That’s what you can expect come Saturday night when the two headliners make the walk in the night’s main event. Fan favorite, and no stranger to the main event slot, No. 4 “Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung (16-6) will make the final walk of the night and face No. 8 Dan “50K” Ige (15-3). You can expect nothing but a war, and it's no secret the two will be headhunting for that highlight-reel knockout, wrapping the night in Las Vegas from the UFC Apex.
The card also pairs elite submission specialist No. 15 Alexsei Oleinik, where he will enter his 76th professional fight, facing rising heavyweight Serghei Spivac (12-2), who will look to avoid the incoming chokes and finish the fight himself via strikes. No. 15 Marlon Vera (18-7-1) will also get a shot to revenge a decision loss to Davey Grant (11-4) in a fight that took place five years ago. 12 fights in total make up the card, and it will be broadcast live from the Apex, and available on ESPN+.
You know the drill, so let's dive in.
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UFC Fight Night: The Korean Zombie vs. Ige
DATE: Saturday, June 19th
VENUE: UFC APEX
LOCATION: Las Vegas, Nevada
MAIN CARD TAKES, PREDICTIONS & BETS
FEATHERWEIGHT (145 LBS): No. 4 CHAN SUNG JUNG (16-6) VS. No. 8 DAN IGE (15-3)
The Korean Zombie now makes it eight straight main event walks here on Saturday night and for good reason. The No. 4 ranked featherweight is always one to bank on for bringing a war out of his opponent. Standing across from him will be new father Dan Ige, who’s fresh off a 22-second mauling of Gavin Tucker back in March, and is making a quick rebound from his close decision loss to Calvin Kattar two fights ago. Prior to the loss to Kattar, Ige had strung six wins in a row, with his biggest against the always dangerous Edson Barboza.
Since returning from his three-year hiatus from the Octagon due to mandatory military service, the Korean Zombie has gone 3-2, with knockout wins over Frankie Edgar, Renato Moicano, and Dennis Bermudez. He also had Yair Rodriguez all but clearly beat, until taking a hail mary up-elbow with just seconds to go in their fight, which led to a devastating KO loss after an amazing performance. Most recently, he was defeated decisively by the next title challenger, Brian Ortega, in a fight where he was dropped twice and was outlanded 127-62 in significant strikes. Simply read those stats, or go back and re-watch the Ortega fight, and you will see just why he gets his nickname as The Korean Zombie. The guy just has this crazy ability to absorb shots and keep marching forward, which in my opinion, won’t fair well against Dan Ige.
Ige has proven his toughness, going the distance in a close fight against elite striker Calvin Kattar, while also defeating Edson Barboza and his nasty leg kicks. Although The Korean Zombie has fantastic boxing, if he can’t get you out of there early, he becomes very hittable and easier to figure out as time presses on. Ige has wrestling that he can go to as well, and while the Korean Zombie has excellent takedown defense, I could see Ige pressing and getting this one down, just as Ortega did on three occasions. Both guys will have the volume, but I give the edge to Ige with his power and durability with this being five rounds to work.
The Korean Zombie has been knocked down in three of his last four losses, while Ige has only been knocked down once and never finished across an 18 fight professional career. I’m a big Korean Zombie fan, but Ige has looked better than ever on this latest run, and I expect him to get the nod in this matchup.
Prediction: Dan Ige
Bet: Dan Ige -115
HEAVYWEIGHT (265 LBS): #15 ALEKSEI OLEINIK (59-15-1) VS. SERGHEI SPIVAC (12-2)
Oleinik enters with 46 submissions and 59 victories. Massively impressive for the 43-year-old, yet father time and the chin just aren’t holding up at this point. He is so sneaky and considering he’s even submitting guys from the bottom, you just never know with him. What I do know though is Spivak has never been submitted and has only lost twice in his career to ranked fighters in Marcin Tybura and Walt Harris. Oleynik really turtles up when he gets hit, and his reactions when his opponents land just doesn’t look good at all in the eyes of the judges. I’m fairly confident the judges can probably take this fight off though, as oddsmakers have an 85% probability that this one won't go all three rounds and I agree.
