The mixed martial arts leader is planning to head back to China later this year for the first time since 2019.
While not yet official, it’s been widely reported that the promotion’s December 9 UFC Fight Night is being lined up for Shanghai. Now, a likely headliner has been attached to the event.
Although many expected Zhang Weili to put her strawweight title on the line in an all-China showdown with her compatriot Yan Xiaonan, the organization has seemingly gone down a different path owing to the champ not being ready. With that, another of the nation’s leading stars looks set for a monumental home fight.
Per journalist Chris Presnell, who reports on Asian and Chinese MMA, a main event between bantamweight contender Song Yadong and former champion Petr Yan is in the works.
🚨Breaking: 🇨🇳Song Yadong vs. 🇷🇺Petr Yan in the works to serve as the main event of UFC Fight Night on December 9th, per sources! No official location yet but still the hope for Shanghai, China. #MMA #UFC #UFCNews #MMANews pic.twitter.com/wdTLbZpWZo
— Chris Presnell (@mmaecosystem) September 27, 2023
Yan Looks To Break Skid, Song Targets Title Contention
Should this matchup be made official, Yan and Song will enter it on the back of different results.
It’s been a difficult period for Yan (16-5) since his title reign was brought to a lackluster end after he landed an illegal knee against Aljamain Sterling in 2020. While he quickly rebounded with an interim title win over Cory Sandhagen, he’s followed that triumph by losing three straight.
In 2022, the Russian narrowly fell short in a rematch against Sterling and opposite now-champ Sean O’Malley. The latter result caused significant controversy, with many believing “No Mercy” had done enough to get the win. There was no debate last time out, however, with Yan soundly beaten across five rounds by Georgia’s Merab Dvalishvili in the main event of UFC Las Vegas this past March.
Song (20-7-1, 1 NC) now looks set for the chance to add to Yan’s woes during the UFC’s year-end schedule. The Chinese star sits two places below the former 135-pound kingpin in the rankings at #7, but is coming off a notable headline victory.
After a competitive performance saw him widely praised in defeat against Sandhagen last September, “The Kung Fu Kid” bounced back this past April by knocking out Ricky Simón in the fifth round of their Apex main event.
Song will now hope to make a push for the divisional top five and title picture at the expense of Yan.
Song Yadong vs. Casey Kenney
Image: Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports
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