Song and Simon – Expect a big showdown on Saturday night.
Song Yadong and Ricky Simon make their way to the Octagon on Saturday night, squaring off in the main event of UFC Vegas 72. This is a fight with potentially big ramifications for a stacked division. Read on to find our official prediction for what is sure to be a barn-burner of a fight!
Song Yadong; Ricky Simon – background to the fight…
Ricky Simon has been on an absolute demolition job recently. He comes into this fight on the back of a five fight win streak, the most recent of which came against Jack “Tank” Shore. A very tidy win indeed. Simon has long been touted as one of the next big things at bantamweight, and seems to finally be coming good. Following successive losses to Urijah Faber and Rob Font, said run of wins has not only been welcome, but extremely impressive too.
Song Yadong's recent trajectory has been not too dissimilar from Simon's. Impressive knockout wins over Julio Arce and Marlon Moraes were followed by an absolute battering at the hands of Cory Sandhagen last September (no shame in that). Like Simon, Yadong has long been touted as one of the future stars of the bantamweight division. Like Simon, Song is looking to firmly get momentum back on track, as well as to start building towards potential top 5 status.
Ricky Simon looking to continue red hot form – Path to victory…
at the risk of oversimplifying this, Ricky Simon's path to victory is pretty straightforward – he is extremely athletic, with a very solid wrestling base. Especially in his last outing against Shore, many people were surprised at just how rapid Simon moves, gliding and sliding around the octagon. This flowing movement will be essential against Song Yadong if Simon is to win.
Another big factor for a potential Simon victory is leg kicks. Kicking Song's lead leg out from under him will be essential if Ricky wants to win. We'll talk more about Song Yadong below, but he essentially stands quite traditionally, with a high guard, stalking his opponents. Buckling the lead leg will destroy any forward artillery Song may try to aim at Simon. Combining these kicks with said athletic movement and wrestling gives Ricky Simon a very good shot at victory.
Song Yadong seeking big return to form – Path to victory…
Similar to Simon, Song has a couple of clear routes to victory in this fight too. The first (as mentioned above), is that Song tends to fight with a pretty strong boxing stance. Said stance allows him to pick his shots, which then tend to absolutely crash through the defence of his opponents. Song Yadong is definitely one of the hardest hitters at 135 lbs, a fact that is not to be taken lightly at all.
The second factor for a Yadong victory could come down to his octagon presence. Yadong has excellent footwork, and this is often used to manipulate the space inside the octagon. Yadong's capacity for cornering his opponents is a key ingredient in the formula of his success. If he is able to implement this against Ricky Simon, Song Yadong could be on the verge of a big win.
So, Song Yadong or Ricky Simon – who wins?
Whether Simon's wrestling or Song's striking, expect an extremely entertaining fight that doesn't go the distance.
This fight is a very, very close one. Most odds have Simon as a slight betting favourite, hovering around -115, whilst Song Yadong is around +105. So, the odds back up our assertion that this fight is far from easy to call.
Ricky Simon, on the one hand, very much carries the momentum heading into Saturday night. Five wins on the spin definitely counts for something, especially with such impressive performances. His athleticism, his wrestling, and his unrelenting pace all combine to make him a very dangerous opponent. For many, the win over Jack Shore was a seminal moment. Proof that Simon is very much for real, and that he is more than ready to mix it up with the créme-de-la-créme of the bantamweight division.
Song Yadong, though, does present a formidable proposition for Simon. Song might be coming off of a Cory Sandhagen-style smashing, but he will only have learned from that. Song's striking is supremely strong, and Simon has proven that he can get caught up in a firefight. If that happens, then Yadong would be the smart bet to finish the fight. Furthermore, Simon has to be extremely aware of octagon positioning. He cannot get backed up onto the fence, because Yadong will tee off on him if he does.
Official prediction? I think Simon might get out of the traps early and try to put the pressure on Yadong. However, remember that forward artillery from Yadong we mentioned earlier? I have a feeling Simon may walk straight into it. And if he does, he may well just fall. The official prediction is Song Yadong to score a big second round KO, and to pick up some huge momentum towards his charge to the top five.