4. The Korean Zombie vs. Yair Rodriguez at UFC Denver
A matchup between two of the most unorthodox fighters in MMA that only like to meet in the circle of the Octagon and trade wild combinations? How could this fight be anything but what we expected and I would argue, it delivered even more than we thought.
Back in 2018, both The Korean Zombie (Chan Sung Jung) and current interim UFC featherweight champion Yair Rodriguez were in a bit of a limbo. Jung had lost to Jose Aldo for the title before embarking on a four-year hiatus from MMA to fulfill his obligatory military service back home in South Korea, coming back to win in 2017. Rodriguez was seen as the future of the 145-pound division thanks to his jaw-dropping displays however, Frankie Edgar showed him there were still levels for him to climb and TKO’d the up-and-comer back to reality.
When this bout was set as a main event, it was clear we were in for a fun fight yet, the lengths these two went to just stay up is incredible. Jung looked exceptional early on, not letting Rodriguez land any of his wild strikes. It was clear that Rodriguez had the speed advantage but not the power as his face was quickly becoming a bloody mess. The second round saw the momentum swing toward Rodriguez as the two traded hard shots.
The third and fourth seemed to signal that Jung had this one in the bag. His experience and combinations were starting to land flush whilst Rodriguez was still looking to land a significant shot. Jung controlled the pace and was heading into the final round with the lead. Rodriguez was going to need something quick if he was going to get the victory.
The fifth round saw both men try their best to keep the pace but you could tell they were both exhausted. They kept trading hard shots but would even take a little pause at times to catch their breaths, acknowledging just how tired they were. With 10 seconds left, it seemed Jung was about to pick up a key victory. That was until he rushed Rodriguez.
With just one second left, Rodriguez ducked the incoming flurry and connected a perfect, no-look elbow, laying Jung flat on his stomach to pick up the win at 4:59 of the very final round. While the strike seems to land with a lot of luck, you can see that Rodriguez was setting it up the whole fight, eventually connecting when he needed it most.
An incredible come from behind victory with an unorthodox KO. There was no way this fight would not make the list. It only sits at four because the rest were either better or had more on the line, however, this is definitely my pick for greatest featherweight knockout of all time.