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When you speak of UFC featherweights, you instantly think of Conor McGregor but with Irishman now demanding mega purses the show must go on. Luckily the UFC has a roster stacked with talent at the 145 lb limit as is proof with Saturday's upcoming main event. Chan Sung Jung looks to continue his winning streak after knocking out Daniel Bermudez in one round. The South Korean is super exciting and has already shared the cage with Jose Aldo going four rounds with the Brazilian before being stopped due to punches. Going that far with the legendary South American is pretty impressive and just shows the durability of the South Korean. He probably has the craziest nickname in the game being known as "The Korean Zombie."
The nickname comes from his ability to absorb punishment and still move forward aggressively. His record currently stands at 14-4-0 with 8 of those wins coming by submission you would be forgiven for thinking he's primarily a grappler. Yet if you watch this guy, his striking skill set is immense and he has actually competed as a kickboxer. This guy throws hard punches with diverse kicks, this guy is a danger both on the ground and standing up. With victories over the likes of Dustin Poirier and Mark Hominick, expect this lad to be dangerous, exciting, and "undead" until the end!
A 'live' opponent meets an 'undead' challenger.
I was informed about Yair Rodriguez from a sibling of mine who said he was "one to watch."
The Mexican fighter won the Latin version of reality show The Ultimate Fighter and was on a 6 fight win streak before meeting cardio machine Frankie Edgar. The grappler managed to beat Rodriguez's eye shut which made the doctor have to stop the fight. Before that, though, Yair had literally kicked and punched the legendary BJ Penn into submission, the referee stopping the fight by TKO. There's no question Yair is a "live" opponent being very unlucky against Frankie Edgar. In between this fight getting made he actually had a falling out with the UFC. Yair and Dana White exchanged mean tweets at each other online, the Mexican claiming the UFC were publishing "fake news" and the President claiming otherwise.
A Rock and a Hard Place?
Personally I'm glad they brought him back but he's in with a very dangerous opponent. Yair's main advantage is in the stand up striking game, he has very dangerous kicks which comes from training Tae Kwon Do at the age of five. While he has trained in Judo, he struggled against Edgar who took him down at will. He absolutely battered Penn with kicks yet "Zombie" is a decade younger and known for his durability. From watching "Zombie," even in the fights he has lost, he seemed dangerous throughout. In the fight with Leonard Garcia you could make an argument that he won that fight. He's not unstoppable and has been stopped twice in his four defeats (it might be worth noting once by head kick.)
Yair has good foot movement and he needs to utilise it against "Zombie" who is likely going to want to strike with him. Although "Zombie" hits hard I expect Yair to have the quicker strikes; but I expect "Zombie"' will be willing to eat more to get his own shots off.
I did actually watch an earlier fight in Rodriguez's career; I believe it was his third professional bout against a guy called Luis Roberto Herrera. He managed to knock out the talented Mexican in one round. Although anyone can get caught, Herrera didn't really go on to have an impressive MMA career, currently standing at 2-2-0.
I think the real winner in this fight has to be the fans and it's going to be a brutal spectacle while it lasts. My money is going on "Zombie" though for a third round submission. Expect them to tear it up for two rounds before slowing in the third for "Zombie" to slap on a submission hold.