There were a lot of fun fights at UFC Vegas 50. Most matches ended before the final bell, and of the few bouts that did go the full 15, only the main event was particularly uneventful. Despite that sour finishing note, it was a really enjoyable night of combat.
However, one performance stands out above the rest: Song Yadong’s brutal shellacking of Marlon Moraes.
On paper, it’s not the most shocking result. Yadong is 24 years old and on the rise, whereas Moraes entered the contest in the midst of a three-fight skid. “The Kung Fu Monkey” was deservedly the favorite, and he typically wins by knockout. If you didn’t watch the fight, it’s not that notable.
That’s the reductive view. Anyone who actually watched the fight walked away impressed, because Yadong made it real clear that he’s a notch above the other young Bantamweight prospects.
First, let’s discuss Moraes. He’s only lost to elite contenders, and he’s put up a good fight more often than not. He damn near killed Merab Dvalishvili last time out. Prior to this fight, Moraes left his family to travel to Thailand, embracing his Muay Thai roots and fully committing to his training regiment. He clearly showed up in tremendous shape.
“Magic” may not be in his prime anymore, but he’s not fully washed.
Song Yadong treated him like he was a non-threat. Literally at the first bell, Yadong threw like a five-punch combination, ripping a pair of those punches to the body — no warming up or range finding necessary. His overhand connected moments later, rattling Moraes and introducing him to the key problem that all of Yadong’s future opponents will have to answer: the man is really f—king fast.
Again, Moraes has lost recently. Sandhagen was more technical and rangy, whereas men like Rob Font and the aforementioned Dvalishvili relied on pure grit and aggression. Prior to last night though, no one had ever made Moraes look several athletic layers beneath them.
Yadong was so fast and powerful that Moraes couldn’t adjust. The Brazilian’s formidable counters and power kicks did not back Yadong off. The Chinese fighter kept his foot on the gas pedal, cutting off the cage and attacking in lightning bursts. The finishing sequence was a thing of beauty, a right hand followed by a crisp pair of uppercuts. That’s not a combo we see in MMA often, and it’s one Yadong used smartly after first establishing the threat of his overhand.
Surely a Top 10 ranked Bantamweight come Tuesday, Yadong is only getting better and seems positioned to be a big problem at 135 pounds for years to come.
For complete UFC Vegas 50: “Santos vs. Ankalaev” results and play-by-play, click HERE!