Prediction: Serghei Spivac
BANTAMWEIGHT (135 LBS): #15 MARLON VERA (18-7-1) VS. DAVEY GRANT (11-4)
I have faded Grant on three straight fights and he continues to take my money. It's one of those spots where normal folks would pump the breaks and just pass, but not me. I’m going in and getting my money back with the help of Marlon “Chito” Vera here.
Vera is looking to rebound off his most recent fight, a loss to Jose Aldo, where he out-landed the legend, yet was controlled on the mat for almost the full five minutes of the third round. Consequently, that swayed the judges to a 29-28 nod for Aldo. Vera has to be amped and looking to finish this one just as he did against Sean O’Malley prior to the Aldo match-up. Now although Vera isn’t known for big power in his hands, Grant has been knocked down in three of his last four fights, although he’s been able to regroup and win two of them via KO finish. Vera has never been finished and actually, his last eight UFC victories have been via finish himself. If he’s able to drop Grant as well, I expect him to swarm and lock in a choke or do enough to cause the ref to wave off the fight.
Either way, I will be highly surprised if this one goes the full 15 minutes. This is a rematch from their 2016 fight, which resulted in a decision win for Grant, and even more motivation for Vera to even the score.
Prediction: Marlon Vera
Bet: Vera via ITD +170
FEATHERWEIGHT (145 LBS): JULIAN EROSA (25-8) VS. SEUNGWOO CHOI (9-3)
We have two super talented fighters matched up here. This one is a bit underrated and we got two prospects riding some win streaks, knocking off some fairly respectable opponents on their way to this matchup. I like Choi in a close fight here, as long as he avoids the submissions.
Choi should be the quicker, more crisp striker on the feet, and his technique should put him in a spot to land on the southpaw. Now Erosa will get through as well, but I see Choi getting the better of the exchanges across the 15 scheduled minutes.
Prediction: Seungwoo Choi
MIDDLEWEIGHT (185 LBS): WELLINGTON TURMAN (16-4) VS. BRUNO SILVA (19-6)
Silva is making his long-awaited debut. He gets signed, and then popped for 'roids, so not a good start. He’s riding a four-fight win streak, winning all by KO on his way to the UFC. He actually has 16 knockout wins across his 19 victories but has lost via submission in five of his six defeats.
Wellington Turman has a decent submission skillset, winning the majority of his fights that way. He’s just 1-2 since joining the UFC, with his last fight resulting in a knockout loss to Andrew Sanchez last August. Sanchez isn’t really known for his power so you’d have to think if he can knockout Turman, Silva is licking his chops. I believe Silva is heavily motivated to deliver a big win after his rocky start, and his striking power should be on display. Heck, I gotta give him a shot if he knocked out Alexander Shlemenko. I love these fights where both guys' strengths are their opponent’s kryptonite.
Prediction: Bruno Silva
Bet: Bruno Silva -125
WELTERWEIGHT (170 LBS): MATT BROWN (22-18) VS. DHIEGO LIMA (15-8)
We get two vets of the fight game, with the 40-year-old Matt Brown taking on Dhiego Lima who has looked good actually as of late. Watch for this fight to take place on the feet. If Brown doesn’t get Lima out of there early, this fight should be Lima’s the later it goes. I’m not sure how much more of a chin Brown has, and his gas tank has never been impressive. The guy just finds ways to win though.
I expect the crowd to be heavy Brown, so Lima will need to clearly win the rounds or better yet get a finish. If Lima gets cracked or in trouble, don’t be surprised if he goes to the ground game. Lima hasn’t fought anyone in years that possess finishing ability as Brown does. 91% of his wins are via finish, but he’s slowed at this point of his career and is definitely on the downhill slope. The question is does he have one more in him? Win or lose, Brown hasn’t gone to the final bell but once in the last six years. This is Lima’s fight to win, but I got a weird feeling.
Prediction: Matt Brown
Bet: Brown/Lima UNDER 2.5 rounds +105
LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT (205 LBS): ALEKSA CAMUR (6-1) VS. NICOLAE NEGUMEREANU (9-1)
Negumereanu is back after a two-year layoff. His last fight was pretty one-sided and unfortunately for him, it was in his opponent’s favor. Sapabeg Safarov completely dominated that fight and handed Negumereanu the first loss of his career. No easy rebound here, and Camur is a stud and will bring the fight, one that will take place on the feet the majority of the match. Both guys have knockout power, and 11 of their 15 combined wins have come by way of KO. Camur for me.
