Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC / Contributor (Getty Images)
When the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) celebrates its 25th anniversary, it will do so with a zombie leading the parade.
Chan Sung Jung, a.k.a “The Korean Zombie,” will collide with Yair Rodriguez in the UFC Fight Night 139 main event on Saturday at the Pepsi Center in Denver — the same city from which the powerhouse mixed martial arts promotion originated in 1993. Meanwhile, Donald Cerrone locks horns with Mike Perry in the three-round co-headliner at 170 pounds.
His career interrupted by a series of injuries and a mandatory two-year stint in the South Korean military, Jung remains one of the UFC’s most trusted action heroes. However, the 31-year-old has not competed since February 2017, when he knocked out Dennis Bermudez 2:49 into the first round of their brief encounter at UFC Fight Night 104. Jung has delivered 12 of his 14 career victories by knockout, technical knockout, or submission.
Rodriguez has recorded eight wins across his past nine outings. A short-notice fill-in for the injured Frankie Edgar — ironically, the last man to defeat him — the taekwondo black belt has buoyed his resume with victories over former two-division UFC champion B.J. Penn, The Ultimate Fighter Season 12 quarterfinalist Alex Caceres and Team Alpha Male’s Andre Fili. Rodriguez, 24, has captured four post-fight performance bonuses in seven appearances inside the Octagon.
UFC Fight Night “Korean Zombie vs. Rodriguez” — which airs live on Fox Sports 1 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT — also features a women’s strawweight clash pairing Raquel Pennington with Germaine de Randamie, a flyweight confrontation pitting Joseph Benavidez against Ray Borg, a women’s strawweight affair matching Maycee Barber with Hannah Cifers and a lightweight duel slotting Mike Trizano opposite Luis Pena. Fox Sports 1 (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) and UFC Fight Pass (6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT) will share coverage of the seven-fight undercard.
Across the globe, One Championship will get back to business with “Heart of the Lion” on Friday at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore. A featherweight title fight between longtime champion Bibiano Fernandes and Filipino challenger Kevin Belingon shoulders the marquee for the promotion, which made waves in recent weeks by adding former UFC champions Eddie Alvarez and Demetrious Johnson to its stable. One Championship “Heart of the Lion” streams live and free to the One Super App at 7 a.m. ET/4 a.m. PT, available on Android and iOS platforms.
On the regional circuit, the Legacy Fighting Alliance organization will return to the stage with LFA 53 on Friday at the Comerica Theatre in Phoenix. In the featured slot, Brandon Royval toes the line against Casey Kenney for the interim flyweight crown. AXS-TV will carry the event live at 9 p.m. ET.