UFC 163: Aldo vs. Korean Zombie – Event Preview
By Christopher Jester
After an incredible amount of confusion and mix-up with contenders at featherweight (145lbs), the issue was finally resolved when lightweight turned featherweight and now lightweight again bowed out of his potential title challenger position against reigning UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo (22-1). Taking Pettis’ place steps in a man who could easily be a walker from AMC’s The Walking Dead, in ‘The Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung (13-3). After winning a spirited performance against Dustin Poirier back on May 15, 2012, the ‘The Korean Zombie’ has been on the shelf for quite some time. The biggest question coming into this event is, how will Chan Sung Jung handle returning after a one-year layoff to face the best featherweight on the planet in Jose Aldo?
Elsewhere on the card, Phil Davis (11-1, 1 No Contest) takes on hometown favorite Lyoto Machida (19-3) in what could place the winner one step closer to a title shot. After being claimed as the #1 Contender after his knockout victory of Ryan Bader, Machida now has to continue his trek through the light-heavyweight division and put away any doubt that he truly deserves at another shot at the light-heavyweight scrap.
Taking place on August 3rd in the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, UFC 163 will be broadcasted on pay-per-view at 10pm EST, with prelims starting on FX at 8pm.
Jose Aldo (UFC Featherweight Champion) vs. Chan Sung Jung
Match-up Highlights: Potential Swan Song for Jose Aldo at Featherweight
This fight could easily become Fight of the Night and with Chan Sung Jung on board to help elicit fireworks, this bout has the potential for Fight of the Year. But that is not the major takeaways from this championship match. The biggest concern is if Chan Sung Jung is ready to take on someone with the potential and the experience of Jose Aldo. Just how much has Jung improved?
He has finished his last three fights. His fight rematch against Leonard Garcia ended in the first UFC twister submission. The fight against Mark Hominick was stopped within 7 seconds via a stunning KO victory for The Korean Zombie, and his last fight against Dustin Poirier was a barn-burner; a fight that earned him Fight of the Night, Submission of the Night, and won numerous 2012 Fight of the Year Awards. But he has also been out of the Octagon for over a year due to rehabbing an injury. Just how much will the time off affect his performance? This may very well be the deciding factor in a fight that will surely test how durable the Korean Zombie really is.
On the other hand, there is Jose Aldo who may very well be leaving featherweight soon. Aldo has mentioned in the past that a few more victories at featherweight and he would consider moving up to 155lbs at lightweight. The fact that this thought should be considered illuminates more prevalently when Aldo enters the championship rounds. He has struggled the most when facing opponents who can push the pace in the last two rounds, and it was more apparent in his last fight against Frankie Edgar who took the last two rounds in a very close decision victory for Jose Aldo.
The problem is, things are really beginning to heat up in the featherweight division. With Cub Swanson, Ricardo Lamas, Chad Mendes, Clay Guida, and Frankie Edgar all remaining top contenders – the featherweight division has never looked better than it has right now. Aldo sticking around could create some fights fans really want to see. But he will have to get past Jung first, and that will become a stiff test, particularly if the fight makes it into the later rounds.
Lyoto Machida vs. Phil Davis
Match-up Highlights: Davis Needs Win to Prove He Deserves To Be In Top 5 at 205Lbs
After getting overlooked to rematch Jon Jones after defeating Ryan Bader, Lyoto Machida was overlooked once again after putting on a lackluster performance against Dan Henderson. While he scored the victory, it was not enough to warrant a second shot at the UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion. Instead he is back in the pecking order, and looking for that ideal victory that will put him one step closer back to a title shot.
Phil Davis is in a different position. Davis who was once close to a title shot of his own back in 2012 if he could have defeated perennial contender Rashad Evans, has had to claw his way back through the 205lbs rankings. After defeating Wagner Prado and Vinny Magalhaes, Davis is back in the same position he was in when he faced Rashad Evans. He is challenging a former light-heavyweight champion in Lyoto Machida. Davis is going to struggle with the same sort of problems he had against Evans: setting up the takedowns and getting the bout on the ground where he is strongest. No success there could lead to a long night for Davis, or a quick one if Machida can land some crafty strikes.
