Father Time will start to catch up with him.

Ige arrives from the opposite end of the spectrum, venturing into the Octagon following a 22-second stoppage win over Gavin Tucker in March and fueled by “New Dad” energy after he and his wife welcomed their son, Bam, into the world a couple weeks after that fight. The Xtreme Couture product is entrenched in the Top 15, but this is a chance for Ige to show he’s capable of moving further up the divisional ladder and someone that needs to be considered a championship threat going forward.

Every fight involving Jung is exciting, and Ige has emerged as a solid all-action bet, as well, which means this weekend’s fight card is going to end with a bang, regardless of how long it lasts and who comes out on top.

FREE FIGHTS: Frankie Edgar vs The Korean Zombie | Mirsad Bektic vs Dan Ige

ALEKSEI OLEINIK VS SERGHEI SPIVAC

There is a 17-year age gap between Aleksei Oleinik and Serghei Spivac, who clash this weekend in a battle of heavyweight combatants with a penchant for finishing fights.

Clocking in at 43 years young, Oleinik, nicknamed “The Boa Constrictor” for his suffocating array of chokes, looks to break out of a mini losing streak as he fights for the second time in 2021. Still one of the more active heavyweights on the roster, the veteran was stopped in less than two minutes last time out against Chris Daukaus, and he returns to Las Vegas to make a third attempt at collecting professional victory No. 60 on Saturday.

Every UFC Submission By Aleksei Oleinik
Every UFC Submission By Aleksei Oleinik
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While Oleinik has lost two straight, the 26-year-old Spivac, whose animal sobriquet is “Polar Bear,” has earned consecutive victories, following up his narrow triumph over Carlos Felipe with a two-round drubbing of Jared Vanderaa in February. The emerging talent fighting out of Chisinau, Moldova has won three of his last four, with his lone setback coming on the cards against Marcin Tybura, who extended his winning streak to five a couple weeks back.

It feels like Oleinik has been in this position countless times during the course of his UFC tenure — positioned as the veteran litmus test for an emerging talent, fielding questions about retirement while having no inclination to hang up the gloves. Although he’s been successful in this spot many times over, it will be interesting to see if the veteran can dial up another strong effort here or if the surging Spivac will claim his biggest victory to date.

Vera, who lost the first encounter in February 2016 by unanimous decision, has grown exponentially since then, emerging as a Top 15 fighter with even more room to grow. He fought three times last year, losing a suspect decision to Song Yadong before handing Sean O’Malley his first career loss and then dropping a decision to Jose Aldo on the final fight card of the year; the trio of fights combining to display his many talents and the areas where he still needs work.

RELATED: Aleksei Oleinik Will Never Give Up | Marlon Vera Fighting For A Better Life | Davey Grant Is Prepared For Any Obstacle

MARLON VERA VS DAVEY GRANT

A week after rematches closed out the show at UFC 263, bantamweights Marlon Vera and Davey Grant cross paths for a second time on Saturday night, each looking to take another step forward in what is arguably the most competitive division in the UFC at the moment.

Marlon Vera of Ecuador reacts after his TKO victory over Sean O'Malley in their bantamweight bout during the UFC 252 event at UFC APEX on August 15, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Marlon Vera of Ecuador reacts after his TKO victory over Sean O'Malley in their bantamweight bout during the UFC 252 event at UFC APEX on August 15, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

After winning their initial meeting, Grant’s first fight in more than two years following his silver medal showing on Season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter, additional injuries limited him to just two more appearances over the next three-plus years, both of which he lost. But towards the end of 2019, the 35-year-old Brit got back in the Octagon and back in the win column, and followed it up with a pair of stoppage victories and Performance of the Night bonuses last year to head into this one as an intriguing dark horse in the 135-pound weight class.

Davey Grant's Second Round TKO | UFC Fight Night: Edwards vs Muhammad

Will Vera get a measure of revenge, or will Grant keep rolling and usurp his position in the rankings?

WELLINGTON TURMAN VS BRUNO SILVA

It’s a main card meeting of Brazilian middleweights as Wellington Turman welcomes Bruno Silva to the UFC.

The 24-year-old Turman will be making his fourth trip into the Octagon on Saturday, looking to maintain the pattern of following a loss with a victory as he aims to rebound from a first-round knockout loss to Andrew Sanchez last summer. Turman began his professional career at 18, compiling a 15-2 record before reaching the UFC and making him an intriguing young figure in the 185-pound ranks.

