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411’s UFC on ESPN+ 23 Report: Zombie stops Edgar

December 21, 2019 | Posted by Robert Winfree
UFC on ESPN+ 23

MAIN CARD (ESPN+, 5 a.m. ET)
#4 Frankie Edgar (146 lbs.) vs. #6 Chan Sung Jung (146 lbs.)
#8 Volkan Oezdemir (206 lbs.) vs. #10 Aleksandar Rakic (206 lbs.)
Dooho Choi (146 lbs.) vs. Charles Jourdain (146 lbs.)
Da Un Jung (206 lbs.) vs. Mike Rodriguez (206 lbs.)
Marc-Andre Barriault (186 lbs.) vs. Jun Yong Park (186 lbs.)
Kyung Ho Kang (136 lbs.) vs. Liu Pingyuan (136 lbs.)

Tanner Boser (246 lbs.) vs. Ciryl Gane (249 lbs.)
Suman Mokhtarian (145 lbs.) vs. Seungwoo Choi (146 lbs.)
Dong Hyun Ma (156 lbs.) vs. Omar Morales (156 lbs.)
#4 Alexandre Pantoja (126 lbs.) vs. #9 Matt Schnell (126 lbs.)
Raoni Barcelos (136 lbs.) vs. Said Nurmagomedov (136 lbs.)
Amanda Lemos (116 lbs.) vs. Miranda Granger (116 lbs.)
Heili Alateng (136 lbs.) vs. #13 Ryan Benoit (136 lbs.)

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC on ESPN+ 23. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for the event, relaying the action to you just as I see it. Well everyone, this is it, the last UFC event of 2019. Congratulations to everyone and making it through another solar orbit. This event isn’t all that great on paper, but there’s a few things worth noting. The main event was supposed to be “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung taking on Brian Ortega, but a few weeks ago Ortega had to withdraw with a knee injury and in steps Frankie Edgar. This calls into question Edgar’s still scheduled bout with Cory Sandhagen in February (that fight isn’t happening but no one wants to admit it yet). Despite the circumstances Edgar and Jung should make for an engaging fight. The co-main event is a somewhat relevant light heavyweight fight as rising contender Aleksandar Rakic looks to cap off 2019 with another win, this time over a former title challenger in Volkan Oezdemir. Also of minor note, the Korean Superboy Dooho Choi is back, and he’s historically been good for a scrap. Mostly this card is a case of hope it’s better in practice than on paper.

UFC on ESPN+ 23 comes to the world from Sajik Arena in Busan, South Korea. On commentary we have Brendan Fitzgerald and Dan Hardy with Brett Okamoto doing in arena reporting. As for the rules we’re under the new rules, you need only one palm or fist flat on the mat to be considered down and we do have instant replay but only for fight ending sequences. Also of course the new scoring criteria is generally better in my opinion and more encouraging of 10-8 scores.

Here’s the latest Ground and Pound Podcast if you’re interested. I mention in this episode that the coming one will be the last for a few weeks, if you’d like some supplemental stuff released during those down weeks I’d be curious what kind of content you’d like.

Heili Alateng is on a three fight winning streak that includes a successful UFC debut a few months ago, now he’s looking to continue that momentum and get his first UFC winning streak up and running. Ryan Benoit has been trading wins and losses while going 3-3 in the UFC, he’s coming off of a win though and hoping to pick up his first set of consecutive wins in the UFC. Worth noting that Benoit hasn’t fought in a shade over two years. Benoit is a slight -120 favorite to a -110 comeback on Heili.

Bantamweight Bout: Heili Alateng (13-7-1, 136 lbs.) vs. #13 Ryan Benoit (10-5, 136 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Benoit has two inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going, Benoit fighting southpaw. Both men feinting a bit with the lead hand, just gauging each other. Benoit lands an inside leg kick. Body kick from Benoit lands, bit of a left to follow up and Heili lands a counter left. Heili is giving a fair bit of ground as the fight is going on, Benoit working forward constantly. Benoit lands a straight left and avoids a counter right. They clinch up, Heili tries a foot sweep but can’t finish it and they hit the fence clinched. Neither man gets much going, and they break of their own accord. A straight left to the body then a body kick from Benoit. Heili lands a straight right. Hard body kick from Benoit, Heili is hurt to the body and circling away. Benoit goes orthodox for a second, then back to southpaw. Superman punch from Benoit, Heili lands a right. Benoit whips a left to the body, he’s really dialing in on the liver. High kick from Benoit is blocked. Heili lands a right. Both men miss punches, Benoit lands a right hook then another body kick. Heili lands a right that off balances Benoit for a second. Heili avoids a double leg attempt, Benoit then lands a body kick and a straight left to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Benoit but there’s an argument for Heili

