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Holloway gets KO win over Korean Zombie in UFC Fight Night; Chan announces retirement

SINGAPORE – Former featherweight champion Max Holloway marked his return to Singapore with a knockout win over Chan Sung-jung in the main event of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Fight Night on Saturday.

Holloway’s delight was a sharp contrast to the tearful farewell from Chan, nicknamed “The Korean Zombie”, as the latter then announced his retirement from professional mixed martial arts (MMA) after the bout, which was witnessed by 10,263 spectators at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

The MMA fans, who patiently sat through seven prelims and five main fights, were treated to a bloodthirsty spectacle.

Walking into the arena to the familiar anthem of The Cranberries’ Zombie, Chan was greeted by chants of “zombie, zombie, zombie” ahead of his first fight since April 2022.

Holloway, who last fought in Singapore in 2014, draped a Hawaii flag across his shoulders as Moke Boy’s Hawaiian Kickboxer reverberated around the arena. It was an emotional moment for the Hawaiian native, who later dedicated his win to the victims of the Maui fires.

After a tightly contested first round, it was Holloway who landed the first blow 30 seconds into the second period. It looked like the contest was over when Chan was knocked to the floor and put in a chokehold. Yet the “Korean Zombie” lived up to his moniker and got back on his feet, drawing loud cheers from the crowd.

Holloway, 31, said: “I thought I had him out but he kept coming back. I thought ‘Oh my god’, what’s going on?

“I swear I saw him stop breathing. He’s an actual zombie, man, his neck was made out of rubber, I think. Next thing I know, we’re in the third round.”

Chan began the third round with ferocious intensity, barrelling Holloway with a flurry of punches. Withstanding the onslaught, the latter scored the decisive knockout punch within 23 seconds.

Bowing to the crowd and embracing his team, an emotional Chan said post-fight: “I’m going to stop fighting. I’ve always wanted to become champion when I first started the sport. I’m not here to be ranked third, fourth or fifth.

“I tried my absolute best to prepare for Max Holloway. I really, really believed I could beat him but I ended up failing. I don’t think I have the opportunity any more, so I think I’m going to stop right now.”

Paying tribute to his opponent, Holloway said: “He (Chan) helped change the sport in a big way, so I got nothing but love for TKZ.

“The last two weeks, I had a lot of emotion. We use the word mana (a supernatural power in Polynesian belief) and it was here tonight.”

According to the UFC, Saturday’s event was the highest-grossing fight night in Singapore history with $1,288,777 in revenue. Ticket prices ranged from $68 to $12,888.

In the co-main event, American Anthony Smith, No. 8 in the men’s light-heavyweight rankings, recovered from a bruised eye that left him with blurred vision in the second round to defeat compatriot Ryan Spann on split decision.

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