Chan Sung Jung: Clinching and Countering

Chan Sung Jung, returning to the UFC after spending two years in Korea for his mandatory military service, defeated Dennis Bermudez at UFC fight night 104. Like Ronda Rousey, Sung Jung, known as the Korean Zombie, kept evasive foot movement to a minimal, giving his opponent the opportunity for a few hard connections. Sung Jung used openings in his defenses, however, in conjunction with affective head movement, to bait his opponent into creating opportunities for a counter. Throughout the fight, Sung Jung’s dominance also showed through his approach to the clinch, which allowed him to shrug off several takedown attempts.

In the striking exchanges, Sung Jung only used lateral and rotational foot movement to control his opponents position in zombie1the octagon. Once aligned directly in front of Bermudez, Sung Jung only defensive measure was subtle head movement. A formidable counter striker, Sung Jung next purposely created brief opening in his defenses for Bermudez to exploit by either lowering his hands, or momentarily leaning his  face forward.

Like Conor Mcgregor, once Bermudez committed to a predictable strike, the Korean fighter would rely on reflexes and timing to slip or roll before launching a counter. Sung Jung’s reliance on minimal head movement to sway around punches meant he retained his center of balance perfectly, which in turn allowed him to immediately respond with a counter. The final knockout uppercut, for instance, resulted from playing the counter game perfectly

The Korean fighter consistently worked to break his opponents posture in the clinch. Instead of immediately turning to zombie2variations of in boxing, he first dismantled his opponent’s base. The Korean Zombie gravitated predominantly towards the Muay Thai clinch grip, with two hands behind overlapping behind his opponent’s neck, to break Bermudez’ posture and pull him forward onto his knees. The clinch choice capitalized on his lengthy frame, which naturally allowed him to apply more downward pressure.

Through effective counter striking, a style requiring well trained reflexes and a level head, Sung Jung controlled the flow of the standup exchange. His awareness of his head and hand position allowed him to set up his counters, without leaving himself competently vulnerable. Likewise, in the clinch he used his knees and strong posture control to force Bermudez into a disadvantageous position.

Author: Johan Vadeleuv

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