UFC 163 Preview: Jose Aldo vs. Korean Zombie Head-to-Toe Breakdown
Aldo (22-1) is currently undefeated in his last 15 bouts. This will be his eighth straight title fight, and his fifth defense of the UFC Featherweight Championship.
The Korean Zombie (13-3) gets the title shot by virtue of an injury to Anthony Pettis. Jung has won three straight fights in the Octagon, and all have been finishes. That includes a 2011 Submission of the Year contender and a 2012 Fight of the Year contender with Dustin Poirier.
The featherweight tilt will headline the card, and there will be several interested parties watching. The dominant No. 3-ranked pound-for-pound great will seek to make a statement that he owns the division, while the challenger will try to stun the hostile crowd with a win.
This is your UFC 163 head-to-toe preview of the featherweight championship bout.
Chan Sung Jung has shown an ability to take a lot of punishment. He has shown he can throw quality strikes as well.
But not against Jose Aldo.
Jung has three (T)KO victories on his record—including a seven-second KO over Mark Hominick. Aldo, on the other hand, has made a career off highlight knockouts.
The Brazilian's kicks are devastating. A few of his cleanly landed low kicks can alter a fight. Ask Urijah Faber.
The power edge, the technique and the diversity all go to Aldo. He is one of the premier strikers in the sport today. His stand-up is exciting, and the fight could be stopped at any time with one clean strike.
The striking edge is clearly in Aldo's favor.
Neither fighter goes into a fight looking for takedown after takedown. They are not dominant wrestlers who want to ground-and-pound their opponent, but they are two very skilled grapplers in various positions.
Jung is going to have a very difficult time getting this to the ground if he wants to seek a submission.
Aldo has some of the very best takedown defense in the sport. Excellent wrestlers such as Chad Mendes and Frankie Edgar found it difficult to take him down, and even when he hits the floor, Aldo pops back up in a flash.
Aldo's strength should also give him an advantage in the clinch. He can switch positions against the fence and push off to gain separation if he so chooses. Jung is skilled himself, but Aldo is just better in these areas.
One thing we hear about and never see is Aldo's submission skills. He is supposed to be an outstanding Brazilian jiu-jitsu artist, but he chooses to use his power striking instead of seeking the tap.
Will we see it against The Korean Zombie?
History says no.
If you ask me who I believe has the better submission skills, I'll tell you Aldo. However, this isn't about belief. It is about what has been shown inside the cage.
The Korean Zombie has proved his submission acumen in fights.
Two of his three UFC bouts have been won via submission, and they were impressive. His length gives him many options, and he has shown a wide array of submission skills. The twister finish earned him Submission of the Year honors.
Due to his proven track record, one has to give an edge to Jung.
Edge: The Korean Zombie
Aldo's X-Factor: Leg Kicks
There are only a few fighters in the UFC with his kicking ability. There are various quality kickers in the organization, but it only takes a handful of well-placed leg kicks to change the fight.
This makes Aldo very dangerous to fight.
His low leg kicks take out the wheels of his opponents. In the featherweight division, that's very important. Speed is the name of the game. He neutralizes his opposition, and it makes them sitting ducks for a KO machine. If he can limit Jung's movement, this will be a short championship fight.
The Korean Zombie's X-Factor: Cardio
If there has been one criticism of Aldo's game, it is that he often fades late in fights. Can Jung survive into the later rounds?
If he can drag this fight out into the championship rounds with better cardio than Aldo, he will have the ability to get a submission. He can try to take over in the final 10 minutes of action. He just needs to not be down too badly on the scorecards, where it makes little difference.
The Korean Zombie will be looking for an early finish, but he should be prepared to go deep into the fight against a fighter who often slows in the later frames.
I want to believe this will be competitive. I want to believe The Korean Zombie hype so that I think the main event this Saturday will be a classic battle.
I just can't make that leap.
In spite of his UFC performances, I cannot shake the images of The Korean Zombie getting flattened by George Roop, nor can I erase the pictures of him being repeatedly tagged in the striking department against Leonard Garcia.
Aldo is head and shoulders above those fighters in the stand-up. Jung's striking defense needs to be top notch, and it is not. If they reached Jung's noggin with strike after strike, Aldo will too.
The Korean Zombie is going to get absolutely starched by the champion this Saturday. I expect another highlight KO to be added to Aldo's reel.
Prediction: Aldo defeats The Korean Zombie by KO in the first round