There’s been no shortage of trash talk between Brian Ortega and Chan Sung Jung. Now, the two featherweight contenders will face off in the main event of UFC Fight Night 180 at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
The bout took on added importance earlier in the week, when UFC president Dana White told ESPN that the winner would get a shot at featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski.
Jung, Ortega Ready to Leave Trash Talk Behind
Ortega (14-1) enters the fight ranked as the No. 2 contender in the UFC’s featherweight division, while Jung (16-5) – known as “The Korean Zombie” – ranks fourth.
“It’s absolutely a No. 1 contender fight,” White told ESPN. “Zombie vs. Ortega. Absolutely, the winner of this fight should be the next title shot.”
The UFC has been trying to make this fight for nearly a year. The two agreed to fight in December 2019, but Ortega backed out due to a knee injury. The COVID-19 pandemic further delayed the matchup.
Those delays created a long buildup for this fight, one that has generated tons of trash talk. Jung uncharacteristically threw barbs at his opponent, and there was a heated confrontation at UFC 248 when Ortega slapped Jay Park, a friend of Jung’s.
“I am not a person who enjoys trash talking, but I tried some of them recently because I thought my fans would like them,” Jung told MMA Junkie. “But the result was not good and my friend was affected, so I won’t be doing trash talking anymore. I apologize for all the trash talking I did to Ortega and the champion, so I hope Ortega won’t continue trash talking to me anymore.”
Ortega issued an apology for the slapping incident soon after UFC 248.
“I’ve had a lot of mental growth in terms of doing all this in a healthy way,” Ortega told Yahoo Sports, speaking of his move to the Huntington Beach Ultimate Training Center. “Everything before was very unhealthy and very toxic. Things now are a lot smoother, a lot healthier, and a lot easier, and I can’t say anything else but this is the better option.”
Both Fighters Have Paths to Victory
Ortega hasn’t fought since December 2018, when Max Holloway stopped him after four rounds in a featherweight title fight. But that’s the only loss of Ortega’s career, which includes wins over big names like Frankie Edgar and Cub Swanson.
Jung’s career has featured plenty of ups and downs, though he’s impressed since joining the UFC in 2011. He’s 6-2 in his UFC career, with those two losses coming in 2013 to Jose Aldo, and an infamous last-second knockout by Yair Rodriguez in 2018. Jung last fought in December, when he stopped Edgar in the first round.
|Ortega vs. Jung Odds – UFC Fight Night 180 (via FanDuel Sportsbook)|
|Brian Ortega: +176||Chan Sung Jung: -210|
|Katlyn Chookagian: +138||Jessica Andrade: -164|
|Jimmy Crute: -320||Modestas Bukauskas +260|
|Claudio Silva: +132||James Krause: -156|
|Thomas Almeida: -136||Jonathan Martinez: +116|
Despite Ortega’s gaudy record, Jung enters the fight as a -210 favorite, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Jung typically wins by simply overwhelming opponents with his speed to find stoppages, something that might be difficult against Ortega, who has proven that he can take a punch and continue to bring knockout power into the later rounds.
In the co-main event, Katlyn Chookagian (14-3) and Jessica Andrade (20-8) face off in a flyweight battle between top contenders, with Andrade moving up from the strawweight division. Andrade (-164) comes in as a favorite over Chookagain (+138) in what could also prove to be a title eliminator.