Dubai: A lot of things can happen to you when you’re out in the sporting wilderness. But if you can pick out the positives, like Brian Ortega did, it can only make you stronger.
Ortega (15-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC), who had not fought for close to two years after suffering a brutal stoppage loss to Max Holloway at UFC 231 in December 2018, delivered the performance of a lifetime at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi on Sunday morning to totally outclass ‘Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung (16-6 MMA, 6-3 UFC) and earn himself a potential shot at the flyweight champion Alexander Volkanovski.
The 28-year-old Mexican-American Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner was all over his South Korean opponent for all of 25 minutes pulling him apart with precision strikes, kicks and just about everything that MMA represents.
At the end, and after landing 129 significant strikes from 214 attempts against a confused Chan, he experienced the elation that he has been desperately seeking for when referee Lukasz Bosacki raised his hand.
There were no fans or friends at the Flash Forum due to the COVID-19 restrictions, but Ortega did not need the applause as he knew that he had done what he came here to do to lift his spirits after the Holloway setback and its subsequent repercussions.
“It feels good man,” he told UFC commentator Daniel Cormier. “I have one message for all of you who were counting me out … learn to count.
“I was counted out. I understand, you leave the game for two years, you get counted out. I’m here to remind everyone. It felt great to have this happen again, having your hand raised at this level is important, it’s the number one thing.
“I bet you I’ve got a bunch of Korean fans, because they just left Korean Zombie and now, they’re coming to me and then, if I lose, they go to the next person. We have short-term memory fans, I guess,” he said.
“For those of my fans who stayed with me, I love you guys and know that I truly appreciate you guys from the bottom of my heart. For those who switch up, pick someone, stay loyal, make us feel good about what we do.
When you’re in this game you take your chances, you don’t grow in the comfort zone,” said Ortega.
Meanwhile in the co-feature, former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade (21-8 MMA, 12-6 UFC) moved up to flyweight to make history with a brutal TKO of No 1 ranked Katlyn Chookagian (14-4 MMA, 7-4 UFC).
“It’s really good to reach our goals, we train for fights, so many years, we’ve run after this for so long and it’s really good to get in there and get a win,” said Brazil’s Andrade.
“It was really fun. I had a really good fight week. All happiness, very happy all over when. I used to fight at 135 and that’s how I used to feel, so it felt good. The girls are bigger, but I’m strong and I can go in there and compete with them.”
UFC Fight Island 6
Featherweight: Brian Ortega def. Chan Sung Jung via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
Women’s flyweight: Jessica Andrade def. Katlyn Chookagian via TKO — Round 1, 4:55
Light heavyweight: Jimmy Crute def. Modestas Bukauskas via knockout — Round 1, 2:01
Welterweight: James Krause def. Claudio Silva via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Bantamweight: Jonathan Martinez def. Thomas Almeida via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Lightweight: Guram Kutateladze def. Mateusz Gamrot via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Flyweight: Gillian Robertson def. Poliana Botelho via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)
Middleweight: Jun Yong Park def. John Phillips via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-25)
Lightweight: Fares Ziam def. Jamie Mullarkey via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Light heavyweight: Maxim Grishin def. Gadzhimurad Antigulov via TKO — Round 2, 4:58
Bantamweight: Said Nurmagomedov def. Mark Striegl via knockout — Round 1, 0:51