In a fight that almost didn’t happen, Song Yadong (16-4-1, 1NC) put in a strong performance against Marlon Vera at UFC on ESPN 8.
No small task, given all the distractions beforehand. Visa troubles nearly scuttled the bout, and forced Song’s coach Urijah Faber to weigh-in as a possible replacement.
That’s a lot of turmoil, but the Team Alpha Male fighter managed to ignore it, putting in a Fight of the Night effort on route to a unanimous decision win.
Speaking to Cageside Press in a virtual media scrum post-fight in Jacksonville, Florida, Yadong explained the situation further. Technically, his translator did, as it’s a story he was no doubt asked throughout the evening. “So all the athletes are required to have an athlete visa, and then Song didn’t enter with the right type of visa to the US this time. And then we’re trying to figure that out, but because the immigration [office], they’re off [because of] the special time [pandemic], it gets us some trouble.”
It wasn’t until the day before the fight that everything was sorted out.
After the bout, Chito Vera declined to shake hands with Song Yadong. The Chinese fighter downplayed the slight, saying he “feels fine with that because [I] won the fight at the end,” and doesn’t really care about that.
As for what comes next in his career, Yadong told us that he “will mainly follow the lead of the coaches.” But he should be in a position for a big fight at bantamweight. While the Vera fight came at 145lbs, that had more to due with the circumstances — short notice, in a pandemic.
However, Yadong is undefeated in his last nine fights, with eight wins, and a draw against Cody Stamann back at UFC DC this past December.
Watch the full UFC on ESPN 8 post-fight virtual media scrum with Song Yadong above!