Chan Sung Jung outpoints Dan Ige at UFC Fight Night to stay in title picture

LAS VEGAS — Chan Sung Jung kept his UFC featherweight title hopes alive on Saturday, as he defeated Dan Ige in a highly technical, highly competitive five-round affair.

Jung (17-6) outpointed Ige (15-4) on the official scorecards 49-46, 49-46 and 48-47. The 145-pound contest headlined UFC Fight Night inside the Apex.

The fight was probably closer than the final scores indicated. According to UFC Stats, Jung, also known as “Korean Zombie,” and Ige landed almost the exact same amount of strikes, with Jung landing 140 to Ige’s 138. Jung scored a knockdown in the second round, but Ige wobbled Jung with a left hand in the fifth.

“I wanted to show all my skills and the capabilities of becoming a champion,” Jung said via an interpreter. “I wanted to show everything and bring everything in this fight. In the fifth round, I wanted to do some kind of submission, so I do feel a little bit upset about that.”

Ige, who called for the fight against Jung well before it was finally made, accepted the defeat well.

“I went out there and fought my best,” Ige said. “I came in the absolute best, I have no excuses. Zombie is an absolute legend. I’ve been watching this guy since I graduated high school. He’s still one of the best in the world. That’s all I want is to test myself against the best in the world.”

While the action was very closely contested on the feet, it was Jung’s grappling advantage that dictated the result. Jung had a lot of success taking Ige to the floor, and took his back multiple times. He threatened rear-naked chokes in the third and fifth rounds, and banked control time in superior position.

Jung’s grappling also helped him any time the striking didn’t go his way. He took Ige down in the first round after eating a hard left uppercut, and then again in the fifth after Ige threatened to put him away with a left hook.

The third round was the most dominant frame of the fight, and it consisted of Jung taking Ige to the ground early and spending the majority of time on Ige’s back.

Saturday’s win was a much-needed result for Jung, 34, if he hopes to fight for a title again. The South Korean featherweight challenged Jose Aldo for the championship in 2013 and has been close to title contention since, but he was coming off a one-sided unanimous-decision loss to Brian Ortega in October.

Ige, who is from Hawai’i and trains out of Las Vegas, falls to 7-3 in the UFC. He won six in a row from 2018 to 2020, but has suffered losses in both of his main-event slots, against Jung and Calvin Kattar.

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