Road to UFC 3: Episode 1 Breakdown and Predictions

Shin Haraguchi to appear on Road to UFC 3
Shin Haraguchi Credit: Instagram/Shin Haraguchi

The Road to UFC tournament is returning this month, with fighters from around Asia in four different weight classes vying for contracts with the UFC. This time out, women’s strawweight is in the mix, replacing the lightweight division on the men’s side. Flyweight, bantamweight, and featherweight remain as part of Road to UFC 3, with featherweights and women’s strawweights getting things going on the first episode, which arrives on May 18, 2024 at the UFC Performance Institute in Shanghai, China.

We’ve got all the talent on the upcoming season scouted — here’s a look!

Featherweight, Kangjie Zhu vs. Tatsuya Ando

Tale of the Tape

Kangjie Zhu
Jiangsu, China
18-4, 1 NC
Combined opponent’s record: 102-110-2
Tatsuya Ando
Suginami, Tokyo, Japan
Combined opponent’s record: 140-70-21

Pros and Cons

Kangjie Zhu


  • Strong kickboxing
  • Super explosive
  • Fast
  • Good cardio
  • Nasty elbows
  • Knockout power
  • Durable
  • Dangerous front kick
  • Good right hand


  • Loads up
  • Terrible TDD
  • Telegraphs his punches
  • Poor grappling defense

Tatsuya Ando


  • Submission threat
  • Scrambles well
  • Durable


  • TDD needs work
  • Gets walked down
  • Throws wild in straight lines
  • Gives up his back too easy
  • Hands held low

Prediction: I remember watching Ando from years ago and never being impressed. Now he’s 34 and coming off a fight he took a lot of damage in, although he won. Realistically, someone at 34 shouldn’t be in a tournament like this. My best guess it’s to set up a win for Zhu.

With Zhu, I started off not liking him but in the end I do like what he has to offer. He does have big flaws in his takedown defense and grappling defense. Ando struggles with the same but he does have better offensive wrestling. Ando never fights with a wrestling game plan. He just throws in blitzes with zero setups and no angles. Zhu is a really good striker primarily with his kickboxing. He’s going to be the bigger and faster fighter in this one. I don’t know if he’ll be able to knock out Ando but he should beat the tar out of him.

Ando could make this fight ugly and make it a brawl. Skill for skill Zhu should keep Ando at bay and piece him up on the outside. I’m picking Zhu by knockout at Road to UFC 3 because Ando is 34 and given his striking defense, it’s a great match with the striking of Zhu.