UFC Singapore highlights: Holloway KOs Korean Zombie, Zombie retires

In a riveting showdown that captivated the world of mixed martial arts, renowned featherweight fighters Max Holloway and Chan Sung Jung, popularly known as the Korean Zombie, took the center stage as the main event of UFC Singapore.

The backdrop to this intense encounter was marked by the personal narratives of both fighters. Holloway’s appearance in the octagon came mere weeks after wildfires wreaked havoc on Maui, his homeland in Hawaii. In contrast, for Zombie, many speculated that this fight would mark his farewell from the sport. Although Zombie extended the challenge for this bout, concerns arose after his previous bout where Alexander Volkanovski subjected him to a brutal beatdown.

Consequently, the odds heavily favored Holloway, and fans and sportsbooks alike projected his victory. With his motivations fueled by a higher cause, Holloway fought not just for himself, but for his people, land, and culture. The UFC’s contribution to Hawaiian relief efforts and Holloway’s constant promotion of donations underscored his commitment to those affected by the tragedy.

As the match unfolded, Zombie initiated with a leg kick followed by a body jab, attempting to seize an early advantage. However, Holloway demonstrated his agility by evading Zombie’s attempts to press forward. Holloway carefully gauged the situation before taking control. Zombie’s hasty charge following a successful punch exposed him to Holloway’s counterattack, leaving him staggered. Although Zombie managed to regain composure, he found himself on the defensive against Holloway’s unyielding pressure. Notably, Holloway capitalized on Zombie’s lapse in guarding, effectively exploiting it with his lead left hook. While Zombie responded with a left hook of his own that momentarily impacted Holloway, the round concluded with a clear 10-9 in Holloway’s favor.

As the second round commenced, Zombie’s tactical level change allowed him to connect with a left hook. However, Holloway’s precision struck the temple, causing Zombie to drop to his knees. Holloway seized the opportunity, attempting to secure a tight d’Arce choke. Despite a prolonged effort, Zombie managed to remain conscious, forcing Holloway to release the hold. The match transitioned back to striking after Zombie’s unsuccessful takedown attempt. With two minutes remaining, Holloway capitalized on Zombie’s vulnerability, though Zombie’s resilient counterattacks persisted. The final moments of the round showcased Holloway’s well-placed kicks, emphasizing his dominance.

Entering the third round, Zombie continued his aggressive blitz, briefly impacting Holloway. The resolute Holloway retaliated, ultimately leading Zombie into a devastating right hand. The force of the blow sent Zombie crashing to the canvas, prompting an immediate stoppage of the fight.

In the aftermath of his triumph, Holloway embraced his wife in the audience, sharing a poignant celebration with a fellow Hawaiian. Despite his victory, Holloway’s first words in the post-fight interview were a call for the crowd to applaud the Korean Zombie. In a powerful display of solidarity, he directed attention towards Lahaina, Hawaii, urging support for his homeland through donations and shares.

The spotlight then shifted to Zombie as he engaged in a conversation with Michael Bisping. Through a translator, Zombie conveyed his readiness to step away from fighting. With a realization that the championship goal may be unattainable, Zombie articulated his decision to abstain from further bouts. The Singaporean audience expressed their gratitude for his remarkable career as he laid down his gloves in the center of the cage, accompanied by the iconic strains of his walkout song, ‘Zombie’ by the Cranberries.

The official verdict sealed the fate of the fight: Max Holloway emerged victorious over Chan Sung Jung via a knockout delivered by a powerful right hook in the third round, sealing his triumphant chapter in the MMA world.