UFC Greenville Aftermath: Three Takeaways from South Carolina

UFC Denver Korean Zombie Yair Rodriguez UFC Greenville Chan Sung Jung
Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

UFC Greenville was this past weekend, here are some takeaways from the action-packed South Carolina card.

UFC Greenville took place Saturday from the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in South Carolina. Despite not being the biggest card in terms of rankings or star power, there’s still lots to discuss coming out of the ESPN+ card. In the main event, the Korean Zombie returned to action to demolish young contender Renato Moicano in less than a minute. In the co-main, we saw Randy Brown dominate Bryan Barberena, and finish him in the third round.

Here are three takeaways from Saturday night down south.

The Korean Zombie is still a contender

‘The Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung, despite only having seven UFC bouts, is one of the best featherweights of all-time. Jung has had an incredible run, and despite all of the issues with injuries and time off, Jung is still one of the best fighters at 145 pounds. Jung notably had to take two years off from the cage after his fight with Jose Aldo in 2013 due to South Korea’s mandatory military policy, forcing him to take two years off during his prime.

Following this, Jung returned to action in February 2017, taking on Dennis Bermudez in the main event of UFC Houston. Jung made quick work of the surging Bermudez, finishing him via strikes in the first round. Jung was then scheduled to face Ricardo Lamas at UFC 214, however, after a blown ACL/MCL in training, he was forced to pull out of the fight, and sit on the shelf for over a year. Another setback for the Korean fighter.

After his recovery from injury, Jung returned to action against Yair Rodriguez in the main event at the UFC’s 25th Anniversary card in Denver. Jung and Rodriguez went to war, and despite coming up short after a last-second miracle knockout by Yair, Jung still proved he was a top featherweight. After this, Jung faced Renato Moicano at UFC Greenville this past weekend, defeating the Brazilian in under a minute via TKO.

Through all of the injuries and time off, it’s remarkable that Jung is as good as he is. Just as his nickname suggests, the man is a zombie, and you can’t keep him down.

Luis Pena is a weird, but interesting prospect

Luis Pena has had a strange UFC career so far, entering the promotion through The Ultimate Fighter, Pena looked phenomenal in the house prior to an injury that derailed his chances of winning the show. Despite this, the AKA-based fighter was given a shot on TUF Finale show, where he defeated Richie Smullen via submission early in round one. Just like that, ‘Violent Bob Ross’ had arrived.

However, Pena struggled, losing his next fight to Michael Trizano via split decision later that year. Following this tough loss, Pena would announce that he was going to make the switch to the featherweight division. There was plenty of skepticism following this announcement, as many didn’t think the 6’3″ fighter could make it with his large frame and size. Turns out, the skeptics were right.

Pena missed weight for his fight with Steven Peterson, and while he went on to win the fight via decision, there was plenty of controversy coming out of the bout due to Pena’s weight issues. After his fight with Peterson, Pena was forced to move back up to lightweight. Pena was then matched up with former top lightweight Matt Wiman, Wiman hadn’t fought since 2014, however, he was a top-15 fighter when he left.

Pena dominated his older foe, finishing him via TKO in the third round this past weekend. Luis Pena has had a very weird UFC career so far, it’ll be interesting to see how far he goes. However, with lightweight being the shark tank that it is, it may take him some time before we see him against a ranked fighter.

Jairzinho Rozenstruik is very much a legit heavyweight.

Jairzinho Rozenstruik is an undefeated heavyweight, sitting at 8-0 with seven of those wins being finishes, he’s one of the UFC’s most interesting heavyweight prospects. Rozenstruik originally began fighting in 2012, however, after winning his first two bouts, he took five years off. After that layoff, Rozenstruik returned looking better than ever, soon making his way to the UFC at the beginning of 2019.

The former RIZIN fighter entered the Octagon in February of this year, facing the Brazilian Junior Albini in enemy territory at Fortaleza. Rozenstruik made a statement, defeating Albini via second-round TKO. Following this, Rozenstruik was matched up with Allen Crowder at UFC Greenville. Despite Crowder coming off of an infamous victory over Greg Hardy earlier in the year, Rozenstruik went into the fight as the favorite.

Rozenstruik then made good on the betting odds, as he only needed nine seconds to defeat Crowder via KO. Knocking Crowder down with a perfectly placed left hook, he then followed up with ground-and-pound to put Crowder out, and secure the second-fastest knockout in heavyweight history. For his efforts, Rozenstruik also got a performance bonus of the night.

Just basing off of his two Octagon appearances so far, Jairzinho Rozenstruik has shown potential in spades and looks like he can be a future challenger in a barren heavyweight division.

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