ROUND TWO: Benoit is back to pushing forward, Heili lands a right. Counter left lands for Benoit then another body kick. Those kicks are really getting to Heili. Benoit lands a straight left. One two from Benoit from orthodox, he’s doing some stance switching now. Another body kick from Benoit, more the foot that time than the shin but the accumulation is getting there. Benoit lands an inside leg kick then a high kick and looks to flurry but Heili backs him off with a left hook. Heili starts moving forward, it’s pretty clear that whoever is moving forward is winning. Body kick from Heili lands. Stiff jab from Benoit lands then they both miss hooks. Heili lands an inside leg kick, and avoids the return kick. Heili lands a right, as does Benoit. There’s a cut on the bridge of Benoit’s nose. Heili lands another right and Benoit is backing up. Another right from Heili. Benoit lands a body kick. Body kick from Benoit but he tries to follow up too soon and Heili lands a right. Right from Heili cracks Benoit and hurts him, he avoids Heili for the final couple of seconds though.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Heili, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the last round. Benoit pushes forward quickly and gets taken down by Heili into full guard. Heili is landing some body shots but not really looking to pass or finding any real damage. Benoit back up, Heili has a rear waist lock and they hit the fence then separate. Another takedown from Heili, this time into the ride position. Benoit back up and they’re on the fence, Heili moves around for a double leg and gets it but Benoit is after a switch. Benoit bails on that, Heili has the legs mounted but Benoit is back up though still clinched. Heili gets a takedown into side control, just a bit of a knee shield from Benoit is in defending him. Full guard for Benoit now, Heili lands a few punches. Benoit gets to his feet, Heili is after a single leg but Benoit reverses that and lands a knee as they stand. They split some jabs. More jabs from Benoit then a hook, Heili shoots but is stuffed and they remain at distance. Heili blocks a high kick, Benoit blocks a double leg and lands a knee to the body. They trade power hand punches, Benoit lands a body shot that wobbles Heili. Heili grabs a single leg, switches to a high crotch and just hangs onto the leg as Benoit lands hammer fists for the final seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Heili, 29-28 Heili overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Heili Alateng via split decision (28-29, 29-28 x2)

Can see the split. No interview for the winner.

Amanda Lemos dropped her UFC debut against Leslie Smith back in 2017, she’s ending a more than two year layoff here and trying for her first UFC win. Miranda Granger took this fight on short notice but is undefeated with a win in the UFC, she’s hoping to remain perfect after this fight as well. Granger is the favorite at -210 to +175 for Lemos.

Strawweight Bout: Amanda Lemos (6-1-1, 116 lbs.) vs. Miranda Granger (7-0, 116 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Granger has three inches of height and reach over Lemos. They touch gloves to get us going. Circling a bit from Granger, Lemos seems flat at the moment. Lemos fires a couple of kicks, mostly range finding and trying to get a reaction. Bit of a leg kick from Lemos. Granger with a return leg kick and they clinch up on the fence. Outside trip from Lemos lands her in half guard. Granger is tying Lemos up, but I’m not sure what she’s going for. Lemos winds up on top in north-south and lands a few punches to the body and head. Granger nearly gets the back, winds up wrapping the leg of Lemos but doesn’t have much control. Hammer fists from Lemos, Granger looks to counter but Lemos gets a really awkward modified rear naked choke. She doesn’t have the back, but the arm is under the chin and she’s got enough of a squeeze from modified leg drag to put Granger out.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Amanda Lemos via Technical Submission, rear naked choke, at 3:43 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Ms. Lemos for her work this evening. Mic time for Lemos, we’ve got the old chain of translators going, she mentions she trains that choke a lot and worked it in warm ups and is happy it worked. She’s happy to be at strawweight and feels it’s her optimal weight class.

This is an odd one, I’ve not really seen this variation of the choke before. Lemos is on top in basically leg drag, but she’s wrapped up the choke position from time in the ride position then just never relents.

Raoni Barcellos is on a seven fight winning streak with his most recent three being in the UFC, and all of those being finishes. Barcellos is looking to keep that streak in tact and head into 2020 ready for a step up in competition. Said Nurmagomedov is also on a seven fight winning streak though he’s only won twice in the UFC, he’s looking to knock off a legitimate prospect and make his own case as a bantamweight elite. Nurmagomedov is a slight -125 favorite to -105 for Barcelos.

Bantamweight Bout: Raoni Barcelos (14-1, 136 lbs.) vs. Said Nurmagomedov (13-1, 136 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Nurmagomedov is an inch taller and has three inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Both men bouncing early, Nurmagomedov lands an inside leg kick. Nurmagomedov showing the jab and the inside leg kick early, Barcelos misses a few punches but keeps attacking and lands a punch. Barcelos lands a leg kick after avoiding a spinning attack. Nurmagomedov with a high kick that’s blocked. Barcelos avoids a spinning back fist after eating an inside leg kick. Nurmagomedov slips a few punches, both men still looking to find the target reliably. Both men have kicks blocked, Barcelos eventually lands an inside leg kick. Now some jabs being shown from both men, Nurmagomedov is landing more though. Barcelos eats a jab and lands an overhand right. They trade leg kicks again. Body kick from Barcelos lands, then he lands a calf kick. Nurmagomedov lands one in return. Barcelos avoids a wheel kick. Missed backfist from Nurmagomedov, bit of a counter right from Barcelos. Barcelos avoids a wheel kick and gets a rear waist lock while they’re standing. They wind up breaking without much issue though. High kick from Nurmagomedov misses, then a spinning back fist is blocked. Nurmagomedov lands a few jabs, those have been his best weapon so far. They clinch up just as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Nurmagomedov

