Yadong Song is a man on a mission. This Chinese bantamweight contender is known for his clinical performances.
In a recent five-round main event, he faced Chris Gutierrez. It was a unanimous decision victory for Song at UFC Fight Night 233. The fight took place on a Saturday night at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Gutierrez tried to break Song with his signature leg kicks and other attacks. But Song returned the favor. He proved to be the harder puncher, continuously forcing Gutierrez to stay on the back foot.
Song, a Team Alpha Male product, also showed off his well-rounded game. He mixed in his takedowns in the last three rounds. He comfortably controlled Gutierrez and landed effective ground-and-pound strikes to score the victory.
After his main event win, Song sat down for a post-fight press conference. He discussed his performance and future aspirations as a Top 10 competitor in the stacked bantamweight division.
Song’s interaction with the media was insightful. He was asked about his state of mind following his main event victory. He responded, “Very calm right now. So, I had two friends [that] lost the fight. So, made me disappointed.”
When asked whether he believes he should have fought someone ahead of him in the rankings, he said, “I already fought two guys below me. So, I already earlier told I want to fight Petr Yan. He posted an emoji that meant the fight was boring, but his last fight was boring too. Like s—t. So, let’s fight [at UFC 299]. I heard that he wants to fight in March. Okay, let’s fight in March. We both don’t go back. Let’s see who is the best boxer in this division.”
He also shared his desire to fight in front of his home crowd in China. “Of course, I’d like to challenge for the belt in China. Getting the belt in China is going to be very exciting.”
In case the Petr Yan matchup doesn’t materialize, Song is open to other names. “Anyone in the Top 5. I want the Top 5 fighters; I don’t want to fight outside of [the] Top 10.”
His message to the rest of the division following his dominant performance against Gutierrez was simple. “I will knock everybody out.”
Song also shared his experience of Gutierrez grabbing his glove in the second frame. “Yeah. So, he grabbed my glove… I couldn’t pull my gloves out when he tried to triangle me… I told Herb Dean, ‘He tried to grab my wrist,’ then he said it. But I felt angry! I couldn’t pull it out, you know.”
He shared his game plan going into the bout with Gutierrez and whether he was worried about his foe’s leg kicks. “Yeah. I was ready for his leg kicks. You know, in every fight I want [to] knock everybody out, but you know this guy controlled the distance very well and I couldn’t find the distance and he always used his feints and his kicks. But my coach told me to do more MMA style and then I go to single [leg] and take him down. In the fourth round, I feel he [was] very tired. He had a heavy breath, you know. I know I will finish him but he [kept] holding me. He kept holding me on the ground.”
He was also asked about whether he was looking for a submission in the fourth and fifth rounds. “I haven’t been that situation [before]. I just want to hit him, knock him out and use my elbows. Next time I will do some more jiu-jitsu.”
Song also shared his prediction for the upcoming bantamweight title fight between Sean O’Malley and “Chito” Vera at UFC 299. “I pick Sean. Sean is smart. Good footwork, good speed. But I hope Chito could win the fight and have a rematch with me. That would be very good.”
Despite the Ecuadorian fighter’s relentless criticism of the result of their first meeting, he’d still like to rematch “Chito” Vera for the title. “Our first fight, this guy, he has been preparing for six months. No one fought with him. His opponents kept getting injured and UFC told me [about] the fight before two weeks. At that time COVID-19 [had] just started. I was in my home for one month. No training, even no running you know. Coach said I can do it, so I took the fight but, I didn’t have good conditioning. But actually, the fact is, I won the first two rounds. You guys can look again.”
His prediction for a potential rematch with “Chito” Vera is confident. “Whatever. Standup or on the ground, I can beat him up. He doesn’t have the confidence to fight with me, everybody knows. I’m not a kid right now, I’m 26 years old right now.”