John Locher/Associated Press
Brian Ortega shaved his head and took on a new form in a unanimous-decision win over “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung in the main event of UFC Fight Night 180 from Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Saturday.
After nearly two years away from the cage because of injuries, Ortega looked like a completely different striker than the version Max Holloway defeated in December 2018.
Ortega struck first in the opening round. The two engaged in a kickboxing match for the first five minutes. T-City caught a body kick from Korean Zombie and floored him with a left hand. However, Jung landed some right hands of his own in the round.
ESPN MMA @espnmma
Catch and fire 💥
@BrianTcity put Zombie on the canvas in Round 1 at #UFCFightIsland6 https://t.co/wJEH7EEp0U
Jung appeared to make some adjustments in Round 2. He was able to land more regularly as he made sense of the spacing, but a spinning elbow from Ortega changed the complexion of the round. He floored his opponent again and followed up with some time in top position to steal the round.
THE SPINNING ELBOW 🤯
🔥 Ortega and Zombie are starting to trade!
[ #UFCFightIsland6 | #InAbuDhabi | @VisitAbuDhabi ] https://t.co/FTmFbvxXom
True to his name, Zombie continued to wade through the shots that Ortega continued to land. The toughness never translated into much aggression, though, as Ortega’s development as a striker took center stage.
Jung’s trademark power was never a factor in the fight, as Ortega put together the best striking performance of his career.
After a long time away from the cage, Ortega certainly inserted himself back into the title picture. Rather than suffering from ring rust and struggling to regain his composure after a loss to Holloway, Ortega looked rejuvenated and reinvented as a title contender.
The important bantamweight fight wasn’t the only thing that went down in Abu Dhabi. The women’s flyweight division had an important fight between Jessica Andrade and Katlyn Chookagian, while two big-time prospects in the light heavyweight division had a scrap.
Here are the complete results and a closer look at all of the main card action.
- Brian Ortega def. Chan Sung Jung by unanimous decision (50-45 x3)
- Jessica Andrade def. Katlyn Chookagian by TKO at 4:55 of Round 1
- Jim Crute def. Modestas Bukauskas by KO at 2:01 of Round 1
- James Krause def. Claudio Silva by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
- Jonathan Martinez def. Thomas Almeida by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
- Guram Kutateladze def. Mateusz Gamrot by split decision (28-29, 29-28 x2)
- Gillian Robertson def. Poliana Botelho by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27 x2)
- Jun Yong Park def. John Phillips by unanimous decision (30-25 x3)
- Fares Ziam def. Jamie Mullarkey by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
- Maxim Grishin def. Gadzhimurad Antigulov by TKO at 4:58 of Round 2
- Said Nurmagomedov def. Mark Striegl by TKO at 0:51 of Round 1
Jessica Andrade def. Katlyn Chookagian
The women’s flyweight division has a new contender in Jessica Andrade. Moving up to the 125-pound division after back-to-back losses at 115 pounds, the Brazilian moved up a weight class, and the early results look good.
She scored a TKO win over the No. 1-ranked Katlyn Chookagian with five seconds left in the opening round.
Andrade, who was giving up eight inches of height, did a tremendous job closing the distance and beating up Chookagian in the clinch. However, it was a body shot that drew the finish. A hook to the ribs had Chookagian shelled up on the mat and drew the stoppage.
SHE’S COMING FOR THE BELT 🏆
🇧🇷 @JessicaMMAPro stops the No. 1 contender in ONE ROUND.
[ Main event next on #ESPNPlus ] https://t.co/WTpWE2lSlD
Chookagian’s last loss came against Valentina Shevchenko in a title fight. The reigning champion is in need of new contenders, as she has already beaten most of the deserving contenders in the division.
Andrade could find herself getting paired up with Bullet soon after that performance.
Jim Crute def. Modestas Bukauskas
Jim Crute is capable of slick submissions on the ground and simply outboxing opponents to a decision. He’s also capable of erasing someone in the first round with his fists. That’s what Modestas Bukauskas found out in their light heavyweight tilt.
Bukauskas committed to a kick but was intercepted by a massive right hand from the 24-year-old that sent him tumbling to the mat. His attempt to get up was met with a follow-up uppercut and more vicious strikes that put the fight away.
The aftermath was a combination of him checking on Bukauskas, sitting by his opponent and leaving the cage to talk with Dana White.
ESPN MMA @espnmma
“That was a good one, kid.”
@danawhite liked what he saw from @CruteJim 😄 #UFCFightIsland6 https://t.co/6EZhAOqVBk
He should certainly be on the UFC president’s radar with this performance. Bukauskas is an interesting prospect in his own right, but Crute just bulldozed right through him.
In a division that now has Jan Blachowicz as the champion, Crute could be a crucial piece in the near and distant future.
James Krause def. Claudio Silva
A possible knee injury and a dangerous Claudio Silva couldn’t keep James Krause out of the win column. The 34-year-old was the more precise and accurate striker to get the nod from the judges after three rounds of action.
ESPN MMA @espnmma
“My knee’s torn.”
@TheJamesKrause informs his coaches about an injury after the first round at #UFCFightIsland6 https://t.co/0ukV0b1mNa
Silva is a dangerous submission artist and was able to get Krause in some advantageous positions on the ground, but nothing materialized. When the fight was on the feet, though, it was Krause’s world. Silva’s looping, telegraphed shots made him ripe for the picking.
Krause landed a right hand in the first that seemed to stun Silva, but he regained his composure, survived the round and kept pressing forward for the next two rounds.
This is an impressive win for Krause. Silva is an underrated opponent who had a 14-fight win streak, including five wins in the UFC. The only reason he wasn’t a bigger name coming into this fight is his inactivity, as he only has five fights in the last six years.
Still, it’s a quality win for Krause, who has found success at welterweight.
Jonathan Martinez def. Thomas Almeida
Thomas Almeida will have to wait even longer to pick up his first win since 2016. The former hot prospect dropped another fight, this time finding himself on the wrong side of a striking clinic from Jonathan Martinez.
Martinez was the much sharper fighter through three rounds. Even when Almeida found a home for his strikes, it usually came at the cost of getting hit more and harder by his opponent.
Trading shots! 🔄
A quick knee catches Almeida as he delivers a left 😳
[ #InAbuDhabi | @VisitAbuDhabi ] https://t.co/zPCP7MPMzp
The 26-year-old isn’t quite on the hot streak that Almeida once was when he was a younger fighter, but he’s making some progress of his own. This is his fourth win in five fights with the only loss coming in a split decision against Andre Ewell.
A win over Almeida isn’t as exciting as it once was, but it still takes a certain level of striking to get it done. Martinez showed he was more than up for the task and is worth keeping an eye on as he takes on bigger and better challenges.