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Song Yadong stops Ricky Simon to boost rankings in the bantamweight division

Saturday's UFC Fight Night main event in Las Vegas was supposed to be a competitive bout between two bantamweight prospects. It turned into a one-sided showcase fight for Song Yadong.

Yadong defeated Ricky Simon by TKO in the fifth round of their five-round headliner on Saturday. After torching Simon with a perfect counter left hook, Yadong pounced on Simon and landed a string of follow-up punches until referee Herb Dean waved it off. At just 25 years old, Yadong has already won nine fights in the UFC.

He called for a top-five opponent next, suggesting contenders Sean O'Malley and Marlon Vera.

"I'm extremely happy," Yadong said. "Simon is a very tough opponent. I'm sorry, but today is my night. I want to fight top five next -- O'Malley or 'Chito' Vera."

The finish, Yadong's sixth in the UFC, capped off a brilliant performance. ESPN scored every round for Yadong leading up to the TKO. He dropped Simon (20-4) with the same left hook in the final second of the fourth round and outlanded him 102-44 in total strikes, according to UFC Stats.

A native of China who now fights out of Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California, Yadong looked extremely comfortable during the fight and even between rounds. He smiled playfully at Simon in certain moments and laughed occasionally after just missing a big strike.

Yadong's body work was especially impressive, as he routinely loaded up with left hooks to the body. He also defended seven of Simon's nine takedown attempts, which was probably viewed as his greatest challenge going into the matchup. Although his punches drew the most attention, he also landed a string of sneaky good leg kicks to Simon's lead leg.

The victory comes nearly four years after Yadong's mentor, UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber, upset Simon in a high-profile bout in Sacramento. Faber was in Yadong's corner on Saturday.


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