Road to UFC has become a great opportunity for Asian fighters to get noticed. China has been a major part of the UFC's focus in developing fighters and, after UFC Vegas 85, MMA fans will get another look at Asia's MMA talent with three fights completing the second season.
Win or lose, Rei Tsuruya is a great candidate to gain some stardom. He's an exciting fighter with an undefeated 8-0 record and only one decision win. He's a finisher, compiling four submissions and three TKO wins. He enjoys the groundwork and can find some dominant spots throughout the fight. His time spent with the Japan wrestling team adds up here.
His opponent, Niushiyue, is not too shabby on the ground either. He's posted a flying armbar he landed in 2021, which was followed up by two more submission wins via armbar. Both guys seem to have skills on the ground which could make for exciting grappling exchanges and impressive transitions.
Rei Tsuruya fights Niushiyue on the Road to UFC finale
Tsuruya is just 21 years old and Niushiyue is 23. In terms of developing talent, China has some young and hungry fighters trying to make their way to the UFC. One concern should be noted, though. In the past, the UFC has rushed fighters from different parts of the world to gain popularity in the region. It has happened several times with Chinese fighters, like Zhu Rong, who will be competing on the Road to UFC despite having three UFC fights under his belt.
This time around, it would be nice to see fighters be given the right amount of time to develop before making the jump. In terms of Indian and Chinese talent, the UFC must allow the right time for development to make the most of their prospects. For now, the Road to UFC is a good start.