Prediction: Aleksa Camur
WOMEN’S STRAWWEIGHT (115 LBS): KANAKO MURATA (12-1) VS. #13 VIRNA JANDIROBA (16-2)
A solid BJJ blackbelt (Jandiroba) versus an elite wrestler (Murata). Great matchup stylistically and although Jandiroba has 81% of her wins coming by way of submission, I still see Murata looking for takedowns and out grappling her. Murata should be the quicker striker as well and will close and land up top, then drop for the takedowns where she will go to work with control and shots from the top. Murata does have one loss and it was via submission versus Rin Nakai back in 2016.
You have to consider Nakai is a much bigger fighter and Murata was just a couple of fights into her career at that time. I’m not going to say Jandiroba can’t lock something in here, but that Nakai loss for Murata doesn’t hold much weight to me.
Prediction: Kanako Murata
Bet: Kanako Murata +110
WELTERWEIGHT (170 LBS): KHAOS WILLIAMS (11-2) VS. MATT SEMELSBERGER (8-2)
This is a good fight here. Semelsberger has looked solid since entering the UFC, grinding out a decision against Carlton Minus and following that up with a 16 second KO of Jason Witt. Williams has that one-punch power, but the guy opens himself up for damage himself while coming forward. Additionally, Williams doesn’t defend the kicks, and I could see Semelsberger settling in and going to work if he’s able to weather the early onslaught. That’s the key here anyhow.
If Semelsberger ends up getting sucked into a stand-up war, Williams and his striking should prevail. I also actually was impressed with how Williams regrouped against Pereira late in that fight, even though he didn’t get the nod. Semelsberger has been knocked out once before against an 0-0 fighter nobody has heard of, and since, really hasn’t fought anyone with the power Williams possesses. Either Semelsberger executes a heavy takedown game plan and squeaks a win, or Williams either outstrikes or finishes him.
Prediction: Khaos Williams
HEAVYWEIGHT (265 LBS): JOSH PARISAN (13-4) VS. ROQUE MARTINEZ (15-7-2)
This is a mess of a heavyweight fight. Almost feels like a contract filler. Parisan is huge, probably cuts down to the 265 limit, and takes on Roque Martinez, who is better than he appears. At just 5’ 10” Martinez will probably have a shot if he looks to close and get this one to the mat, as Parisan doesn’t have much of a gas tank when the fight goes to the ground. No chance I touch this fight from a betting perspective.
Prediction: Roque Martinez
LIGHTWEIGHT (155 LBS): JOAQUIM SILVA (11-2) VS. RICKY GLENN (21-6-1)
Both guys making their returns after long layoffs, especially Rick Glenn, who’s been away for three years. Glenn makes the move up to lightweight for this fight, though had the plan in place for some time now. He actually was slated to face Carlton Minus up at 155, but he tested positive for Covid.
Silva is a very well-rounded fighter with great speed and movement. Watch for him to load up on his shots which at times limits his accuracy. That said though, Silva will have the edge on the mat, and while Glenn could look for takedowns, if the position isn’t of Silva’s liking, he should be able to get up or reverse at any given time. I mentioned a couple of write-ups ago that fighters coming back from positive Covid tests were sitting around a 40% win rate in their very next fight. That, this move up in weight, and the three-year layoff, all doesn’t help Glenn here in my opinion. I’ll side with the Brazilian with a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu.
Prediction: Joaquim Silva
WOMEN’S FLYWEIGHT (125 LBS): CASEY O’NEIL (6-0) VS. LARA PROCOPIO (7-1)
Procopio isn’t a fighter you want to mess around with on the mat, but O’Neil with her confidence, I could see it happening here. Neither fighter has been finished by strikes, and only O’Neil has wins (2) via TKO/KO, including her win over Shana Dobson in her UFC debut back in February. This will be more of a test for O’Neil here against Procopio. I could see both fighters comfortable here wherever it goes. Both could stand in the middle and trade, or we could see some fun scrambles. Even though Procopio would have the advantage on the mat, I wouldn’t be surprised if she looks to keep this one standing, as O’Neil has good get-ups and isn’t afraid to put her purple belt to use.
