The knee injury that pushed Song Yadong’s fight with Alejandro Perez from March to this weekend’s UFC 239 still hasn’t healed up just yet.
Las Vegas, NV — Chinese bantamweight Song Yadong earned his fourth straight win under the UFC banner Saturday night. At UFC 239, he knocked out Alejandro Perez in a bonus-winning effort that should put him firmly on the radar of fight fans everywhere.
Yadong (14–3 (2)), who has been training with Team Alpha Male, is a standout Asian fighter in a time where the promotion is facing increased competition in the region, notably from ONE Championship. The UFC has opened up a Performance Institute in China, one that dwarfs the Las Vegas version of the facility.
With the market of greater importance than ever before, it was no surprise to see Song Yadong fight stateside for the first time at UFC 239. It was, after all, the biggest show of the UFC’s year so far. It was certainly a good outcome for Yadong, although perhaps not quite what he expected.
Speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press, the Chinese fighter said that he “didn’t plan to knock out his opponent before the fight. Of course, I watched my opponent a lot to find out where the opening [was, so I] could get it. I trained specifically on it.” However, Yadong was “planning on fighting for three rounds” with his opponent, because Perez, he said, is “a really tough guy.”
As a result, with the fight ending “too fast,” Yadong “didn’t show everything I got yet. I can do better if the fight goes longer.”
Yadong later told Cageside Press that his game had improved “everywhere from Team Alpha Male,” though he added that “even now, I need to keep improving.”
Fighting on such a big card might give some fighters pause, but Yadong “didn’t feel too much pressure, all I felt was excited, and appreciative that the UFC gave me this chance.” Moving forward, in fact, he has just two locations in which he wants to compete: China and America. “These are the only two places I want to fight.”
Yadong said following the fight that he has a small injury he’d need to heal up from, so it’s too soon to talk about when exactly he’ll be back. That injury — to his knee — is what forced him out of the Perez fight back in March. That likely takes him out of the running for UFC Shenzhen in August. However, with the UFC continuing its push into mainland China, he should get his chance soon enough.
Watch the full post-fight press scrum with Song Yadong from UFC 239 above.