UFC president Dana White confirmed that the winner of The Korean Zombie vs. Brian Ortega will get a featherweight title shot.
Bitter rivals ever since an incident at UFC 248 that saw Ortega slap the Korean Zombie’s friend Jay Park, The Korean Zombie and Ortega will finally get locked in the same cage on October 17 on Fight Island to settle their differences. They meet for five rounds or less to determine who will get a title shot against UFC featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski.
Speaking to Sports Illustrated, White confirmed that The Korean Zombie vs. Ortega is a title eliminator fight at 145lbs.
“Yes, I think so,” White said. “First, this kid (The Korean Zombie) has superstar written all over him. He was called into the military in the prime of his career in South Korea. Then he gets out and has that incredible fight with Yair Rodriguez. He gets caught with one second left with that crazy elbow. He’s battled a couple injuries and had some bad luck along the way, but this is a big fight with Ortega.
“I’m excited it’s finally happening,” White added. “Whoever wins this fight, it catapults one of these guys into a shot at the title.”
The champion at 145lbs Volkanovski hasn’t fought since a July split decision win over Max Holloway and is eager to get back into the Octagon in the next few months. With the Korean Zombie vs. Ortega fight just over a week away, their timeline matches up well with when the champion wants to make his next title defense.
Then again, there is still the aforementioned Rodriguez and Zabit Magomedsharipov still waiting for their crack at the belt. The UFC has had issues booking this fight and most recently saw it delayed once again due to an injury by Rodriguez. Considering Rodriguez has a head-to-head KO win over The Korean Zombie on his record, you would think he would be a little bit ahead when it comes to a title shot.
But because The Korean Zombie has been more active recently, it appears that he has passed Rodriguez in terms of the title picture. As for Magomedsharipov, he is unbeaten in the UFC but he hasn’t fought since last November when he defeated Calvin Kattar, another hot fighter. The UFC tends to reward fighters who stay active and title shots are often based on timing, which is why The Korean Zombie and Ortega are in the title eliminator.
Do you agree with Dana White anointing The Korean Zombie vs. Brian Ortega as a title eliminator at 145lbs?