The UFC year is just getting started, and new starts are entering the fray for a shot to become a big name within the promotion. On February 4 - just a day after UFC Vegas 85 - the promotion delivers the Road to UFC season 2 finals, and they have quite the match-ups in store.
The show focused on top mixed martial artist prospects from the Asian continent. The tournament kicked off in late May 2023 in Shanghai, China and, after eight months, it reaches its conclusion at the UFC APEX.
One of the finalists in the tournament is Li Kaiwen, who has had quite the journey. From Hunan, China, Kaiwen is a 27-year-old who hopes to join the UFC's captivating 145-pound division, following an extensive journey in prior fights.
Kaiwen made his debut in September 2014 and, after three fights, he began fighting for ONE Fighting Championship in December of that year. During his time with the Asian powerhouse promotion, Kaiwen would build up a 9-win, 3-loss record.
In his final ONE FC fight, Kaiwen lost via a first-round TKO, and he would go on hiatus for over a year. When he made his return to the combat arena, he had switched his gloves and was now aiming to become a UFC fighter.
Li Kaiwen is ready to introduce himself to the UFC
Competing in the featherweight bracket, Kaiwen's tournament journey began against Lu Kai. Just over a minute into the first round, Kaiwen unleashed a barrage of punches to get the knockout victory.
With his arrival into the UFC Octagon being a highly successful one that grabbed everyone's attention, Kaiwen was ready to go up against Kouya Kanda in the semi-finals. The two went the distance but Kaiwen managed to get the nod from all three judges, securing his spot in the finals.
On February 4, Kaiwen will be going up against the highly decorated Yi Zha, who hopes to be the one to raise the Chinese flag in the featherweight division. With eyes on him, Kaiwen looks to make the most of the given opportunity and declare the arrival of 'The Underdog' within the UFC with a performance that will have people talking.