Song Yadong and Ricky Simon headed into the main event of UFC Fight Night 223 that was a dead heat on paper. What resulted was a lopsided beating, establishing Yadong’s credentials as a legitimate contender in the division.
Yadong dominated every moment of the bout, eventually stopping an exhausted Simon in the fifth round. There was no moment in the fight where Yadong wasn’t in control. Yadong stopped Simon’s takedown game early on, and then applied a strenuous amount of pressure ahead of the stoppage.
As the rounds went on, Yadong’s effective striking and bodywork slowed Simon down. Late in the fourth round, Yadong uncorked Simon with a left hook but was unable to secure the stoppage. In the next round, however, the left hook found its mark and Yadong followed it up to end the bout.
The win, Yadong’s ninth in the UFC, was a big one for his momentum. Based on the strength of his performance, Yadong figures to inch his way further into title contention. Post-fight, he called out Sean O’Malley, Marlon Vera, or any top-five ranked opponent to face him.
With O’Malley the #1 ranked fighter at bantamweight, he’s likely to pass on Yadong. Vera, on the other hand, is reeling from a horrible performance in his loss to Cory Sandhagen. Sandhagen previously defeated Yadong by fourth-round TKO in his previous fight.
With the win, Yadong moves to 20-7-1.
Simon sees his five-fight win streak snapped, dropping to 20-4.
UFC Fight Night 223 full card results
Song Yadong def. Ricky Simon via TKO (punches) – Round 5, 1:10
Caio Borralho def. Michal Oleksiejczuk via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 2:49
Rodolfo Vieira def. Cody Brundage via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 2, 1:28
Fernando Padilla def. Julian Erosa via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:41
Marcos Rogerio def. Waldo Cortes-Acosta via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Trey Waters def. Josh Quinlan via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Martin Buday def. Jake Collier via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Cody Durden def. Charles Johnson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Irina Alekseeva def. Stephanie Egger via submission (kneebar) – Round 1, 2:11
Marcus McGhee def. Journey Newson via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 2:03
Jamey-Lyn Horth def. Hailey Cowan via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)