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves again. Barcelos coming out jabbing, and they’re back to trading leg kicks. Nurmagomedov is moving well, lands a spinning back fist. Spinning back kick to the body from Nurmagomedov. More jabs from Nurmagomedov, Barcelos lands a hard calf kick and Nurmagomedov is limping. Both men swing in close. They clinch up, Barcelos tries a trip but can’t finish it and Nurmagomedov separates. Barcelos lands a calf kick. Nurmagomedov lands a leg kick. Barcelos lands a right. Nurmagomedov lands a body kick. More leg work from both men, then Barcelos misses an overhand right. Nurmagomedov lands a left hook. Leg kick from Nurmagomedov, Barcelos returns it. Nurmagomedov is starting to use thrust kicks to the knee, they clinch up and Barcelos winds up getting a ride position. Barcelos is looking to break down the base of Nurmagomedov, Nurmagomedov lands a few up elbows to the face, Barcelos responds with some rights. A few more rights from Barcelos then he hops to get both hooks in and has the back. Barcelos is looking for the choke as Nurmagomedov stands and Barcelos is in the backpack spot. They’re just gonna hang out there as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Barcelos, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the final round. Feinting from both men, Nurmagomedov lands a body kick. Barcelos punches in close but can’t really land anything. Both men kick again then Barcelos blocks a spinning back fist. Wheel kick from Nurmagomedov is partially successful. Nurmagomedov jabbing again, that’s really disrupting Barcelos’ rhythm. They clinch up, Barcelos with a knee to the body as he’s got Nurmagomedov on the fence. Elbow from Barcelos, Nurmagomedov lands a right as they separate. Nurmagomedov jabs the body, then kicks it. Barcelos lands a leg kick, and eats one in return. Cracking right from Nurmagomedov lands. Nurmagomedov lands a left uppercut. Barcelos catches a wheel kick and gets a takedown into leg drag. Nice timing from Barcelos, and he me moves to half guard. Too much spinning might have cost Nurmagomedov this fight. Nurmagomedov gets to full guard, Barcelos to half guard again. Barcelos keeps trying to set up an arm triangle choke, he moves to mount with it but Nurmagomedov gets free and Barcelos takes the back in transition. Nurmagomedov looks to escape, he’s up and punching in the clinch. Barcelos stalls out a single leg attempt as the clock runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Barcelos, 29-28 Barcelos overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Raoni Barcelos via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

I can see Barcelos stealing the first, even if I disagree with it. No interview again, looks a little like no finish no mic.

Alexandre Pantoja has gone 5-2 in the UFC, he’s coming off of a loss to Deiveson Figueiredo though and is hoping to avoid his first ever losing streak. Matt Schnell is on a four fight winning streak after a rough start to his UFC career, but he’s taking a step up in competition here and could emerge as a top ranked contender in a wide open division going forward. The odds are with Pantoja at -250 while Schnell’s comeback sits at +200.

Flyweight Bout: #4 Alexandre Pantoja (21-4, 126 lbs.) vs. #9 Matt Schnell (14-4, 126 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Schnell is three inches taller and has two and a half inches of reach advantage. We get a touch of gloves. Both men land punches rather quickly. Schnell lands a calf kick and we get a full blown RoadHouse sequence before Pantoja avoids a takedown attempt. Another leg kick from Schnell. Pantoja lands a left. Both men land rights in close. Pantoja lands a leg kick. Quick combination from Schnell, they both land and Pantoja gets cracked and wobbled. Schnell coming forward, another trade of punches and Pantoja gets a bodylock takedown into full guard. Pantoja lands a couple of rights. Schnell back up and they break, then he lands a left hook. Forward pressure from Schnell, Pantoja looks a little wary at the moment. Schnell lands a leg kick but Pantoja trips him pup and lands a couple of rights as he’s on his back. Pantoja goes to side control, Schnell gets to half guard again. Another right from Pantoja and he steps free and they break. A couple of rights land for Schnell, but he’s coming forward and Pantoja ENDS him with a counter right.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Alexandre Pantoja via KO, punch, at 4:17 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Pantoja for his work this evening. Crazy fight for as long as it lasted. Mic time for Pantoja, he tries a bit of Korean to start for the crowd who seem to appreciate it. He puts over Schnell as a talented fighter and a friend, thanks him for the good fight and then closes with another Korean phrase that doesn’t get translated into English. He talks us through the finish, and puts over Schnell again. Asked about the upcoming title fight between Benavidez and Figueiredo he says it’ll be a great fight but wants to be the next one up for the belt.

Schnell enters the pocket with a left hook to the body, a dangerous proposition to begin with but possibly mitigated. Unfortunately for Schnell he doesn’t mitigate it, look at his head and how it never leaves the center line as a starting point for things going wrong for him. Pantoja slips to the outside just a hair and blasts him with a counter right. You can actually see Schnell convulse a bit face down just as the clip ends.

Dong Hyun Ma has a UFC record of 3-4 and is on his second two fight losing streak during that time. Ma has been saved thus far by his penchant for exciting fights, but he can ill afford a three fight skid coming out of this event. Omar Morales is undefeated and has gotten this UFC shot based on a win on The Contender Series, now he’s looking to remain perfect while introducing himself to the wider UFC audience. Morales is the favorite at -210 while Ma’s comeback sits at +175.

