Event: UFC on ESPN+ 23: Edgar vs. The Korean Zombie
Location & Venue: Sajik Arena, Busan, South Korea
Date: Saturday, December 21st 2019
Start time: Main Card: 5 a.m. ET, Prelims 2 a.m. ET
Where to watch: Main Card on ESPN+ & Prelims on ESPN
Following last week’s thrilling UFC 245 pay-per-view, the UFC now looks to wrap up the year with a low-key fight night across the world in South Korea. The event looks to have some fun fights littered across it, and there’s plenty of lessor named talent who could step-up and announce themselves should they win in emphatic fashion. That being said, this card’s start time of 2am will likely keep many away from watching it live.
Let’s jump into my picks and predictions for UFC on ESPN+ 23: Edgar vs. The Korean Zombie!:
Ciryl Gane vs. Tanner Boser
Heavyweight (265 lbs) Preliminary Card Headliner
My first of two picks for this event comes in the card’s only heavyweight bout.
Ciryl Gane arrived in the UFC only a short time ago. He’s now 5-0 as a professional, with 2 UFC wins and all his victories coming via stoppages. He’s an elite kickboxer with athleticism that is rarely seen in heavyweight fighters. He’s proven that he’s one of the best on the feet in the division, and he’s already showing us new wrinkles to his game, as seen in his recent back-to-back submission victories.
Tanner Boser is not someone to overlook. He may be a relative newcomer to the UFC, with only one fight in the promotion, but he has a wealth of experience fighting on the regional circuit. He too is nimble on his feet and moves well in and out of the pocket, but his striking is nowhere near the level of Gane’s. I expect this fight to largely take place on the feet with Gane getting the better of the striking throughout. Gane’s calmness and patience will prove troublesome for Boser, as he’ll struggle to get much going offensively.
It’s generally a sweat betting heavyweight fights to go the distance, but there’s unmistakeable value here. Gane obviously has never been finished in MMA with a 5-0 record, but out of Boser’s five losses, he’s only lost once via KO and that was in March of 2015. Take this to go the distance, their styles suit a long starring match, and both guys don’t give me any cause for concern with their durability.
Pick: Fight Goes the Distance - 1 Unit @ +240 (to Return 3.4 Units)
Frankie Edgar vs. Chan Sung Jung
Featherweight (145 lbs) Main Event
Now heading all the way up to the card’s main event, we have Frankie Edgar facing Chan Sung Jung, otherwise known as The Korean Zombie.
At this point we know exactly what we’re getting with Edgar. He’s a long-stay in the UFC and the only unknowns we have with him are about his durability. He’s now 38, yet he still appears to be as quick as ever. If it weren’t for his knockout loss to Brian Ortega (the man he’s stepping into replace for this bout) in early 2018, then I believed he’d be the favorite for this bout. He’s still got all the skills; crisp boxing, solid wrestling game and unrelenting heart. It’s solely down to if you think he can withstand the punishment of fighting the featherweight division’s best anymore.
Chan Sung Jung, or Korean Zombie is a fan favorite and it’s easy to see why. He too has been in the UFC for a lengthy period of time, but unlike Frankie he’s had to adjust his style over the years. The reason he’s known as The Korean Zombie (TKZ), is because he used to walk through people’s punches without seeming phased in the slightest. It was partially due to his not very effective blocking, but it was also because he’s a little unhinged. Now he fights a lot smarter than he once did, much more calculated. If it wasn’t for his legendary last second KO loss to Yair Rodriguez, then I think he’d have already eclipsed a second featherweight title shot.
This is a very intriguing fight as it could play out a number of ways. TKZ could catch Edgar with something, but providing Edgar uses his evasive movement, I think he can stay out of danger. It’s always tough to go into someone else’s backyard and get the decision, but Frankie’s style is perfect for it. His wrestling can bank him close rounds if landed late, and if he lands them early then he can often hold his opponent down and take the round. Frankie’s never been subbed, and he doesn’t offer any real KO or submission threat that makes me think he could finish ‘Zombie. Take Frankie Edgar to win by decision. He’s still got the agility to outmanoeuvre hard early shots, and he should be able to win rounds definitively in order to get his hand raised.
Pick: Frankie Edgar via Decision – 1 Unit @ +275 (to Return 3.75 Units)
UFC on ESPN+ 23 Full Fight Card Predictions:
UFC on ESPN+ 23 Main Event Prediction:
Featherweight (145 lbs): Frankie Edgar vs. Chan Sung Jung – Frankie Edgar via Decision
UFC on ESPN+ 23 Main Card Predictions:
Light Heavyweight (205 lbs): Volkan Oezdemir vs. Aleksandar Rakić - Aleksandar Rakić via Decision
Featherweight (145 lbs): Doo Ho Choi vs. Charles Jourdain – Doo Ho Choi via Decision
Light Heavyweight (205 lbs): Mike Rodriguez vs. Da Un Jung – Mike Rodriguez via TKO
Middleweight (185 lbs): Marc-Andre Barriault vs. Jun Yong Park – Marc-André Barriault via Decision
Bantamweight (135 lbs): Kyung Ho Kang vs. Pingyuan Liu – Kyung Ho Kang via Submission
UFC on ESPN+ 23 Prelim Card Predictions:
Heavyweight (265 lbs): Ciryl Gane vs. Tanner Boser – Ciryl Gane via Decision
Featherweight (145 lbs): Suman Mokhtarian vs. Seung Woo Choi – Seung Woo Choi via TKO
Lightweight (155 lbs): Dong Hyun Ma vs. Omar Morales – Omar Morales via KO
Flyweight (125 lbs): Alexandre Pantoja vs. Matt Schnell – Alexandre Pantoja via TKO
Bantamweight (135lbs): Raoni Barcelos vs. Said Nurmagomedov – Raoni Barcelos via Decision
(W) Strawweight (115lbs): Amanda Lemos vs. Miranda Granger - Miranda Granger via TKO
Bantamweight (135lbs): Heili Alateng vs. Ryan Benoit - Ryan Benoit via TKO