UFC Saudi Arabia: Chang-Ho Lee Wins Road to UFC 2, Decisions Xiao Long

Xiao Long and Chang-Ho Lee, UFC Saudi Arabia
Xiao Long and Chang-Ho Lee, UFC Saudi Arabia ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Youtube/UFC

The long overdue Road to UFC 2 bantamweight final arrived at UFC Saudi Arabia on June 22, in a fight that paired China’s Xiao Long up against South Korea’s Chang-Ho Lee.

Road to UFC 2 had launched in May of 2023, and had featured some of the best fighters throughout Asia competing for a UFC contract. But while the other three finals had played out in February, Long and Lee had been forced to wait a little longer, after Xiao Long had been forced out of their original date.

Xiao Long stated the RTU2 bantamweight final hot, coming out firing and putting the pressure on Lee. For his part, Lee weathered that storm, landed a couple of shots of his own, and then clinched up, though he was turned on the fence by Long. The pair would spend several minutes in this spot, battling it out, trading knees, elbows, short punches, and working for head position.

Coming off the fence, there was all of 45 seconds left, leading to Lee taking a few swings, then looking for another takedown. Long fought that off; Lee fired knees in the clinch, and Xiao Long landed a left.

The clinch game continued in round two, with Long pressing Lee into the fence. Lee ripped the body and fired knees as they spun around; Long hit an elbow off the break, and they immediately re-engaged. The pace to this point had been grueling. Lee looked for an elbow, but the pair clashed heads accidentally, which went undetected by the ref. Another clinch, Long hit a knee, and Lee ripped the body.

When the pair did go to the ground, it was towards the final minute, and both scrambled back up quickly, still in a clinch. It an odd scene, an object fell from the top of the octagon, which turned out to be a mouth guard case that had been left perched atop the cage. Luckily, the ref took notice, sweeping it away with his foot before either fighter was tripped up by it.

Round three saw the pair finally spend a bit of time on the canvas, though they wouldn’t stay grounded long, at least initially. Coming up, however, Long was able to take the back of Lee, getting hooks in and putting him back down. Riding Lee like a backpack, Long looked for the choke, but slipped off the side as Lee fought the wrists and turned in. That allowed to the South Korean to free himself, getting back to his feet, where he clinched up and hit the body. Long, however, was able to land a smashing elbow up top.

With one minute still on the clock, the fight still felt up in the air. The pair would go to the scorecards in the end, with Lee taking a close split decision, winning Road to UFC 2 in the process.

Official Result: Chang-Ho Lee def. Xiao Long by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)