Lightweight Bout: Dong Hyun Ma (16-10-3, 156 lbs.) vs. Omar Morales (8-0, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Morales has two and a half inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Ma opens southpaw. Both men feinting a bit early, Morales lands a body kick. High kick from Morales partially lands. Both men land power hand punches, Morales landed better though. High kick from Ma is caught and Morales gets a takedown into half guard. Morales lands an elbow, Ma gets full guard. Ma is up on a hip and looking to threaten a kimura, he’s nearly got the double wrist lock but can’t get the arm out and into the dangerous position. Ma keeps working for this, Morales has grabbed his own calf to stop the motion. Morales adjusts his hips and sits on his arm to stifle that attack. Morales postures up and lands a couple of elbows. That’s where the round will end.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Morales

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves again. Ma is slipping forward, there’s a bit of a right from Morales. Ma lands a left. Leg kicks, outside and inside from Ma leads to a body kick from Morales. Morales lands a side kick to the body, he’s doing a lot of circling now. Both men miss power hand punches. Ma lands a left then a right hook as Morales misses a left. Left to the body from Ma. Morales lands a wheel kick, Ma doesn’t care. Ma catches a body kick but can’t do anything with it. Morales avoids a left and lands a right. Jab from Morales, looks like it was an eye poke but Ma shakes it off. Some power punches from both men are mostly blocked. Morales lands a body kick. Jumping knee then a high kick from Morales, neither really land but he threw them.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Morales but a closer round

ROUND THREE: Touch of gloves again. Ma lands a left. Ma is more active this round so far, but still struggling to find the target. Counter combination from Morales is partially blocked and then he misses a head kick. Morales avoids a left but he’s on the fence, both men swing and miss. Ma avoids a high kick, lands a bit of a left. Morales with a wheel kick that drops Ma, he follows him down and swings hammer fists but Ma is able to tie him up in half guard. Morales looking for elbows and hammer fists, he’s swinging a little wild and isn’t landing much. Now Ma looks to wrap up and control the head, Morales gets his head free and lands a short elbow. Butterfly guard for Ma, now full guard and he’s up on a hip looking for a sweep of some kind. Morales lands body shots, he lands some blows while looking to posture up. Ma is fishing for the kimura again but Morales winds up passing his guard and getting the back without hooks. They wind up breaking, Ma walks forward as Morales circles away the final seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Morales, 30-27 Morales overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Omar Morales via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-26)

Under the new rules I can see a 10-8 argument for Morales in the 3rd after that knockdown. No interview for Morales.

Quick look at the wheel/spinning heel kick Morales landed in the third. Nice, he spins quickly, gets his head around to keep eyes on the target, and lands with the heel. I’m kind of surprised Ma survived this, but then again it’s Ma and he’s really hard to put away.

Seung Woo Choi has gone 0-2 in the UFC thus far, and his back is very much against the wall here to perform or risk his spot on the roster. Suman Mokhtarian lost his UFC debut a little over a year ago, now he’s hoping to rebound and get his first UFC win. Choi is your -270 favorite to +220 for Mokhtarian.

Featherweight Bout: Suman Mokhtarian (8-1, 145 lbs.) vs. Seungwoo Choi (7-3, 146 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Choi is four inches taller but has just two and a half inches of reach advantage. Both men feinting a bit, Mokhtarian lands a right. Choi still coming forward, he’s got Mokhtarian along the fence. Bit of a left hook from Choi, then a front kick to the chin. Mokhtarian is circling but he’s staying along the fence rather than getting away from it at an angle. High kick from Choi is partially successful. They clinch and Choi with a bevy of elbows and knees before they hit the fence and that slows down. Knees go back and forth while they jockey for position. Choi lands an elbow. A few more knees are traded, all body work so far. Choi knees the head a few times, but Choi has been holding the fence to keep him in the clinch and the ref breaks this up for a second. The ref is taking a point, he verbally warned Choi for grabbing the fence 3 times and he’s taking a point. The restart at distance. Choi starts coming forward immediately again. Punches from Choi, Mokhtarian postures but he’s getting hit. High kick from Choi is partially blocked, they clinch again and more knees from Choi as they hit the fence. More knees go back and forth, Choi lands one to the head as well. Choi spins Mokhtarian to the fence and lands an elbow as they break. Mokhtarian back to circling, misses some blows and the round ends.

SCORECARD: 9-9 DRAW after the point deduction

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves again. Choi pressures forward again. High kick from Choi is blocked but the force is still getting through. Mokhtarian with a bit of a right. Choi lands a left hook. More punches, knee, elbow from Choi and he just unloads as Mokhtarian is up on the fence just covering up and Choi kicks him in the body then punches him down and follows him to the mat. Mokhtarian is trying to tie up a leg from half guard, Choi postures through that and lands punches and elbows. They stall a bit, the ref gets Mokhtarian his mouth guard back and then lets them continue on the ground. Choi looking to land punches, Mokhtarian gets to a hip again. Short elbows from Choi and he gets Mokhtarian back flat. Mokhtarian is bleeding from the nose now, at least I think it’s the nose. Full guard now for Mokhtarian, Choi stands free though and makes him get up. Choi lands a right. Bit of a right from Mokhtarian. Both men land kicks, Choi tries a flying knee that lands just as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Choi, 19-17 Choi overall

ROUND THREE: Choi coming forward yet again. Leg kick from Choi then a body kick. Choi lands a straight right. Left from Choi, bit of a return from Mokhtarian. Another right from Choi lands. We get time as Choi got poked in the eye. Replay confirms the poke, Mokhtarian basically hooked with an open hand and raked the eye. Choi is able to continue though and we’re back to fighting. Mokhtarian lands to the body but eats a counter right. Choi with a front kick to the chest or chin. Mokhtarian lands a right but eats a counter left. Mokhtarian with another right that wobbles Choi, and this breaks down for a bit but Mokhtarian tries at takedown and Choi reverses the motion to land on top in side control. Choi settling into side control, might be setting up an arm triangle on the far side. Mokhtarian gets half guard while stopping a mount attempt, punches and elbows from Choi land. More short elbows from Choi, Mokhtarian is being smothered and beat up. Choi keeps unloading with elbows but wont get the stoppage before the clock runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Choi, 29-26 Choi overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Seungwoo Choi via unanimous decision (29-25, 29-26 x2)

Not sure about a 10-8 third for Choi after he got rocked, but a 10-8 second is definitely correct. Mic time for Choi, he says he knows he needed the victory but getting it here felt great and thanks everyone who worked with him, then dedicates the win to everyone in attendance.

