UFC Beijing brings the action to fans early on Saturday morning from China, and Cageside Press has their picks set.
|Staff Writers||Jingliang vs. Zawada||Yadong vs. Morales||Overeem vs. Pavlovich||Blaydes vs. Ngannou|
|Heath Harshman (120-68)|
|Dan Doherty (121-73)|
|Paarth Pande (114-71)|
|Eddie Law (109-68)|
|Mike Straus (117-77)|
|Josh Evanoff (60-47)|
|Gabriel Gonzalez (96-77)|
|Mike McClory (98-83)|
|Jay Anderson (105-89)|
The main event of UFC Beijing is a rematch between Curtis Blaydes and Francis Ngannou. The first bout between the top-tier heavyweights occurred in 2016, and Blaydes was stopped due to injury at the end of the second round. However, Blaydes has been excellent since then, going 5-0 with one no contest (a fight that he was well on his way to winning prior to a knee injury to his opponent). Ngannou won his next four fights following the Blaydes victory, earning him a title shot. Ngannou was defeated cleanly by Stipe Miocic, then lost a lackluster fight against Derrick Lewis, bringing an end to his meteoric rise. Just over half of the staff sided with Blaydes.
The co-main event brings Russian prospect Sergey Pavlovich to the Octagon for the first time to fight one of the greatest heavyweights around in Alistair Overeem. Pavlovich is 12-0 with nine first-round stoppages in his career. Overeem is trying to stay relevant after falling to both main event fighters in his last two bouts and is 8-6 in his UFC career. All but one writer picked The Reem.
Song Yadong takes on Vince Morales on the main card. Yadong, a Chinese bantamweight, has impressed in the UFC so far, winning by first-round submission and second-round knockout in his two appearances. Morales makes his promotional debut after losing in the DWTNCS and winning a Bellator prelim. Seven of nine writers picked Yadong in his home country.
Opening the main card will be fan-favorite Li Jingliang against David Zawada. Jingliang is a bonus magnet, and has won five of his last six fights. After a successful run in KSW, Zawada is looking to bounce back from a loss in his promotional debut against Danny Roberts. Jingliang was unanimously picked.