Originally signed in 2019, Silva finally makes his promotional debut this weekend after serving a two-year suspension for an anti-doping violation. Now 31, the former TUF Brazil 3 hopeful has won 14 of his last 15 appearances, including wins over Russian veterans Artem Frolov and Alexander Shlemenko, but will have several years of rust to shake off after last competing on November 2, 2018.

Can Turman bounce back as he did after losing his promotional debut or will Silva pick up where he left off two-and-a-half years ago and extend his winning streak to five with a victory on Saturday night?

att Brown punches Carlos Condit in a welterweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island on January 17, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
att Brown punches Carlos Condit in a welterweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island on January 17, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

MATT BROWN VS DHIEGO LIMA

TUF alums and tough customers, Matt Brown and Dhiego Lima are set to kick off this weekend’s main card in what should be an entertaining welterweight engagement.

The 40-year-old Brown continues to take a “one fight at a time” approach to his career and enters on a two-fight skid, having most recently dropped a unanimous decision to Carlos Condit in a fight many years in the making. Now 42 fights deep into his career, “The Immortal” remains a safe bet to put on a show every time he steps into the cage, and this weekend should be no different.

Lima entered the year on a three-fight winning streak but had that run halted at UFC 258 in February by Belal Muhammad. A two-time Ultimate Fighter finalist, this will be the 32-year-old’s second appearance since having neck surgery to repair a long-standing issue, so it will be interesting to see how getting through his bout with Muhammad without experiencing any setbacks impacts his approach and performance on Saturday night.

If you’re the gambling type and looking to take a flyer on a Fight of the Night selection, this wouldn’t be a bad choice, as Brown and Lima should get after it from the jump.

RELATED: View The UFC Fight Night CardMatt Brown: Still Immortal | Aleksa Camur Looks To Have Another Good Night

ALEKSA CAMUR VS NICOLAE NEGUMEREANU

Young light heavyweights looking to get back into the win column and start progressing up the ladder clash in Las Vegas as Aleksa Camur squares off with Nicolae Negumereanu.

A member of Cleveland’s Strong Style Fight Team, Camur graduated from Dana White’s Contender Series in the summer of 2019, registered a unanimous decision win over Justin Ledet in his promotional debut six months and change later, but came up short in his sophomore showing, losing to fellow Contender Series alum William Knight. It was the first professional setback for the 25-year-old, and how he responds will say a lot about where he might fit in the division going forward.

Out of action for over two years, Negumereanu also enters the Octagon this weekend looking to rebound from his first career loss after dropping a unanimous decision to Saparbeg Safarov in his lone promotional appearance to date. The 26-year-old Romanian had won nine straight to begin his career, all by way of stoppage, and if he can rediscover that form this weekend and remain active going forward, he could be an intriguing addition to the 205-pound ranks.

Jandiroba secures an arm bar submission against Felice Herrig, August 15, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Virna Jandiroba of Brazil secures an arm bar submission against Felice Herrig in their strawweight bout during the UFC 252 event at UFC APEX on August 15, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

KANAKO MURATA VS VIRNA JANDIROBA

It’s a preliminary card clash between strawweight hopefuls and former Invicta FC titleholders as Kanako Murata and Virna Jandiroba share the Octagon this weekend in Las Vegas.

The 27-year-old Murata made a statement in her UFC debut, sweeping the scorecards against divisional mainstay Randa Markos to earn her eighth straight win. A standout wrestler who was gifted a mask by Japanese legend (and her hero) Kazushi Sakuraba, the talented Murata could find herself on the fast track to contention if she’s able to secure a second straight UFC win on Saturday.

Don't Miss A Second Of The Return Of The Ultimate Fighter

Jandiroba won and successfully defended the Invicta FC strap before matriculating to the UFC with a 14-0 record, only to land on the wrong side of the scorecards against Carla Esparza in her debut. After rebounding with wins over Mallory Martin and Felice Herrig, “Carcara” dropped a close, entertaining decision to Mackenzie Dern last December.

Strawweight is easily the most competitive and deepest division on the female side, which ups the ante in competitive matchups like this one. If you like grappling, you’re not going to want to miss this fight.

KHAOS WILLIAMS VS MATTHEW SEMELSBERGER

Williams burst onto the scene last year, earning his first two wins in a combined 57 seconds, following up his blitzkrieg finish of Alex Morono with a blistering knockout of Abdul Razak Alhassan that was in the running Knockout of the Year. He hustled back into the Octagon a month later, dropping a decision to Michel Pereira in an oddly uneventful fight between two traditionally engaging combatants, and has likely been champing at the bit to get back in there and back in the win column ever since.