Ciryl Gane is undefeated including two wins in the UFC, he’s looking to close out an impressive debut year with one more emphatic victory and head into 2020 as a definitive heavyweight prospect. Tanner Boser bested Daniel Spitz in his UFC debut, he’s trying to take out a noted prospect and take a step up in competition for his next fight. Gane is a heavy -600 favorite while the +425 comeback on Boser probably tempts a few gamblers out there who like the long shots.

Heavyweight Bout: Tanner Boser (17-5-1, 246 lbs.) vs. Ciryl Gane (5-0, 249 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Gane is two inches taller and has a whopping five and a half inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Both men bouncing around early, Boser tries a leg kick. Gane misses a jab. Some stance switching going on from both men now, Gane lands a right hook. Bit of a left from Boser. Body kick from Gane. Boser’s movement is impressive, he’s avoiding most of Gane’s offense. Gane lands a right, Bosre lands a leg kick to counter. Gane lands a leg kick. Boser tries a leg kick, Gane lands a right to off balance him to his seat but doesn’t follow him down. Both miss power hand punches, they’re still trying to get a feel for each other. Boser with a bit of a right. Now Gane with a glancing right. Both men have rights blocked. Double jab from Gane is avoided but he lands a right uppercut as Boser is ducking. Shockingly technical fight from both men so far. They clinch, Gane lands a knee to the body and they break. Another clinch and break without incident and the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Gane

ROUND TWO: Both men with some leg kicks early, still circling and trying to get a bead. There’s an exchange, Boser is now bleeding around the right eye. It’s not a bad cut, but is’ there. Gane lands another kick, this time to the body. Boser lands an inside leg kick and they both land rights in close. Gane kicks the body again. Front kick to the body from Gane, Boser lands a bit of a counter left. Left from Gane wobbles Boser but he survives. Boser avoids a punch and lands a left to the body. Boser blocks a high kick but his counter is blocked. Inside leg kick from Boser. Gane misses the target and avoids the counters. Each man lands a left. Gane lands a knee to the body. They trade left hooks, Gane lands a right uppercut. Boser slips a jab, but Gane persists and lands it the second time. Right uppercut then a left hook from Gane both land. They continue moving as the round comes to a close.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Gane, 20-18 Gane overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the final round. Gane looking to jab again, Boser blitzes but mostly misses. Both men miss hooks. Bit of a right from Boser. Gane lands a knee. Front kick to the body from Gane then a knee to the body. Gane with a left hook and an uppercut, the body work from Gane is paying off. Boser lands a leg kick. Gane with a jab. Boser with a blitz attack, Gane avoids but can’t land a counter. Double jab then a right from Gane, he lands a couple of body shots as well. Gane with a knee to the body then a front kick to the body. They clinch, Gane with a knee and Boser is visibly getting hurt by the body work. Jabs from Gane, then a jumping knee but Boser just eats it. Gane with an uppercut then a right to the body. One more uppercut from Gane then a knee to the body, that will basically close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Gane, 30-27 Gane overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Ciryl Gane via unanimous decision (30-26 x3)

I can see a 10-8 for Gane I guess, certainly doesn’t strike me as egregious. Gane gets an interview, he puts over Boser as a difficult opponent. We’re short on time so that’s about all he gets out before we have to head off.

We leave ESPN, now to ESPN+ for the main card.

Kyung Ho Kang is on a two fight winning streak and is 5-1 in his last six fights overall, he’s hoping to extend his current streak and start climbing the ranks at bantamweight. Liu Pingyuan just had a nine fight winning streak snapped in July which brought his UFC record to 2-1, now he’s trying to bounce back and get on the winning side of things again. Kang is the favorite at -260 to a +210 comeback on Liu.

Bantamweight Bout: Kyung Ho Kang (16-8 1 NC, 136 lbs.) vs. Liu Pingyuan (13-6, 136 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Kang is three inches taller but has just one inch of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Liu showing the jab early, falling short but he’s just range finding. Leg kick from Liu lands. Kang working his own punches now. Double leg from Kang and he’s got Liu down. Full guard for Liu, Kang passes to half guard. Liu gets his guard back. Kang with a few short elbows. Liu fires a few elbows from his back. Kang lands a few more body shots but Liu is staying active off of his back. Liu is moving well off of his back but he’s not doing much with that so far. They reach the fence, Liu looks to wall walk but Kang uses that to pass to half guard. Liu back up, Kang is still on him and looking for a takedown, he gets a high crotch to an inside trip similar to how Daniel Cormier does it but no where near as smooth. Full guard again for Liu, Kang lands body shots again. Half guard for Kang now, he’s looking to mount the legs. Kang postures up and lands some punches and elbows to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Kang

