After almost a 2 year layoff and coming off a championship loss to Max Holloway, Brian Ortega is once again in the title picture.

“T-City” made his successful return with a very dominant decision win over Chan Sung Jung in a bout with heavy title implications.

Kick after kick, jab after jab, and jaw-dropping elbows led the fight for Ortega and the champ, Alexander Volkanovski had high praise for the Californian’s win.

One thing that stood out from the title eliminator was the flashy, spinning back elbows unleashed from the brilliant Brian Ortega, one of which, dropped ‘The Korean Zombie’ in round 2. This creative weapon almost led to the finish after landing, however Jung, being the Zombie he is, was able to outlast the onslaught.

Ortega’s new weapon in his arsenal was found to be developed in his 638-day layoff. The former UFC title challenger had many surprises for the Korean, with the landing elbows proving effective each time.

What caused the inspiration for these new moves? Perhaps it was drawn from 25 minutes of fight tape from the military veteran’s last loss… The fight with Yair Rodriguez. Or should I say, war?

The 2018 Fight of the Year candidate also ended up being a KO of the Year nominee as the bout ended with a upwards elbow by Yair Rodriguez with only one second left in the fight.

Yair Rodriguez stops Chan Sung Jung in the last second of their 5 round main event.
Photo by MMA Fighting.

A few months after the suffering defeat, The Korean Zombie would rise from the grave to defeat the likes of Renato Moicano and Frankie Edgar, both of whom were also finished by his opponent, Brian Ortega. While very successful in 2019, his past would come to haunt him as the finishing moves used against him would cause his downfall in 2020.

Ortega took a piece out of “El Pantera’s” book and established killer spinning back elbows that would drop and stun the Korean in 25 minutes of Octagon time.

Post-fight, Daniel Cormier would go on to ask ‘T-City’ if their was any inspiration behind his ‘hellbows’.

“It’s all about baiting him in for this.” said Ortega. “Bait him in for kicks, bait him in for jabs, baiting him in for strikes, bait him in for spinning back elbow.”

“Especially after that Yair [Rodriguez] loss, I figured it’s still in his head. You’re like, oh shoot. I don’t want to go there with that guy.”

With props to Yair Rodriguez’s buzzer beater, the score is now settled between Chan Sung Jung and Brian Ortega, with the new cemented #1 contender looking to be the second Mexican-American champion in UFC history.

By Chris De Santiago

Founder and lead editor of MMA Island, former journalist at Asian Persuasion MMA.

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