After an exciting UFC 263, we’re turning the page on UFC Vegas 29, a 14-fight card featuring athletes from 13 countries. Last week there was a spacious 30 foot octagon in Glendale, Arizona. On Saturday, the fighters will face off in the 25-foot cage. It is a substantial difference.
Chan Sung Jung +105 vs. Dan Ige -125
Main Event Featherweight (145 lbs)
Ige, a native of Hawaii, is ranked eighth in the division. The 29-year-old is a complete fighter with an NCAA Division III wrestling base supplemented by a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and a brown belt in judo. He also made impressive improvements in his strikes. Ige is well-rounded, has good feet, superior cardio, and poor willpower.
Jung, aka “The Korean Zombie,” is decorated in judo, hapkido, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and tae kwon do. In addition, Jung is mature and centered. He interrupted his career for two years in 2014 to serve in the Korean military. Jung is primarily a standing striker, and although he’s colorful and aggressive offensively, he can be a bit wild with his strikes. This can and often exposes him to counterattacks (see his loss to Yair Rodriguez).
Jung faced an elite level of competition, and his wealth of experience surely put him in a position to compete effectively with Ige. He also spent his camp in Phoenix visiting the MMA Lab as well as Fight Ready, where he spent time with striking trainer Eddie Cha.
Training in Phoenix gives the Zombie a great workout in a gym with multiple training partners equipped with different styles. The proximity to Las Vegas also means it won’t have to put up with an overseas flight.
In this fight, I see a few specialist strike scholars competing against each other in a highly skilled but perhaps not too physical battle of finesse, precision, and speed.
Over time, I believe that Ige will part ways using her struggle to drain the Zombie and then profit late on her feet when the 34-year-old Jung starts to slow down. These men are physically similar, but Ige is five years younger.
Recommendation: Ige -125.
Sergey Spivak -225 v Aleksei Oleinik +190
Main Heavyweight Co-Event (265 lbs)
Fifteenth-ranked Oleinik will be 44 in a few weeks and although he has a heart of a lion and a mastery of Brazilian jiu-jitsu like few others in the organization, he also has a balsa mouthpiece.
Taking on taller, younger, more powerful and explosive men in heavyweights as he typically hits the octagon at around 238 pounds and sporting that glass jawbone is daring to say the least. Oleinik has to hang on to his opponents for any chance of winning, which comes through submission. His advanced age, smaller frame, and singularly dimensional approach to combat make Oleinik almost obsolete in today’s MMA environment.
Spivak is similar in size to Oleinik, but 18 years younger. He is much more adept in combat arms than Oleinik, although Spivak is not as specialized in a field of combat as Oleinik is with Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Spivak is a Moldavian-Ukrainian and Oleinik was born in Ukraine. The fact that the UFC picked a Ukrainian in Spivak to end the illustrious career of another Ukrainian shows how cold sport can be at times.
I expect Spivak to keep his distance and end up grabbing the older, more deliberate but handsome fighter as he tries to move forward to engage.
Recommendation: Lean Spivak via KO / TKO -135.