The stakes have just been raised for Brian Ortega and The Korean Zombie ahead of their headlining clash at UFC Fight Night 180 with Dana White confirming that a featherweight title shot will await the winner of the bout.
“Yes, I think so,” White confirmed to Sports Illustrated. “First, this kid (The Korean Zombie) has superstar written all over him. He was called into the military in the prime of his career in South Korea. Then he gets out and has that incredible fight with Yair Rodriguez. He gets caught with one second left with that crazy elbow. He’s battled a couple injuries and had some bad luck along the way, but this is a big fight with Ortega.
“I’m excited it’s finally happening. Whoever wins this fight, it catapults one of these guys into a shot at the title.”
That’s good news for the No.2 ranked Ortega as he’s actually coming off a tough title fight loss against Max Holloway that saw him TKO’d in the fourth round – his first ever defeat.
Remarkably, it’s been almost two years since that fight, so ring rust could be a factor for him, though he could perhaps take heart from the fact that his opponent Chan Sung Jung spent three-and-a-half years on the sidelines due to military service and injuries, only to then return in 2017 with an emphatic first round KO victory over Dennis Bermudez.
The Zombie is heading into this fight in fine form as he’s stopped both Renato Moicano and Frankie Edgar in the first round via TKO in the past year, though this will be his first fight in 2020.