ROUND TWO: Both men jabbing again, Kang lands a head kick that wobbles Liu. Liu lands a leg kick but gets takendown again. Full guard for Liu but he’s not doing much with it yet. Kang with some body to head punches. Right lands for Kang, Liu has some damage to his left eye now. A few elbows from Liu now, Kang returns them. Kang with a couple of lefts as they reach the fence. Kang passes to half guard, Liu elbows him a few times and tries to wall walk but he can’t get out from under Kang. Liu gets his guard back, Kang again looks to pass. Liu to his seat along the fence, Kang lands a couple of lefts and they wind up on the mat flat again. Another wall walk attempt from Liu, Kang stifles that. Punches from Kang, Liu threatens a weak ninja choke attempt as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Kang, 20-18 Kang overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves again. Both men showing the jab again, Kang lands a front kick to the body. Liu with a bit of a right. Leg kick from Liu, Kang is rather fatigued. Kang lands a leg kick. A few jabs go back and forth, they clinch up on the fence but Liu is able to get free rather quickly. Liu avoids a takedown attempt and misses a right. Kang gets a clinch but Liu sprawls when he looked to level change and Liu gets the ride position. Kang back up and off balances Liu then gets on top in the guard of Liu. Liu is trying to get up this time, scoots to the fence and is trying to wall walk. Kang rides him down and this time is in half guard. Liu gets both his legs in play, Kang punches him. Half guard again, Kang turns him away from the fence and Liu gets butterfly guard. Elbows from Liu, one cuts open Kang and he’s bleeding everywhere. More elbows from Liu. Kang looks to unload, and both men land as time runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Liu, 29-28 Kang overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Kyung Ho Kang via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)

Not sure about Kang getting the third, he did very little but hold on. Mic time for Kang, he was worried when they announced the split but he’s grateful to have gotten the decision. He puts over Liu but he found the timing and was able to use that to his advantage. To close he wants to keep fighting UFC fighters. Might have been a rushed translation there at the end.

Jun Yong Park lost his UFC debut a few months ago, now he’s trying to rebound and get his first UFC win. Marc-Andre Barriault has gone 0-2 in the UFC and now finds himself in a must win scenario to close out the year. The odds are with Barriault at -130 while Park’s comeback sits at an even -100.

Middleweight Bout: Marc-Andre Barriault (11-3, 186 lbs.) vs. Jun Yong Park (10-4, 186 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Barriault is three inches taller and has an inch of reach on Park. They touch gloves and get to fighting. Both men showing the jab. Neither man lands very cleanly at the first exchange. Park with a combination that ends with an uppercut. Leg kick from Park. Barriault lands a bit of a right. Barriault lands a leg kick, Park returns it. Park lands a right then a body kick. Park takes a finger to the eye and we’ve got time. Replay confirms the eye poke. Park can continue and we’re back to fighting. Park lands a left hook in close quarters. Barriault lands a leg kick. A few body shots from Park then a double leg but that hits the fence and he needs a big second effort to finish it. Barriault scrambles to his knees, Park grabs a front headlock, moves to the back as they stand and they hit the fence. Barriault is able to force a separation and they trade calf kicks. Jabs from Park. Both men trying rights, Park lands an uppercut, and another one that Barriault ducked into. Barriault tries a double leg, Park defends and lands a knee to the body. Park with a calf kick. Both men land rights. One two from Barriault then a calf kick. Park with a calf kick then a right hand. Nothing comes of the final few seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Park

ROUND TWO: Another touch of gloves. Jab from Park off balances Barriault. Barriault lands a calf kick. Bit of a spinning elbow from Barriault, Park with a head kick, knee to the body and a double leg against the fence. Barriault looks to wall walk immediately, Park gets the back with one hook in. Park loses the hook but keeps the rear waist lock as Barriault gets up. Barriault is trying to get chest to chest but Park is keeping him at an angle with good head position. Outside trip attempt from Park isn’t successful but he does land a couple of knees. Park rides Barriault down, Barriault wall walks rather quickly but is still clinched. They break without incident. Barriault coming forward aggressively this time, he lands a calf kick. They clash on leg kicks. Barriault lands a calf kick. Bit of a jab from park, then a left hook. Barriault blocks a double leg and lands a right. Park slipping and jabbing. A lot of pressure from Barriault but neither man is finding a lot of success. A jab from Park closes the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Park, 20-18 Park overall

ROUND THREE: Barriault comes out quickly and looks to apply pressure again. Park circling and jabbing, Barriault lands a right but Park elbows him in close. Park avoids a hook and tries a takedown that works against the fence. Barriault wall walks but Park has his back in the clinch. They break with a left from Park. Barriault lands a bit of a right. Barriault lands a calf kick, Park punches and elbows him as they clinch up. Both men with some dirty boxing then they break. Another calf kick from Barriault. Both men land rights. Park with a few jabs. Barriault jabs the body then lands a couple of calf kicks. Park needs to sting Barriault and get some respect back, because Barriault is walking him down at this point. Barriault reaches for a double leg, Park gets a front headlock and turns him into the fence. They wind up braking without incident. Barriault with a couple of more calf kicks. Park avoids a high kick, but he’s got to do something this round because he’s giving it away in a bit way. Barriault still coming forward, slips on a kick but Park doesn’t counter. Some jabs are traded, Park lands a right. Bit of a right from Barriault closes out fight time.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Barriault, 29-28 Park overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jun Yong Park via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

Ugh, it wasn’t awful but what a slog of a fight. Mic time for Park, he puts over Barriault and notes that Barriault never slowed down as the fight went on. He says he knows how he sounds (I wasn’t going to say anything but if he will), and thanks his coaches to close.

