TNT Sports Reload - Episode 13Oct 10
The featherweights take centre stage on BT Sport this weekend as we bring you exclusive coverage of UFC Fight Night: The Korean Zombie vs Dan Ige on Saturday evening.
With a bumper six-fight main card expected from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, we should not be short of action from the Octagon.
Here’s all the good stuff to look out for heading into this weekend’s card.
See you at the crossroads
The main event this weekend sees two men at different stages of their UFC journey go toe-to-toe with rankings sure to budge on Saturday night.
Ranked number four in the 145lb division after defeat to the next featherweight title challenger Brian Ortega last time out, Chan Sung Jung, aka The Korean Zombie, has been a mainstay of the 145lb scene for what feels like forever.
His only attempt at the belt ended in defeat in 2013 when he came up short against Jose Aldo and the 34-year-old was well on his way to earning a second crack at the championship before coming unstuck against Ortega.
Renowned for his thrilling style and Octagon aggression, Jung has forged a legacy built on exciting fights – but in the latter stages of a gruelling career, does he have enough left in the tank to rebuild once more?
Ige, meanwhile, is riding the crest of a wave heading in the opposing direction with the Hawaiian fighter coming off the back of a career-best performance last time out.
The 29-year-old, who sits eighth in the current lightweight rankings, stopped Gavin Tucker in 22 seconds last time out, rebounding from his loss to Calvin Kattar in the best way possible.
That result means the heavy-handed Ige is now 7-1 in his last eight fights and will be knocking on the door of the top five with another win on Saturday night.
‘A Disney story’
“My fights are like a Disney story – they all go wrong in the middle but it comes right at the end!”
Davey Grant surmised his recent UFC win streak in perfect terms after he stormed to a second successive KO victory against Jonathan Martinez last time out.
The 35-year-old from Darlington has found a new lease of life in recent times after a poor start to his UFC career left him 1-3.
Now riding a three-fight win streak, the picture looks a little different for the affable bantamweight and he’ll look to claim the biggest scalp of his career on Saturday night against Marlon Vera.
Grant already has one win over Vera in the UFC, defeating the Venezuelan on the scorecards back in 2016.
But since then, Vera has fought 13 times to Grant’s five and looks an entirely different fighter to the one who lost at London’s O2 Arena.
Coming into the bout off the back of defeat to Jose Aldo, Vera will be keen to rediscover some winning momentum.
Grant will have his work cut out looking for a third straight knockout win with Vera never having been knocked out or submitted in any of his seven career defeats.
This one should be a cracker!
The end of the immortal?
Matt Brown makes his 28th UFC walk on Saturday night as he prepares to face fellow TUF alumni Dhiego Lima and the 40-year-old knows anything less than a win could see his time in the promotion come to an end.
A legend of the game for more than 15 years, Brown has shared the Octagon with some of the very best fighters around.
But with just three wins from his last 10 fights, the Ohio man knows father time will come knocking on his door soon enough.
Even so, Brown remains a capable assignment and will be confident he can secure a fairytale victory to bring the curtain down on a storied career in the UFC.
Playing the role of party pooper on Saturday night, Dhiego Lima will be desperate to secure a win himself after being beaten by Belal Muhammad on his last assignment.
Prior to that fight. It had look as though Lima, whose brother Douglas is the former Bellator champion, had finally found some consistency in his UFC career, riding a three-fight win streak.
In a strange twist of fate, the fight brings Lima face-to-face with one of his coaches from TUF 25 – although the 32-year-old believes Brown would have urged him not to think twice about accepting the fight.
"I thought about it ]the fight] and I was like 'man, I like the guy'. I have so much history but he would be the first one to say 'you better take it. I don't care, we'll fight',” Lima told Sportskeeda.
“He's that type of guy. He brings toughness. I know what he brings, I know how he is, he doesn't care what's going on with him. He's training and he's training hard.”
Ain't nothin' but a number!
Russia’s Aleksei Oleinik looks to secure the 60th win of his professional mixed martial arts career when he takes on Sergei Spivac on Saturday night.
Now 43 – and showing no sign he’s ready to stop any time soon – Oleinik remains one of the most active heavyweights on the roster.
He’s been made to wait to reach the next landmark milestone of an extraordinary career having dropped his last two fights to Derrick Lewis and Chris Daukaus and faces yet another tough test in a man 17 years his junior.
Spivac – who had once been set to face Britain’s Tom Aspinall on Fight Island last year only to be ruled out by injury – is 12-2 across his career and comes into the bout riding a two-fight win skid.
The Moldovan, nicknamed Polar Bear, will have one eye on snatching Oleinik’s spot at number 15 if he can pull off a third straight win.