You might balk at the idea of a fight where all five rounds were scored 10-9 in favor of the winner landing on this list, but if you watched this featherweight main event, you understand.
This was Ortega’s first fight since his loss to Max Holloway at UFC 231, as injuries and delays kept the L.A. original on the sidelines for nearly two years. It was his return after tasting defeat for the first time, and his first bout since stripping his team and himself down to the studs and rebuilding something new.
When he walked into the Octagon, he looked like a new man — the flowing locks twisted into braided designs he’d become known for replaced by a freshly shorn head and steely intensity. Stylistically, he was a different fighter as well.
Ortega decisively and effortlessly outboxing “The Korean Zombie” wasn’t something many people thought would happen, but that’s exactly how this one played out. At every turn, “T-City” was quicker, sharper, cleaner, working at a steady pace that kept Jung from ever really finding a rhythm or having any kind of prolonged period of success.
When a fighter suffers a lopsided loss like the one Ortega did at the hands of Holloway, I’m always curious to know how they’re going to respond. In his case, that drubbing was his first professional loss, so the experience of losing was completely foreign to him as well, which only upped the intrigue.
Against Jung, the ultra-talented 29-year-old showed that not only were there no ill effects of his first loss, but that he was ready to challenge for championship gold once again.