For a rising contender, the chance to headline a UFC Fight Night card can be cause for celebration. But, for Chinese bantamweight Song Yadong, his main event assignment at UFC Vegas 83 is tinged with a little disappointment.
The event was originally slated to take place in Shanghai, with Song set to be the star of the show in the country of his birth. However, for undisclosed reasons, the event was relocated back to the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Song remained at the top of the fight card, and will face Chris Gutierrez in a five-round bantamweight bout in the main event.
“I’m very disappointed about this,” Yadong admitted during his media day session at the UFC Apex.
“I really wanted to fight in China because it’s my home. It’s been four years I haven’t been fighting in China. I wanted to show my family, my friends, all my US fans and all the MMA fans how much I improved. I wanted to make a good statement and a good opponent over there.”
Unfortunately for Song, that chance will have to wait for another day, as he prepares to compete in the States against Gutierrez, a tricky opponent whose range control and sharp striking has marked him out as a dangerous test for anyone in the 135-pound class. Song doesn’t necessarily see it that way, however.
“Every time I will say I will knock him out quickly,” he stated.
“I know a little bit about him before I took this fight. Definitely, he’s a striker, has good footwork and switches stance. Nothing special.”
And, while Song isn’t competing on home soil this time around he admitted he’d love to face the man he was originally lined up to fight in China, former champion Petr Yan. And the 26-year-old said he’d have no problem calling out the Russian if he gets his hand raised on Saturday night.
“UFC has arranged for me to fight Petr in Shanghai, but they never gave me the contract,” he revealed.
“Actually, we both didn’t sign the contract for each other. Definitely (I’d like to fight him), after I win this fight, I will call him out.”