exactly five years ago, on November 10, 2018, in the American Denver (Colorado) was held , as it seemed at first, an unremarkable UFC Fight Night 139 tournament, which radically changed the history of both the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and mixed martial arts in general.
In the main event of the evening, Mexican featherweight Yair Rodriguez turned the fight upside down and knocked out the famous Jung Chan Son, known to MMA fans as the Korean Zombie. The fact is that the finish happened at the last second of the fight! Of course, that knockout was the latest in UFC history – breaking this record is simply unrealistic. But it can be repeated: in 2019, Scotsman Paul Craig caught the undefeated Magomed Ankalaev in a triangle, and the Russian tapped as a sign of surrender at the last second of the confrontation.
"Rodriguez created the craziest knockout in history! There was only a second left until the end of the fight when he landed that elbow. Yair lost the rounds with a score of 4-1. The fight was already in Zombie’s pocket, he only had one second left to fight… Wow, wow! jpg” />
Head of UFC
The boss of the main MMA promotion is not lying at all when assessing the pattern of the fight. The Korean Zombie confidently took the victory, but, as often happens in professional sports, a momentary loss of concentration and the desire to make an exchange to the delight of the public led to the poor fighter collapsing face first into the canvas.
As the Korean later admitted, the replacement of his opponent played against him. After all, he was originally supposed to fight former UFC champion Frankie Edgar, a short, right-handed wrestler. And Rodriguez came in as a replacement – a tall striker, and also a left-hander… Another question: how important is the difference in styles in a situation when an experienced athlete makes such a mistake a moment before the end of the fight?
"The loss in the fight with Rodriguez was devastating for me, but I accepted this outcome. Everything went according to plan, I constantly put pressure on him. However, this is a sport. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. <…> Another reason is my aggression. “I was going to finish him – that’s my calling,” the loser lamented in an interview with MMA Junkie.
Needless to say, as his career came to an end, the defeat five years ago became the most painful for the Korean (there were eight of them in total, five by knockout). After the nightmare in the Pepsi Center arena, Zombie fought six more fights (3-3) and even received the opportunity to fight for the belt for his past services. But two knockouts in a row from Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway made it clear to the athlete and his team: they need to stop in time and put an end to Singapore.
To the favorite track of the Irish rock band The Cranberries “Zombie”.
But for the Panther (the nickname of the Mexican – editor's note), that finish remains the main highlight in the resume. Exhausted and beaten, Rodriguez took the risk of going all in – the chance was one in a million. And how everything turned out in that episode! Zombie's terrible half-position, the Mexican's successful deflection and an unimaginably twisted elbow, which, as if magnetized, found the opponent's jaw. Rodriguez himself could not believe that the blow reached the target, and described what happened as “holy crap”… Just as hundreds of fans who were already heading home couldn’t believe it – there was no intrigue in the judge’s verdict.
Interesting fact: after the show, Rodriguez received two bonuses of 50 thousand dollars for “Performance of the Night” and “Best Fight of the Night”. For the latest achievement, the “dance partner” Korean Zombie was also awarded a bonus.