Both men want to move up the ranks, but no one needs it more than Phil Davis; who seems to be hovering over potential stardom. Machida wants the opportunity to fight for the title again, but knows he will have to put on a highlight reel performance to take on the winner between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson for the UFC Light-Heavyweight Championship.
Cezar Ferreira vs. Thiago Santos
Originally set to face Clint Hester, Cezar Ferreira will now take on Thiago Santos. Both men are alumni from the Brazilian version of The Ultimate Fighter. Thiago ‘Marretta’ Santos was on the last season of TUF before losing to the eventual winner of the show. In Ferreira, he will face a heavy-hitting student of Vitor Belfort, who looks to become a victor again in only his second fight in the UFC. This is an important bout for both men as they hope to make a name for themselves to casual fans and to the Brazilian fans in their home country. Thiago Santos competed at welterweight on the show, but is moving up to middleweight for this bout. Clearly, Ferreira will still appear as the bigger man and has the knockout power to make this a short night for Santos. The Brazilians win in any case in this fight, as they are sure to have a Brazilian victory.
Thales Leites vs. Tom Watson
Match-up Highlights: An opportunity for Leites to prove himself
6-1 since his last fight in the UFC back in 2009, Thales Leites has a lot to prove in this match-up against Tom Watson. The biggest story of this fight is, can Leites once again become the fighter that once got him to a UFC middleweight championship match? He will face a tough challenge in Tom Watson, who just came off a stunning victory over Stanislav Nedkov at UFC On Fuel TV: Barao vs. McDonald in February. This is Watson’s third fight in the UFC, and he is 1-1 so far. A loss here will indeed set him back in the middleweight division, but a victory over a submission specialist like Leites will go a long way. Leites likely faces the most pressure in this fight. Can he correct his ways and ignore the spotlight of the UFC stage? A victory here will prove that he deserves to be in the UFC and that a potential shot at working his way up the middleweight ladder again is not far-fetched.
John Lineker vs. Jose Tome
John Lineker is slowly creeping up the flyweight rankings. He is the type of fighter that can prove that flyweights do have power, and he showcased that in his last fight when he crushed Azamat Gashimov within two rounds. He had previously defeated Yasuhiro Urushitani and once again his power proved to be the deciding factor in a close three round fight. The tale of this fight will come down to just how much potential Lineker has in the flyweight division. In a shallow division, a three-fight winning streak will help place his name closer to the true contenders.
Jose Tome has a lot on his shoulders in his UFC debut. “No Chance” has the perfect chance to jump into the flyweight division and defeat the number 7 ranked Lineker in the flyweight division. Tome who is on a 16 fight win streak, and 15 knockouts and 13 submissions on his resume, is no slouch. Tome has never been knocked out in his pro career and will face a man who has some power of his own. This pivotal flyweight match-up has the capability being a blockbuster of a bout. Tome needs this victory to put his name on the map and to make himself relevant in a thinly contested flyweight division.
UFC 163 – Fight Card and Start Times:
Main Card – 10pm EST (PPV):
Featherweight – Jose Aldo (Champion) vs. Chan Sung Jung
Light-Heavyweight – Lyoto Machida vs. Phil Davis
Middleweight – Cezar Ferreira vs. Thiago Santos
Middleweight – Thales Leites vs. Tom Watson
Flyweight – John Lineker vs. Jose Tome
Preliminary Card – 8pm EST (FX):
Light-Heavyweight – Vinny Magalhaes vs. Anthony Perosh
Women’s Bantamweight – Amanda Nunes vs. Sheila Gaff
Welterweight – Sergio Moraes vs. Neil Magny
Flyweight – Ian McCall vs. Iliarde Santos
Preliminary Facebook Card:
Featherweight – Rani Yahya vs. Josh Clopton
Welterweight – Viscardi Andrade vs. Bristol Marunde
Light-Heavyweight – Ednaldo Oliveira vs. Francimar Barroso
Post your comments directly below! You can also discuss the latest MMA & Video Game News in the PunchDrunkGamer Forums and don’t forget to Follow PDG on Twitter @PunchDrunkGamer and Like the PDG Official Facebook Page!