“Iron Turtle” Park Joon-yong (32, Korean Top Team), whose stock price has recently risen in Octagon, is scary. Park Joon-yong played against fighter Machete and Albert Duraev (34, Russia) from the Chechen Republic of Russia in the middleweight match of the “UFC Fight Night: Home vs. Bueno Silva” competition at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada on the 16th (Korea Standard Time).

As the opponent is the opponent, the game was not expected to be easy. Duraev served as a welterweight-middleweight double champion in Russia’s top MMA group “ACB (currently ACA)”, and boasted a steep rise by running a 10-game winning streak since 2015. Joaquin Berkley was caught and the winning streak was cut off, but he took the next game to victory and prevented it from leading to the losing streak. It can be seen that he has a stable and steady performance.

Of course, Park Joon-yong was no less on the rise. He lost one game after three consecutive wins, but soon showed a momentum of not being defeated by three consecutive wins. As if to prove this, he won the second round 4 minutes and 45 seconds of the rear-naked choke submission. He won three consecutive UFC finishes and four consecutive wins with a submission. This is tied with Korea’s best record held by Jung Chan-sung, Choi Doo-ho (three consecutive finishes), and Kim Dong-hyun (four consecutive wins), respectively, and if he wins the finish again, he will break the records held by his seniors one after another.

Unlike Jung Chan-sung, Choi Doo-ho (featherweight), and Kim Dong-hyun (welterweight), the middleweight is also worth reducing plus points. It is also notable that he took three consecutive finishes with only a submission. Park Joon-yong is a puncher-style player whose main feature is fist attacks such as one-two based on his sharp jab. After entering the UFC, the counter was trimmed, so it was not pushed back in the standing fight.

He showed weaknesses in the ground fight before his debut, but later his grappling skills improved as he focused on wrestling training. It is well-received not only in defense but also in pressure-type grappling, which puts down the opponent throughout the round. In addition, he is evolving into an all-round fighter as his submission finishing ability has developed.

In this game, the winning formula of submission victory due to hitting pressure was also matched. At the beginning of the first round, Duraev seemed to be struggling with Duraev’s powerful left-handed hook and low kick, but he did not back down. The pressure began to increase gradually. Before the end of the round, he was on the verge of getting a tap with a Gilotin choke.

Entering the second round, Duraev was visibly exhausted. Park Joon-yong’s continued pressure caused his physical strength to fall early. Duraev, who was under pressure, attempted a take-down, but Park Joon-yong quickly shook off and woke up. Park Joon-yong did not give up the flow. As he continued to jab, he pushed Duraev to the cage and poured out consecutive hits. In the end, the left-handed hook followed by the body shot and elbow burst, and Duraev, who could not stand, collapsed.

Park Joon-yong immediately followed the ground. After dominating the back position, he hung a rear-naked choke. At first, Duraev calmly defended, but Park Joon-yong did not give up and continued to try the technique. In the end, Duraev had no choice but to tap as the grip was made properly. Park Joon-yong, who won four consecutive games, celebrated his victory with his unique cheerful dance.

The victory over Duraev also raised expectations for Park Joon-yong’s entry into the middleweight ranking. Since he recorded his seventh UFC win (two losses) with four consecutive wins and three consecutive finishes, the next game is likely to be a match to enter the middleweight top 15 rankings. Fans have high expectations for Park Joon-yong as no Korean rankers have appeared since Jung Chan-sung.

Park Joon-yong said at a press conference after the game, “I didn’t think it was complicated. It came out exactly as I trained in the gym. There’s nothing special. It’s a battle in the field that you’re good at anyway. “My sparring routine is to finish with a submission when the opponent walks to the ground after drying up his physical strength by hitting,” he explained his game strategy.

Regarding the dance ceremony, “I usually like to drink, but it’s a dance that I sometimes do when I drink.” I’ll dance again if there’s a beer,” he said, drawing laughter from the audience.

Park Joon-yong’s Kakao Talk profile has a captured scene from a boxing cartoon and uploads it. “Remember, the trick of the counter is timing and courage!” is the line. This is a scene that goes well with Park Joon-yong’s recent appearance, which has significantly increased his submission finish ability following the existing punch attack. Following featherweight Jung Chan-sung, let’s pay attention to whether middleweight Park Joon-yong can emerge as the center of the weight class sensation.


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