For the first time ever, the UFC stages an event in South Carolina – specifically Greenville on Saturday for UFC Fight Night 154/UFC on ESPN+ 12. The card is headlined by a featherweight bout between Renato Moicano and Chan Sung Jung – otherwise known as the “Korean Zombie.” Here’s a look at the two main fights and their UFC Odds.
UFC Fight Night 154 Odds, Analysis & Picks
- When: Saturday, 7 PM ET
- Where: Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Greenville, SC
- Live Stream: ESPN+
Renato Moicano (13-2-1) vs. Chan Sung Jung (14-5)
Moicano is a -210 favorite with Jung at +170 on the MMA odds. Moicano is actually a nickname – it’s really Renato Carneiro. The Brazilian had a two-fight winning streak snapped in February with a second-round TKO loss (punches) to former featherweight champion and legend Jose Aldo. That probably ended any realistic chances of Moicano getting a title shot soon.
Moicano did well to hang with Aldo in the opening round as the two fighters traded counter shots, with Aldo making a targeted effort to attack the body. One round later, it was a left hook to the midsection from Aldo that visibly hurt his Brazilian countryman in the opening minute. Aldo followed with a three-punch combination upstairs before aggressively stalking Moicano with power shots and refusing to allow him to take cover. Referee Jerin Valel jumped in at 44 seconds of Round 2 to rescue Moicano on his feet.
Aldo’s first UFC fight in the northeast area of Brazil was viewed by many as the main attraction that night, and Moicano admits that played a big factor in the cage.
“I got a lot of attention from fans, people coming to talk to me all the time, and maybe I didn’t handle that really well,” Moicano said. “People saying I was going to beat Jose Aldo, maybe I let that carry myself too much and didn’t dedicate to the big task I had ahead of me, which was beating Jose Aldo.”
Steadily developing a Muay Thai arsenal, Moicano can either stalk or stick and move, using hard kicks from both sides. Striking in combination when feeling in stride, Moicano does increasingly better at punching his way in and out of the pocket. Moicano is already 30 years old, so there may not be much more development left, but with a win here, he might find himself back in the featherweight title picture if everything breaks right.
Jung, who lost to Aldo by TKO in 2013 and then took four years off to serve in the Korean military and due to injury, also comes off a loss: by knockout (elbow) to Yair Rodriguez last November with just one second left in the fifth round. It might have been the most unlikely knockout in UFC history. Jung was ahead on the scorecards entering the final round, and with just a few seconds left on the clock, he blitzed forward to put an exclamation point on his win. That was a huge mistake. He was met with a bending back elbow by Rodriguez on the final tick of the clock.
Moicano should be able to dictate the terms of their exchanges, owing to his strong jab and ability to set a range, so it will be up to Jung to score a finish at some point over 25 minutes. When Jung decides to blitz in with a burst of offense, Moicano may not react well if the finish to the Aldo fight is any indication.
John Lineker (31-9) vs. Rob Font (16-4)
Lineker is a -220 favorite with Font at +180 for this bantamweight bout. Lineker apparently really needed this fight. This is a rematch as in May 2016 at UFC 198, Lineker beat Font by unanimous decision.
The Brazilian Lineker comes off a split-decision loss to Corey Sandhagen in April. Sandhagen ended the fight stuck in Lineker’s guillotine choke with blood streaming out of his nose, but the work he’d done up to that point paid off once he’d survived the late scare. Sandhagen was the winner with scores of 29-28, 28-29, and 29-28.
Sandhagen controlled most of the early going by dictating the range and the pace of the striking exchanges, using his height and reach to keep Lineker at bay. But as the fight wore on, Lineker became more aggressive. Not long after that loss, Lineker said he had to fight again soon because a lack of a constant payday from the UFC had forced him to take a day job at a pet store to support his family. He asked to be released from the contract if he didn’t receive a fight soon. Lineker wasn’t on this card originally but replaced an injured Cody Stamann.
Font is off a unanimous decision win in December over Sergio Pettis. From the outset, Font established his main weapon in the contest: his jab. He tagged Pettis with it numerous times in the opening minutes, which allowed the rest of his game to open up behind it. All three judges scored it 30-27.
“I got my jab going, but he was a lot slicker with the head movement and the footwork than I thought,” Font said in his post-fight interview with Jon Anik. “I didn’t get the finish or the knockout, but I got the W, some ring time, and I’m happy with the performance.”
At his best, Font does an excellent job of chasing down his opponents and laying on the violence, whether it is using his knockout power or a functional submission game.
Expert Picks for UFC Fight Night 154
Moicano by decision and Lineker by decision.