Da Un Jung scored a win in his UFC debut to bring his overall winning streak to eleven, he’s trying to keep that momentum going in his home country and start making moves in a shallow division. Mike Rodriguez has gone 1-2 in the UFC, he’s coming off of a loss and needs a win to avoid his first UFC losing streak and get his UFC record to the .500 mark. Rodriguez is a slight -120 favorite while a Jung win would pay out at -110.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Da Un Jung (12-2, 206 lbs.) vs. Mike Rodriguez (10-4, 206 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height but Rodriguez has four inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves, Rodriguez is fighting southpaw. Some circling to start, Jung showing the jab. Bit of a jab from Jung, Rodriguez is kicking a lot early. Straight right from Jung lands on the jaw, Rodriguez crumples to the canvas and this one is over.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Da Un Jung via KO, punches, at 1:04 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Jung for his work this morning. That’s our first finish in five fights, and boy was it necessary. Mic time for Jung, he says this is how he usually fights not like his debut, and thanks the crowd for their support. He talks us through the finish, then says he hopes every fight of his goes this way.

Be sure your volume is on for this one. Jung is able to take the outside foot position, opening up the power hand punching lane relative to the opposite stance fighter. Rodriguez gets a little lazy with his lead hand, Jung fires a straight punch that slams into his jaw and that’s basically all she wrote.

Dooho Choi is on the first losing streak of his career, but his reputation for exciting fights and being a native South Korean have placed him in a relevant spot on the card. Choi needs a win here to right the ship, or risk being stuck as an exciting fighter who can’t win in the big spots. Choi is also ending a near two year layoff with this fight. Charles Jourdain lost his UFC debut against Des Green and is now looking to upset the local fans by scoring his first UFC win at the expense of Choi. Choi is the favorite at -320 to a +250 comeback on Jourdain.

Featherweight Bout: Dooho Choi (14-3, 146 lbs.) vs. Charles Jourdain (9-2, 146 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Choi has an inch of height and reach on Jourdain. They touch gloves to get things going. Choi stalking forward, putting Jourdain on the fence. They clinch up, trade body shots then separate. They trade punches, Choi then lands an uppercut. Jourdain lands a right to the body. Both men land punches in close, Jourdain lands an uppercut, he’s gone southpaw now. Leg kick from Choi. Another clinch, Jourdain lands to the body and they separate. Choi with a leg kick then a left hook that wobbles Jourdain. Some follow up pressure from Choi, then a calf kick. Right from Choi staggers Jourdain, Choi follows him down and winds up in his guard. Choi stands and postures up, landing some punches. Choi moves to the back as they scramble, Jourdain winds up on his knees. Jourdain back up and they break. Spinning back fist from Choi mostly lands, Jourdain is unsteady on his feet. Jumping knee from Jourdain lands but Choi just eats it. Left hook lands for Choi. They clinch again, break and clinch back up. They break and trade punches but Choi is the one who drops this time. Jourdain on top in the guard of Choi as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Jourdain but a close one

ROUND TWO: Choi coming forward again. Jourdain lands a body kick. Bit of a right hook from Jourdain. Choi still coming forward, he avoids a few punches. They trade rights then Choi lands a front kick to the body. Another body kick from Jourdain. Choi lands a right. More body kicks from Jourdain, Choi’s upright posture and lack of head movement are starting to be a problem. Right from Choi seems to wobble Jourdain for a second. Rights from Choi in close, Jourdain circles away. Jourdain lands a few jabs then a left hook. Combination from Jourdain mostly lands. Body kick from Choi. Choi lands another right. Jab from Choi. Jourdain lands a combination. Jab from Jourdain. Jourdain with a straight left and a right hook that floors Choi and this time the ref jumps in to stop it.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Charles Jourdain via TKO, punches, at 4:32 of Round 2

Decent enough little scrap. Mic time for Jourdain, he knew the first round would be tough but he could keep going, then says he’d like a post fight bonus so he can move out of his parents basement. He talks us through the finish, noting that fighting southpaw helped out and his left hand was basically his baby. He mentions losing his UFC debut up at lightweight but he plans on sticking around at 145, and while he’s not a king like Volkanovski or Holloway he wants to get there. To close he says Cub Swanson has been a hero of his for a while now and he’d love to welcome him back to MMA in 2020 after Cub has healed up from his knee injury.

This is similar to the Pantoja/Schnell finish, Choi comes in with an uppercut but doesn’t move his head at all and Jourdain times the powerful counter punch and that’s basically all she wrote.

Volkan Oezdemir just broke a three fight losing streak, though the split decision against Dominick Reyes could have gone his way, by besting Ilir Latifi. Oezdemir is looking for another win in a shallow division to possibly get a second crack at the light heavyweight title. Aleksandar Rakic is on a twelve fight winning streak with four wins in the UFC, including a KO of the year contender this year over Jimi Manuwa. Rakic is hoping to move into the title picture with another win here. Rakic is a slight -150 favorite while Oezdemir’s odds sit at +120.

