Yair Rodriguez took a fight against ‘The Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung on short notice and he walked out of the UFC’s 25th anniversary show with one of the greatest knockouts in the history of the sport.
Over the course of five rounds, Rodriguez was engaged in an absolute slugfest with Jung as the fighters constantly went after each other with a barrage of strikes much to the delight of the Denver crowd watching the featherweight war.
The fight ended with one second remaining in the final round after Rodriguez landed the most improbable upwards elbow strike that face planted Jung on the mat as the fight came to an end in stunning fashion.
Ahead of the knockout, it was a blistering back and forth battle throughout with both fighters absorbing damage and then returning fire with no fear of repercussion.
Throughout the first and second round, Jung was moving forward with a strong boxing attack, landing combinations in succession while constantly head hunting his opponent.
In return, Rodriguez came back with a devastating series of kicks just trying to eat up Jung’s lead leg whenever he stepped forward.
Known well for his flashy moves in the cage, Rodriguez uncorked several of those during the course of the fight including a spinning back elbow that landed flush in the second stanza but Jung lived up to his nickname by absorbing the shot and then just kept moving forward.
By the end of the third round, Jung had a cut on his lip from a back elbow that Rodriguez caught him with by surprise. “The Korean Zombie” returned the favor by constantly punching Rodriguez right in the mush with several boxing combinations that left the former ‘Ultimate Fighter’ winner bleeding from his mouth.
As time ticked away, Jung started to pick up his pace to land with more regularity as he began finding his rhythm on the feet with technically strong striking and resisting the urge to get drawn into a firefight with Rodriguez.
Jung landed arguably his best punch of the fight in the fourth round as he jumped forward with a crushing right hand that wobbled Rodriguez for a moment and sent him flailing backwards. Jung quickly followed up with a flying knee but Rodriguez was more than ready and he threw one of his own as they clashed against the cage.
The bloody war continued into the fifth and final round with Jung and Rodriguez just blasting away at each other and loving every minute of it. In fact midway through the round, the fighters paused momentarily to give a high five before they continued slugging it out.
While Jung slowed down a bit he was still landing with his right hand with regularity and it looked like he might cruise to a decision victory but just when he was seconds away from a win, one of the craziest knockouts ever witnessed took place inside the Octagon.
As Jung came forward with a barrage of punches, Rodriguez ducked under and then came back with an upward elbow that absolutely floored ‘The Korean Zombie’ and put him face down on the canvas.
1 second left… No better way to go out on the 25th Anniversary! pic.twitter.com/aGg1Z0bAeO
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) November 11, 2018
Jung hit the floor as the referee rushed into stop the fight and the end came at exactly 4:59 into the final round.
Following the end of the fight, Rodriguez revealed he likely suffered a broken foot in the first round from one of the early kicks he landed on Jung but he kept pushing forward until he earned the knockout.
There wasn’t much to say after that kind of shocking finish but Rodriguez was obviously elated to pull off such a monumental victory.
“I know the title shot is going to be there eventually. The only thing I care about now is being happy every moment from now on,” Rodriguez said.
It’s been a crazy time for Rodriguez after suffering his first UFC loss last year to Frankie Edgar and then dealing with injuries that kept him sidelines for most of 2017 and 2018. He also got embroiled in a nasty dispute with the UFC that actually ended with his release from the promotion until cooler heads prevailed and Rodriguez was brought back to the UFC.
Now he stands with another win on his record and arguably one of the greatest knockouts in UFC history.