I like O’Neil’s gritty approach in fights and although from Queensland, Australia, she’s been training out of Xtreme Couture as her primary gym, so consider this home-field advantage for the 23-year-old prospect.
Prediction: Casey O’Neil
- Dan Ige -115
- Marlon Vera via ITD +170
- Bruno Silva -125
- Brown/Lima UNDER 2.5 rounds +105
- Kanako Murata +110
UFC Vegas 29: FULL CARD PREDICTIONS
DAN IGE defeats CHAN SUNG JUNG
SERGHEI SPIVAC defeats ALEKSEI OLEINIK
MARLON VERA defeats DAVEY GRANT
SEUNGWOO CHOI defeats JULIAN EROSA
BRUNO SILVA defeats WELLINGTON TURMAN
MATT BROWN defeats DHIEGO LIMA
ALEKSA CAMUR defeats NICOLAE NEGUMEREANU
KANAKO MURATA defeats VIRNA JANDIROBA
KHAOS WILLIAMS defeats MATT SEMELSBERGER
ROQUE MARTINEZ defeats JOSH PARISAN
JOAQUIM SILVA defeats RICKY GLENN
CASEY O’NEIL defeats LARA PROCOPIO
2021 predictions: 122-94-4 (56%)
2021 wagers: 64-66-2 (49%)
Overall record on SI:
Predictions: 503-293-15 (63%)
Wagers: 274-153-8 (64%)
DFS PLAYS & STRATEGIES
- Choose active fighters. Coupling an active fighter on his/her way to a unanimous decision will give you key points for your team. Just like any other DFS traditional sport, you want the active, offensive player that scores. Key metrics here are SLpM and TD AVG/15min.
- Play the heavyweights. The approximate overall finish rate in the UFC is 54%. Most weight divisions range from 40%-60%, while the heavyweights push a 75% finish rate. You will receive bonus points for finishes inside the distance.
- Try always to include the main event or title fights. Five-round fights mean more time to rack up points if you pick the right fighter. In some cases, even if you have the loser, the points can be more than a three-round winner.
- Don't get excited and rush a pick based on stats; consider sample size. Some fighters have limited fights compared to their opponents when looking at metrics. Stats could be exaggerated. Do your research. Watch for spots with debuting fighters as well. Always check the records of the opponents they faced on their way to the UFC. Always pull fight tape as well. You’d be surprised at what you will find.
- Review methods of victory. I supply the finish rates within this article, and as you dive in, you can compare method of victory to method of loss for the matchups. For example, you can find matchups where Fighter A has a high % of submission victories matched up with Fighter B, with a high % of submission losses.
As mentioned in the tip sheet above, here’s my MMA DFS Heat Chart for UFC Fight Night. As you can see, the chart is ranked based on fight finish odds. Fight finishes are where the points are at in MMA DFS. Take a quick glance at the stack, and we will break down the individual match-ups below.
Two key offensive metrics are strikes and takedowns. They get off on their opponents, watch your points rack up quickly. Here's my Offensive Output Meter for the card. With this chart, you can compare historical fighter averages in these two, key metrics as I rank all fighters participating Saturday.
UFC DFS RECOMMENDATIONS
- Fighters that typically press the action, land takedowns, and/or high finish rates matched up against those that get finished, roster. (see my charts above)
- Fights projected to NOT go to a decision:
- Zombie/Ige -125
- Oleinik/Spivak -550
- Silva/Turman -165
- Grant/Vera -130
- Lima/Brown -120
- Williams/Semelsberger -185
- Parisian/Martinez -160
- For the main event, it could be a stack spot if you play multi-lineups. I’m not a fan of stacking though as you already are eliminating the shot of one of your fighters earning win points. I do side with Ige though and his durability if I had to pick one.
- Top Tier fighters to build around include: Vera, Spivac, Camur, Williams (In that order)
- Mid Tier fighter considerations are: B. Silva, Procopio (If you side w/her over O’Neil)
- Live Dogs that could score: Ige, Brown, O’Neill, Murata
- Highly owned fighters will be Spivac, Lima, Ige, Jung, and Vera.
Good luck everyone and I hope to see some of you cashing after Saturday night!