UFC Vegas 72: Song Yadong defeated Ricky Simon.
Song Yadong defeated Ricky Simon via TKO (strikes), Round 5 – 1:10 at UFC Vegas 72 on Saturday, April 29, 2023, live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, NV.
"I am extremely happy tonight. Simon is a very tough opponent. Tonight was my night. I want a top-five fighter. I practiced that every day. I just landed it, perfectly. The coaches told me to apply pressure, don't let him rest. Sean O'Malley or Chito Vera, you want to fight?" said Yadong, who answered in English after having his translator translate Daniel Cormier's questions.
Simon opened the first round with a trio of head kicks but Yadong was able to block all three. Simon landed an outside leg kick. The fighters were both very cautious throughout the first 90 seconds of the fight. Yadong stuffed a takedown attempt and landing a shot to the body. Simon answered with a right hand and followed up moments later with a very double jab. The two engaged in a clinch against the fence. The two continued to cautious throughout the remainder of the round.
Yadong opened with a front kick to the body. Simon landed a straight left. Yadong rushed in and landed a combination that dropped Simon. Yadong went for a submission but Simon was able to break the submission and get top position before returning to their feet. Replay would later show that the knockout down was caused by a clash of heads.
Yadong continued to operate in the middle landing a big hook to the body. Yadong caught Simon with a left hand and seconds later landing the identical punch. Simon landed a jab but Yadong landing a right overhand. Yadong continued to apply pressure, landing a left to the body. Simon changed levels and scored the takedown with less than 15 seconds remaining in the round. The round ended with both fighters landing hammerfists.
Simon landed a powerful takedown the open the third round but Yadong was able to roll out and get back to his feet. The two fighters traded combinations before a low blow from Yadong stopped the action. After the fight was restarted, Yadong landed a pair of kicks. Yadong landed a sharp right hand and then he hurt Simon with a stiff left jab.
Simon was able to recover and landed a jab. Despite being at the UFC APEX, the crowd was firmly behind Yadong, chanting his name during the round. Simon complained to referee Herb Dean at the end of the round that Yadong was leading with his head.
Simon attempted a flying knee but did not land all of it. Yadong was able to defend a pair of takedowns. Simon continued to have success with his jab. Yadong landed a beautiful counter. Simon continued to be aggressive in the fourth round, pressing the action and using his jab to score. With one second remaining, Yadong landed a powerful left hook that dropped Simon. The bell likely saved Simon. If there had been more time remaining, Simon would have been in a lot of trouble.
Between rounds, Simon's corner told him that he would require a finish if he was going to win the fight. Yadong hurt Simon again and landed another left hook that dropped Simon. Yadong jumped on Simon and landed several strikes. Simon tried to get back to his feet but Yadong landed more strikes that dropped him again, forcing Dean to step in and stop the fight.
Yadong entered Saturday's fight as the UFC's eighth ranked bantamweight, two spots ahead of Simon. In his last fight, Yadong was stopped by Cory Sandhagen. The loss snapped a three-fight winning streak and two fight knockout streak for Yadong. With his victory on Saturday, Yadong improved to 20-7 with 12 finishes.
Simon arrived in Las Vegas on a five-fight winning streak. Simon submitted Jack Shore in his previous fight, earning a performance bonus. The loss to Yadong was the first time that Simon had lost a fight since Dec. 7, 2019, when he lost a decision to Rob Font. The loss dropped Simon's career record to 20-4.