Semelsberger followed up a unanimous decision victory in his debut with a 16-second knockout of Jason Witt in his sophomore appearance earlier this year. Now 8-2 as a professional, the former NFL hopeful looks to continue building on his five-fight winning streak by turning back his toughest challenge to date this weekend at the UFC APEX.

While there are never any guarantees about how fights play out, there is a very real possibility that something electric transpires in this one, so unless you want to be the person that misses the highlight everyone is tweeting about, make sure you’re focused on the action from the second this one gets underway.

Matthew Semelsberger Scores A 16 KO over Witt | UFC Fight Night: Edwards vs Muhammad
Matthew Semelsberger Scores A 16 KO over Witt | UFC Fight Night: Edwards vs Muhammad
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JULIAN EROSA VS SEUNGWOO CHOI

This is a fun one in the 145-pound weight class as perennial underdog and proven finisher Julian Erosa squares off with South Korea’s Seungwoo Choi on Saturday’s prelims.

A former TUF contestant and Contender Series alum, Erosa is now on his third tour of duty with the UFC and has been making the most of it, entering this weekend’s contest following stoppage victories over Sean Woodson and Nate Landwehr. The Pacific Northwest native has won three straight overall and is allergic to being in an uneventful fight, which makes him a must-see addition to any fight card.

After tough assignments in his first two UFC outings, Choi has rebounded from those setbacks to secure consecutive decision wins over Suman Mokhtarian and Youssef Zalal to push his record to 9-3 heading into this weekend’s meeting with Erosa. He looked particularly sharp last time out against Zalal, displaying crisp, fluid striking and no signs of rust after spending all of 2020 on the sidelines.

JOSH PARISIAN VS ROQUE MARTINEZ

Heavyweights searching for their first UFC win clash here as Josh Parisian and Roque Martinez share the Octagon on Saturday night.

Parisian has looked sharp in his two Contender Series appearances but came up short in his promotional debut last time out, losing a decision to Parker Porter back in November. The former Ultimate Fighter contestant is a proven finisher with a solid resume, but he struggled mightily with his conditioning against Porter, going the distance for just the third time in his 17-fight career.

The 35-year-old Martinez landed on the wrong side of the results twice in a 10-week span last fall, getting submitted by Alexandr Romanov before dropping a decision to Don’Tale Mayes in the middle of November. It’s the first extended skid for Martinez in a decade, so it will be interesting to see if the veteran from Guam can snap out of this funk and avoid a third straight loss this weekend.

Julian Erosa Delivers a Flying Knee To End It | UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs Lewis
Julian Erosa Delivers a Flying Knee To End It | UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs Lewis
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JOAQUIM SILVA VS RICKY GLENN

Lightweight veterans ending extended absences meet here as Joaquim Silva and Ricky Glenn clash in preliminary card action.

Competing for the first time since losing to Nasrat Haqparast in the summer of 2019, Silva aims to return to the form that produced stoppage wins over Andrew Holbrook and Jared Gordon earlier in his UFC tenure. The chiseled TUF Brazil alum, who trains with Bruno Silva under Andre Dida at Evolucao Thai, is 11-3 overall.

Glenn has been out of action for even longer than Silva, last competing at the end of November 2018, when he dropped a unanimous decision to Kevin Aguilar on the TUF 28 Finale. Ready to return and moving up to lightweight, the rangy former regional standout will look to dial up the offense that helped carry him to championship gold under the World Series of Fighting banner and UFC victories over Gavin Tucker and Dennis Bermudez.

CASEY O’NEILL VS LARA PROCÓPIO

A meeting between flyweight prospects opens the show this weekend as “King” Casey O’Neill lines up opposite Lara Procópio.

O’Neill is one of the most intriguing prospects on the roster — an unbeaten 23-year-old born in Scotland and fighting out of Queensland, Australia, who has won 11 straight overall between amateurs and the pros, including a second-round stoppage win over Shana Dobson in her promotional debut.

Procópio is no slouch, either, rebounding from the first loss of her career in a difficult debut pairing with fellow Brazilian Karol Rosa by grinding out a unanimous decision win over Molly McCann earlier this year. She showed no signs of staleness in that February triumph, despite 18 months on the sidelines between fights, and she could further establish herself as one to watch in the flyweight ranks by handing O’Neill her first defeat this weekend.

Will Casey continue her unbeaten march towards the rankings or can Procópio collect a second straight victory while bouncing her from the ranks of the unbeaten?