MMA Odds and Ends for Tuesday: Korean Zombie Takes Leave Of Absence From MMA

Chan-Sung-Jung MMA fans better get used to a life with The Korean Zombie, at least for the foreseeable future. Chan Sung Jung revealed yesterday that he is taking a two-year absence from MMA due to a mandatory military commitment in his native South Korea. South Korea requires its males to fulfill two years of military service, and while Jung has been lucky enough up until this point not to have had to do it, his luck ran out and MMA fans will get the short end of the stick as one of the most exciting fighters in the sport won’t return until 2016 at the earliest. Personally I am saddened by this news as I enjoy watching Jung fight. His three-fight stretch in his first three UFC fights — wins over Leonard Garcia (submission via Twister), Mark Hominick (seven-second KO), and Dustin Poirier (submission via D’arce choke) — was one of the most exciting and unexpected stretches of violence MMA fans have seen in a long time, and I’ll never forget those finishes, especially the Twister over Garcia, which I consider one of the best submissions in UFC history. Those three highlight-reel wins earned Jung a shot at UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, and he fought the champ at UFC 163 last summer, but he blew his shoulder out in the fight and lost by TKO. He hasn’t competed since then, recently pulling out of a fight against Akira Corassani, and now with this latest news that he’ll be out of action for two years, it will likely be three-plus years in between fights for The Zombie — that is, if he even fights again. He says he plans on it, but who knows what happens with his military service time. In addition to The Korean Zombie leaving MMA for two years, there was also one new UFC fight announced yesterday… Aljamain Sterling vs. Frankie Saenz, UFC Fight Night 55 The UFC yesterday announced the final fight for the upcoming UFC Fight Night 55 card is a three-round bantamweight bout between Aljamain Sterling and Frankie Saenz. The card takes places November 8 at Allphones Arena in Sydney, Australia, and Sterling vs. Saenz is expected to be one of the Fight Pass preliminary bouts. It’s nice to see Sterling get back into the cage one more time in 2014 as I believe his ceiling is extremely high, but I can’t help but think this matchup is a step backwards for him. Sure, Saenz picked up a win in his UFC debut over Nolan Ticman over the summer, but I think anyone who follows the sport knows that Sterling is one of the top prospects at 135lbs, while Saenz’ ceiling is more or less that of a gatekeeper. I’m trying to understand why the UFC thought this was a good matchup to make next, and can’t — to me, it’s just a way to keep Sterling fresh as I believe he’s destined for big things in 2015. As for a betting line here, Saenz is a tough guy but he’s in way over his head against Sterling and I expect the betting line to reflect that. Look for Sterling to be a huge favorite here, perhaps in the -600 range or maybe even higher, as he looks to claim another highlight-reel victory on his resume and move one step forward in the UFC bantamweight division.

Written by Adam Martin.

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