Light Heavyweight Bout: #8 Volkan Oezdemir (16-4, 206 lbs.) vs. #10 Aleksandar Rakic (12-1, 206 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Rakic is two inches taller and has three inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Rakic lands a left hook. Right from Rakic off balances Oezdemir and he gets a standing guillotine but Oezdemir gets his head free and winds up with a body lock. Rakic turns Oezdemir, lands a few knees. Both men pummeling and jockeying for position and they wind up breaking. Rakic lands a body kick, Oezdemir misses a counter right. Uppercut from Rakic mostly misses. Oezdemir lands a left in close then a couple of body shots. Rakic lands a right and avoids the counter left. Again Rakic lands a right and avoids the counter. Both men land lefts, but Rakic is firing in combination and that’s helping him. Rakic grabs a single leg, trips Oezdemir down and gets to the ride position. Back up but still clinched and they wind up on the fence. Knees go back and forth then they swing on the break and both men land. Both men land again, Rakic is still throwing three or four to the two of Oezdemir. Leg kick from Oezdemir lands. Rakic jabs the body and takes another leg kick. Right from Rakic will be the final blow of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Rakic

ROUND TWO: Rakic lands a counter left hook, Oezdemir lands a leg kick. The kicks have been Oezdemir’s best weapon thus far. Rakic lands a right, and takes another leg kick. More leg kicks from Oezdemir. There’s some gnarly swelling on Rakic’s left leg from those kicks. Rakic lands a left body kick. Oezdemir slips a right, lands a body shot but Rakic gets a single leg and punches him as he gets up band they wind up clinched. They’re on the fence, Rakic landing knees. Oezdemir with a few knees of his own, Rakic lands a right hook as they break. Both men avoid punches. Rakic catches a kick, looks for a single leg but Oezdemir defends this time. Long lefts from Rakic, then they both barely miss hooks in the pocket. A few leg kicks go back and forth. Bit of a left from Rakic, Oezdemir lands a left to the body. Another leg kick from Oezdemir, Rakic returns it. Both men miss punches, Rakic jabs the body and the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Rakic but a much closer one, 20-18 Rakic overall

ROUND THREE: Both men hand feinting, and they trade punches again. Rakic lands a left, and clinches up then pushes Oezdemir to the fence. They trade knees while fighting for position. They both punch on the break and land. There’s some serious swelling around the face of Oezdemir, he’s taken a lot of abuse around the eyes. Oezdemir lands a leg kick, Rakic jabs the body. Right from Rakic lands and he avoids the counter. Rakic lands an uppercut. Oezdemir avoids a takedown attempt. One two from Rakic and he avoids some jabs. Left hook from Rakic, Oezdemir returns it. Oezdemir keeps walking onto punches hoping to land a money counter. Another clinch, both men land, Rakic the better of them on the break. Leg kick from Oezdemir. Double leg from Rakic stalls on the fence. A few elbows fro Oezdemir, they break but nothing else happens before time runs out.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Rakic but another close one, 30-27 Rakic overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Volkan Oezdemir via split decision (28-29, 29-28 x2)

I disagree, but forward pressure is frequently rewarded despite walking onto punches, and the last two rounds were close. Oezdemir says he was on the wrong end of a decision against Reyes but wants Reyes when he’s done with Jones. He mentions that Rakic stands in a way that leaves him a little vulnerable to the low kick. He says he wants a rematch with Reyes, and hopefully a rematch with Anthony Smith as well.

Frankie Edgar is a long time veteran and acknowledged great of the sport, he’s taking this fight on short notice to fill in for Brian Ortega. Edgar was last seen losing in yet another title fight, this time against now former champion Max Holloway, but he could get back into the title scene with a win given the new champion. Chan Sung Jung has gone 2-1 since returning from his military service, quickly knocking out Dennis Bermudez and Renato Moicano as well as having a knock down drag out fight with Yair Rodriguez that he very nearly won, he’s looking to collect his biggest scalp to date and put himself into the title picture at featherweight. Jung is the favorite at -180 to a +150 payout for an Edgar win.

Featherweight Bout: #4 Frankie Edgar (22-7-1, 146 lbs.) vs. #6 Chan Sung Jung (15-5, 146 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Jung is an inch taller and has four inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves for the first round. Both men jabbing early, Jung lands a few of them. Left lands for Jung. Edgar lands a leg kick. Some more left hand work from Jung, and he avoids a knee tap attempt. Edgar lands a left but gets wobbled by a right and Edgar is wobbled. More punches from Jung and Edgar is down, Jung looking to finish along the fence. Jung has the back, flattens Edgar out and lands more punches. Edgar trying to fight out of the position but Jung is still throwing. More punches, Edgar still trying but he’s taking a lot of damage in a bad spot. Edgar has scooted to the fence and is trying to build himself up. Edgar sneaks out the back but Jung resumes punching him, Edgar down to his knees and the ref finally waves this off.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Chan Sung Jung via TKO, punches, at 3:18 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Jung for his work this morning. Just a beat down from Jung basically all round. Mic time for Jung, he wasn’t worried too much about this fight as he prepared well. He says he was ready for a five round fight but his coaches told him it wouldn’t take all that much time. He talks us through the finish, then when asked about a title shot in 2020 he’d love to fight Volkanovski, and says that everyone who claims his last win was a fluke can digest this win. To close he thanks a lot of people, his team, his city, and everyone here.

Here’s the first sequence where Edgar gets wobbled. Jung boxes tight, Edgar’s defense is porous, and this is the result.

Thankfully that fight didn’t go long, because I’ve been awake for over 20 hours at this point. This was the last UFC event of the year, they’re not back in action until January 18th for UFC 246. We’ll unpack all the action from this event on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA Podcast this Sunday then that iteration of the show will be off for a few weeks as well. If you’d be interested in some kind of material in the interim I have some ideas but would welcome suggestions if you’ve got them. I hope you all enjoy the holidays, stay safe out there, I’ll see you all again in 2020, and please keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.

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UFC on ESPN+ 23, Robert Winfree