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Chinese Fighter Song Yadong KOs Marlon Moraes for Eighth UFC Win

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Chinese MMA fighter Song Yadong is one step closer to a championship title after defeating veteran competitor Marlon Moraes by knockout at Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Vegas 50 on March 12.

One of China’s most recognizable fighters, Harbin-born Song flattened his Brazilian opponent with a deadly uppercut just 2:06 into the first round. It was his third straight UFC win, with Moraes considered his most high-profile competitor to date.

The latest victory brings Song’s record to an impressive 19 wins and six losses, with an additional draw and no-contest ruling. So far, eight of his wins have come by way of knockout or technical knockout, and he holds a record of 8-1-1 in the UFC. 

“I feel happy, and I feel sorry because Marlon is also a very good fighter. I wish him a win, but I also need to win, too,” said Song after the match. “Our first round was actually planned for defense mostly, but I felt there was a chance, so I had to catch it.”

The 24-year-old wasted no time coming at his opponent, connecting early with his right hand and staying in the face of Moraes after the 33-year-old responded with a wave of punches and a swift head kick. 

The moment Morales started to retreat, the ‘Kung Fu Monkey’ unleashed a series of vicious punches culminating in the blow to the head that put his opponent on the mat. Referee Keith Petersen quickly ended the contest after Moraes hit the floor. 

In a post-fight interview, Song said he felt calm and relieved, adding that he hoped to be paired against higher-ranked fighters in future matchups. 

He is currently listed as the No. 14 ranked fighter in the UFC bantamweight division, while Moraes sits in 10th place. However, Song’s 19th win is not listed on the UFC website at the time of writing, so it is likely the rankings will be adjusted. 

Song’s victory is trending on Chinese microblogging platform Weibo, where the related hashtag ‘Song Yadong delivers winning blow in 2:06’ (#宋亚东2分06秒制胜一击#) has received more than 250,000 views.

China is an ever-expanding presence in mixed martial arts organizations worldwide, and the UFC is no exception. As of 2021, there were 14 Chinese fighters in the UFC. 

Xinjiang-born Li Jinliang is also ranked, sitting in 13th place in the welterweight division, but suffered his seventh loss to Khamzat Chimaev in October 2021. Meanwhile, ‘The Tibetan Eagle’ Su Mudaerji is the 12th ranked flyweight with a 14-4-0 record. Su is riding a three-bout win streak but hasn’t seen a match since January 2021.

Song made a name for himself while fighting out of the controversial Enbo Fight Club in China’s Sichuan province. He now represents Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California. 

When asked after the fight who he wanted to meet next in the Octagon, Song wasted no time in responding: “I want to fight Dominick Cruz,” he said after the contest. Cruz is currently ranked seventh in the bantamweight division. 

“I have a lot of respect for him. When I was young, I watched his fights, but I want to fight with him,” he added, before exclaiming, “let’s go!”

For more lit content exploring the rise of MMA in China, check out our Way of the Warrior series.

Cover image courtesy of UFC

Jesse Pottinger
    Jesse is a Vancouver-based journalist who spent four back-to-back summers living in Guangzhou and working with That’s magazines. He currently serves as a remotely-based junior editor with RADII. Jesse has spent considerable time traveling around China over the past half-decade and has something of a passion for dumplings. You can follow his adventures on Instagram at @messy_jesse.
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