After a week off, the UFC visits Greenville, S.C., for ESPN 12 on Saturday. This card lacks name recognition and overall pop, but the co-main and main event are matched as top striking battles. The victor between highly ranked featherweights will be vaulted into championship contention.
RENATO ‘MOICANO’ CARNEIRO -200 VS.
CHAN SUNG JUNG ‘KOREAN ZOMBIE’ 175
Featherweight (145 pounds) Main event
Both of these featherweight freewheelers arrive off devastating losses, though for each the damage was different. Moicano the Brazilian and The Zombie from South Korea have demons to fight and mental and physical disadvantages to overcome when they face off in what is sure to be a good, oldfashioned southern throwdown.
I handicap The Zombie as a highly strategic, competitive, intelligent mixed martial artist. He is versed in Hapkido, Kickboxing, Taekwondo, Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Jung served in Korea’s military during what should have been his prime, which reinforces to me that we have a mature fighting machine on this side.
The Zombie is taking a relatively substantial step up in class. He has been relatively inactive having only a couple of fights since 2013. His last bout in November 2018 against a nominally talented Yair Rodriguez ended with Jung getting KO’d in the final seconds after justifiably winning the fight up until that point. The Zombie has the will, the heart and the wellrounded game, but he gives up a lot to Moicano physically.
Moicano has faced far superior competition and has earned a 5-2 UFC record since Jung left for service. Moicano is the younger, longer and taller fighter off his own devastating loss to Jose Aldo (both men have been starched by Aldo). In Moicano’s case, this loss was not as detrimental to him physically as it was mentally. Moicano was eaten alive before that fight with Aldo and showed up with nothing to offer but a submissive attitude and little firepower.
In an earlier fight against former champion Brian Ortega, Moicano totally painted Ortega’s fence for two rounds and was dominating the fight before the wily Ortega submitted the overly aggressive Moicano as he rushed in to engage.
Moicano opened -165 for this fight, and that’s right where I believe this line should be. The Zombie is going to have to grind on, wear on and press Moicano into backing up and constantly fighting as Jung’s advantages will be his ability to force this fight on Moicano and take him into the later rounds, where his cardio and volume may wear on the weak-minded frontrunner.
Moicano, for his part, needs to maintain distance and use precision-based combination striking to batter the incoming Zombie and take the fight out of him by accruing combinations on the forward pressing Zombie.
Neither man has “one punch” power in him, which is why this fight is going to be compelling.
Moicano is a play at -165, but no higher so I’m forced to pass here. As of noon Tuesday, the total for the fight has not been released. I handicap this fight to reach Round 3 or 4 without issue, so the total may hold some value once released.
My record this year on these main event breakdowns stands 7-10 for -2.9 units.
The goal is to end the 2019 campaign profitable for Point Spread Weekly readers, so we’ll simply have to pass on some of these fights when I do not perceive advantage or value.
I’ll have a full breakdown on this card later this week at GambLou.com.