- Song Yadong is the betting underdog at +110.
- Ricky Simon is the betting favorite at -135.
The MMA action continues this weekend inside the APEX Center in Las Vegas as bantamweight contenders take center stage in the main event, where No. 8-ranked contender Song Yadong (19-7-1) takes on the No. 10-ranked challenger Ricky Simon (20-3) to determine who will move up the rankings in the deep 135-pound division. Song and Simon have contrasting results in their last fights.
— UFC (@ufc) April 24, 2023
Song is coming off a tough loss to Cory Sandhagen in his last fight after suffering a fourth-round doctor’s stoppage result, while Simon is riding a five-fight winning streak, with his latest win coming against the previously unbeaten Jack Shore via second-round submission. Because of this, Simon comes in as the betting favorite in UFC odds at -135, and Song takes the underdog role in online sports betting at +110.
A win for either man will almost guarantee a top-five-ranked opponent in his next fight and possibly bring him closer to title contention. Although the roadmap for cracking a shot at the belt is still a long way to go for the winner of this bantamweight showdown, a victory in the main event can surely add value to a fighter’s stock, thus keeping their status as a legitimate challenger in the division.
Song Yadong Recent Fight Results
At 25, Song Yadong is already an 11-fight veteran in the UFC with eight wins, two losses, and a draw under the promotion. Before signing with the UFC in 2017, the Chinese MMA star already had 17 bouts in six different promotions, where he amassed a record of 11 wins, five losses, and one no-contest. He made a dream debut under the Dana White-headed promotion by submitting Bharat Kandare in November 2017 via Guillotine choke in the opening round.
The “Kung Fu Kid” continued his UFC streak with victories over Felipe Arantes (second-round knockout in June 2018), Vince Morales (unanimous decision in November 2018), and Alejandro Perez (first-round knockout in July 2019). In December 2019, Song and Cody Stamann fought in a majority draw after three rounds of back-and-forth action. It was Song’s first draw in his MMA career. The fighter out of Tianjin, China, quickly bounced back from this hiccup in his record.
Song unanimously beat Marlon Vera in May 2020 to get back to winning ways. However, in March 2021, Song was defeated by Kyler Phillips via a unanimous decision to sustain his first loss under the Las Vegas-based promotion. This prompted the Team Alpha Male representative to win his next three fights against Casey Kenney (split decision), Julio Arce (second-round TKO), and Marlon Moraes (first-round knockout).
— UFC (@ufc) March 13, 2022
Cory Sandhagen delayed Song’s full ascent to the upper rankings of the bantamweight division in September 2022 after suffering his second loss in the UFC by a fourth-round doctor’s stoppage. It was only Song’s second TKO/KO stoppage defeat in his 28-fight professional career, and he looks to bounce back from this latest setback with an outstanding victory over Ricky Simon this Saturday.
Ricky Simon Recent Fight Results
Ricky Simon was the LFA bantamweight champion when he joined the UFC in 2018 with a record of 12 wins, including six stoppages, and only one loss. He made his promotional debut against Merab Dvalishvili in April 2018 and scored a third-round technical submission. Then, he instantly added two more decision wins against Montel Jackson (in August 2018) and Rani Yahya (in February 2019) to extend his UFC streak to three.
After this dream UFC start for the American Top Team athlete, he suffered back-to-back losses from Uriah Faber (first-round TKO in July 2019) and Rob Font (unanimous decision in December 2019) to absorb his second and third setbacks in his professional MMA career. These consecutive defeats didn’t deter Simon because he was able to string together another winning streak and get back to the rankings of the 135-pound division.
Simon eked out a split decision win over Ray Borg in May 2020 before beating Gaetano Pirello via second-round submission in January 2021, then Brian Kelleher via unanimous decision in February 2021, and Raphael Assuncao via second-round knockout in December 2021. His latest victory came against the previously unbeaten prospect Jack Shore in July 2022. Simon pulled off a second-round Arm-Triangle choke finish on Shore to give him his first MMA loss.
— UFC (@ufc) July 16, 2022
Song vs. Simon: Tale of the Tape
Song vs. Simon: Fight Analysis
Ricky Simon holds a two-inch advantage in both height and reach over Song Yadong, although Song is five years younger. They have an identical leg reach of 38 inches, and both have an impressive finishing rate—58% for Song and 50% for Simon. Also, these bantamweights are similar in fighting style, with striking as their primary weapon against their opposition. This is evident in their significant strike numbers.
Song lands more significant strikes at 4.55 per minute compared to Simon’s 3.04 output; however, the American has the better rate at 44% versus Song’s 41%. Additionally, Simon has the better defensive stats at 2.95 absorbed strikes per minute at 64% against Song’s 3.93 significant strikes, equivalent to 59%. In the grappling department, though, it is a different story.
Simon has an enormous lead in takedown average of 6.55 per 15 minutes (52% accuracy) in contrast to the Song’s 0.63 production (55% accuracy). The takedown defense and submission average was also in Simon’s favor, with 75% and 0.46 compared to Song’s 71% and 0.25 numbers. Stylistically, it will be an exciting fight, given how young and hungry these fighters are, plus their similar approach of fighting on the feet.
Song and Simon each possess a one-strike knockout power, so the key for either man is to patiently wait for the opening to try and counter it with the perfect shot. Aside from their lethal power, both fighters have displayed durability and heart whenever they face adversaries inside the Octagon. If neither lands a huge blow, it will go down to their in-fight adjustment and IQ to take out their opponent.
This is where Simon’s experience comes in, as he can grapple and clinch with Song to neutralize his power and utilize his submission skills, much like he did to the Shore, whom he submitted in the second round of their match. To pull the favorable position for Simon, he needs to time the level change perfectly to secure the takedown. From there, he must engineer the submission maneuver to secure the win.
Official Prediction: Submission victory for Ricky Simon.
See the entire UFC Fight Night: Song vs. Simon odds and wagers here.
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