The UFC featherweight division has provided some of the most dynamic and exciting matches in the promotion of late. On Saturday, Renato Moicano and Chan Sung Jung, referred to affectionately as "The Korean Zombie," will look to continue that trend.
Multiple statistical categories favor Moicano in the match. However, Jung has always been a game challenger. The following examines the statistical categories that could determine the UFC Fight Night main event winner.
Moicano has a pretty clear edge over Jung in terms of striking differential. He lands more and absorbs fewer on a per-minute basis. In the UFC, Moicano has landed 5.60 significant strikes per minute and absorbed only 3.52, which leaves him with a plus-2.07 differential. Currently, there are only three ranked featherweights with higher differentials: Zabit Magomedsharipov, Alexander Volkanovski and champion Max Holloway.
With a plus-0.31 differential, Jung finds himself below the average for ranked featherweights (plus-0.75). For his UFC/WEC career, he has landed a respectable 4.12 significant strikes per minute, but he is slightly below average in strikes absorbed per minute at 3.81. Jung's defensive issues have only been exacerbated since his return from mandatory military service for his native South Korea in 2017. In his past two fights, Jung absorbed a staggering 5.06 significant strikes per minute.
Even if Jung is able to hang with Moicano offensively, he likely will get the worst of the exchanges due to his defensive shortcomings. Standing in the pocket and throwing strikes is certainly congruent with Jung's style. However, it also will likely get him into trouble against Moicano.
One of the biggest factors in Moicano's success in the striking realm is what he does at distance. In his UFC career, 96 percent of his landed significant strikes have come at distance, which is defined as standing and not in the clinch. Not only does he do a vast majority of his striking at distance, he also is accurate in the position, landing 46 percent of his attempts. On the other hand, Jung lands only 35 percent of his distance strikes.
Considering Moicano does most of his striking at distance, his striking differential remains pretty consistent when including only distance strikes. At distance, Moicano lands 5.35 per minute and absorbs 3.35 for a plus-2.00 differential. The same can't be said for Jung. At distance, his striking differential falls into the negative, at minus-0.50.
Moicano has a clear statistical edge in the overall striking game. That advantage appears to be even larger at distance. Jung will likely need to find a way to force the fight into the clinch or on the ground.
One of the reasons Moicano has been so successful at distance is his ability to land strikes to his opponents' legs. Twenty-six percent of his landed significant strikes have come against that target. In his seven-fight UFC career, he has landed 112 leg strikes and absorbed only 58, and he has landed 86% of significant leg strike attempts.
Jung focuses his striking attacks toward the head, and he lands worse than 10% of his significant strikes to the legs. He also remains vulnerable to leg strikes, as 20% of his absorbed significant strikes have landed against his legs in his UFC/WEC career.
An essential element of Moicano's ability to outland opponents at distance is his ability to throw leg strikes at range. Based on the historical performances of both fighters, this is likely an advantage Moicano will enjoy against Jung.
Although it might be wise tactically for Jung to look for the clinch and takedowns, he might not be able to dictate position against Moicano. During his UFC/WEC career, Jung has averaged 0.81 takedowns per 15 minutes of fight time. That number is both less than outstanding and somewhat misleading. He has landed five takedowns in his career, with four coming against Dustin Poirier in 2012. Since that fight, he has failed on six straight takedown attempts and landed zero.
Not only does Moicano excel when it comes to striking at distance, but he has been able to force his opponents into that kind of fight. In his second UFC fight, he was taken down three times by Zubaira Tukhugov. However, since that fight, he has stuffed five straight takedown attempts and landed five takedowns of his own.
All fights start at distance, and if Jung is not able to change the position of the contest, he might be forced to slug it out at distance with Moicano. Jung has never shied away from a wild striking battle, but if this happens, the fight leans strongly in favor of the Brazilian.