UFC Vegas 72: Song vs. Simon Main Event Predictions
UFC VEGAS 72: SONG VS. SIMON MAIN EVENT PREDICTIONS – With the bantamweight title on the line next weekend at UFC 288, two fighters entrenched in the top ten stake their claim to a title shot this weekend. After previously being scheduled as the co-main event of last week’s card, a scratch in the main event for this card opened up an opportunity for these fighters to have a bigger stage to showcase their skills.
25-year-old Song Yadong looks to bounce back after losing his last fight in his first main event opportunity against Cory Sandhagen.
20-3 Ricky Simon seeks his sixth straight victory and the respect he has been demanding during this run.
Will the ‘Kung Fu Kid’ come through with his devastating power once again? Or will Simon thwart the rebound and announce his arrival to the top eight of the division. Read on to find out how these blistering bantamweights match up and if there are any money-making angles to take advantage of.
The Age Factor
The main talking point around Song’s arrival to the UFC back in 2017 was how old he was. There were multiple fights on the regional scene where his age didn’t seem to match up with dates.
As of right now, he is believed to be 25 years old. To have more fights than years on this earth at 25 is a heck of a lot of experience, especially at this level.
Since arriving in the UFC, Song set up shop at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento. Under the guidance of MMA legend Urijah Faber, they have meticulously been molding this hard-nosed striking powerhouse into a complete mixed martial artist. With a few minor slip ups, he has still managed to amass an 8-2-1 record in the UFC.
Throw out the Scorecard
At his best, Song is able to stuff the takedowns of his opponents, keep fights in the striking realm, and put the pressure on them with combinations. At his peak, his fights don’t go to the scorecards.
He has finished five of his eight victories on the big stage. That is what the UFC brass loves to see. I think they have high hopes for him, especially as they continue trying to break into the Chinese market.
Opponents who have had success against Song are ones who can glide along the outside of his range and attack him with sniper-like strikes and kicks.
The tide was really turning when he took on Kyler Phillips as Phillips was unable to keep up that style and broke against the constant pressure from Song. Unfortunately for Song, it was too little too late and he had run out of time, losing a decision that night.
Kicking his UFC career off with a very strange win over Merab Dvalishvili — the only on Dvalishvili’s UFC record — Simon was destined for great things.
He followed that up with two more wins as he entered his biggest fight until that point against Urijah Faber. Unfortunately for Simon, it only took 46 seconds for Faber to finish him. That fight caused a lot of people to lose hope in Simon’s potential, especially when he followed that up with a loss to Rob Font.
However, on the back end of that two-fight losing streak, Simon has regained momentum and has rattled off five straight victories.
His last victory came against a previously undefeated Jack Shore. After struggling to get him to the mat, Simon finally uncorked on a bomb that dropped Shore, allowing for Simon to gain a dominant position and eventually lock onto a submission to get the tap.
Get to the Mat
Simon is one of the best and strongest wrestlers we have in the UFC. His pace is ridiculous and his ability to stay on his opponent is top five level.
There is a lot of talk about his cardio being some of the best in the division; however, I do have my question marks about pushing that kind of pace over the course of 25 minutes.
Not many are built like Dvalishvili who just showcased one of the greatest 25-minute performances of all time against Petr Yan not too long ago.
I’m unsure Simon can do the same, but this weekend will be the first time we can find that out. His striking is what you would expect from a strong wrestler like him. Blitz attacks with wide winging hooks that are thrown with diabolical power.
A big part of this fight will be determined by whether Simon can maintain control with his first two or three takedowns.
He could have decent success pushing Song against the cage and building up control time while wearing on the power of Song. However, I think that the more time Song can get in the striking realm against Simon, the higher chance of him producing a fight-finishing sequence and find the knockout.
The power-striking game of Simon could bite him here against the faster and more powerful striker in Song.
I feel I’ve seen enough positive things from Song in the defensive grappling realm lately that he could maximize his opportunities while they are in open space.
There is also the question of what Simon’s cardio will look like if he can’t maintain top position or even land consistent takedowns. I feel Song is more equipped for this matchup and will be able to find the knockout around the midway point of this fight.
At his price tag, I love this spot for him.