MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 23, a five-round featherweight bout between Chan Sung Jung and Frankie Edgar. The event takes place on Saturday, December 21 at Sajik Arena in Busan, South Korea.
Chan Sung Jung (-160)
Jung (15-5) is one of the top featherweights on the UFC roster. The 32-year-old South Korean is one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC and he has an overall record of 5-2 in the Octagon. Jung was forced to miss four years of his prime between 2013 and 2017 due to mandatory military service in his home country, but since returning to action he’s 2-1 with knockout wins over Dennis Bermudez and Renato Moicano and a shocking last-second KO loss to Yair Rodriguez in one of the greatest fights of all time. In fact, all seven of Jung’s UFC fights have ended inside the distance, including a notable tapout win over Dustin Poirier. Win or lose, Jung is always involved in exciting fights. On the feet, he has a ton of KO power and on the ground, he has elite submission skills. If he’s able to stay healthy and start fighting on a more consistent basis he could very well make a run for the UFC featherweight title.
Frankie Edgar (+140)
Edgar (22-7-1) is the former UFC lightweight champion. The 38-year-old American was planning on dropping down to bantamweight but decided to stick at featherweight to save this card when Brian Ortega pulled out with an injury. Edgar has been fighting the best in the world since making his UFC debut way back in 2007. He has an all-time record of 17-7-1 in the UFC with wins over the likes of Yair Rodriguez, Jeremy Stephens, Chad Mendes, Urijah Faber, Charles Oliveira, and BJ Penn three times. Edgar has had such a long career with his combination of elite wrestling skills and technical boxing skills. It’s allowed him to have success for years at both 155lbs and 145lbs, but in the later stages of career, we may finally be seeing Edgar slowing down. It’s hard to say for sure just how much Edgar has left in the tank, and this weekend’s fight will tell us a lot about that.
Fight Breakdown: I don’t like this matchup for Edgar. Jung has looked to be in top form as of late while I believe Edgar is on a decline in his career. Edgar took this fight on short notice at 145lbs despite preparing to fight Cory Sandhagen at 135lbs next month. I’m just not exactly sure why Edgar decided to stick around at featherweight if his original plan was to move to bantamweight. While Edger certainly has the wrestling skills to make this fight interesting, I believe Jung will be able to keep the fight standing, and on the feet, I would give Jung a big advantage as far as pure power goes. Jung has 25 minutes to get the finish and I believe he does just that, getting a knockout win to send the fans in South Korea hope happy.
Prediction: Chan Sung Jung wins via TKO