Road to UFC: Episode 5 Breakdown and Predictions

Koyomi Matsushima
Koyomi Matsushima vs Marat Gafurov Credit: ONE Championship

The Road to UFC tournament returns in conjunction with this week’s UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi. Taking place at the Etihad Arena, Road to UFC 5 will feature four weight classes, from flyweight to lightweight, all of which come in the semifinal round. A featherweight feature fight will also be included, resulting in a five-fight card.

UFC contracts are on the line! Here’s a look at what’s to come.

Featherweight: Yi Zha Vs. Koyomi Matsushima

Tale of the Tape

Yi Zha
Aba, Sichuan, China
Two-fight win streak
Kayomi Matsushima
Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan
No win streak

Pros and Cons

Yi Zha


  • Good ground and pound
  • Strong wrestling
  • Submission threat
  • Scrambles really well
  • Light footwork
  • Good output
  • Fast starter
  • Good off his back


  • Questionable chin
  • TDD needs a little work

Kayomi Matsushima


  • Submission threat
  • Quick feet
  • Chain wrestles well
  • Strong grappling
  • Creative striking/takedowns
  • Scrambles really well
  • Solid wrestling
  • Good kicks


  • Shoots takedowns from too far out at times
  • Slows as the fight goes
  • Hands held low
  • Throws single strikes
  • Questionable chin

Prediction: This is both a fun fight and a tough fight to call. This is a fight between two athletes who are well-rounded and are maybe UFC level.

Matsushima is exciting and even in fights where his body language isn’t good, he’s still giving it 100%. Zha has been cleaner in his fights getting the wins with little issue and hardly any diversity. Matsushima over and over has had to dig deep to get his hand raised.

While that might not look great in theory it’s a valuable tool. I think Zha is the more talented fighter but Matsushima edges him in a grueling fight which is I think the way this fight will go. I see a lot of wrestling exchanges and I see Matsushima winning scrambles and landing more takedowns. Zha isn’t going to find it as easy to ground Matsushima as he did his last opponent. I think Matsushima has too much dog in him for Zha and he wins a close decision.