With Zhang Weili becoming China’s first UFC champion and defending her title against Joanna Jedrzejczyk, one of the greatest female strawweights of all time, it is no secret that China has been producing some solid talent in the UFC, including young prospect, Song Yadong.
Born December 2nd, 1997 in Harbin, Heilongjiang, China, Song Yadong (aka “The Kung Fu Monkey”) is ranked the no.1 fighter under 25, and 9th in the bantamweight category.
Song Yadong has already proven himself a threat in the division, and it’s fair to say that his rise in MMA is much akin to that of LeBron James or Kobe Bryant in basketball. Before reaching the age of 20, all three athletes made it to the big leagues and showed early signs of potential.
Having started training in Sanda at the young age of 9, Song also trained in wushu, then MMA when he was 13. He made his professional MMA debut at the age of 15 and his UFC debut at the age of 19.
Training under UFC hall-of-famer Urijah Faber, Song Yadong is just fresh off his highest-profile win against former bantamweight title contender, Marlon Moraes, a victory that has earned him a spot in the Top 10 rankings at just 24 years-old. That said, let’s scout about the jungle to check out “The Kung Fu Monkey”, Song Yadong’s Top 5 MMA Finishes! (in descending order)
5. Vs. Bharat Khandare – UFC FN 122 (Nov. 25, 2017)
On November 25, 2017, Song Yadong stepped in on short notice to make his UFC debut against fellow debutant, Bharat Khandare.
At the age of 19, Song, “The Kung Fu Monkey”, was the youngest fighter on the entire card. With youth on his side, he made superb use of it and started the fight quickly with a fast kick and a spinning heel kick.
Song successfully evaded Khandare’s punches and countered with punches that stunned the Indian fighter.
Eventually, Song landed an overhand right that dropped Khandare, prompting the Indian to shoot for a desperation takedown, but Song successfully sprawled out and locked up a guillotine choke to submit Khandare.
4. Vs. Felipe Arantes – UFC FN 132 (June 23, 2018)
In his second outing with the UFC, Song Yadong’s next challenge presented in the form of UFC veteran, Felipe Arantes.
Although Arantes constantly tried walking down and pressuring the young fighter, Yadong was able to land shots while moving back.
In the second round, Song sprinted out of his corner to start the round with a left kick.
After some taunting between the two, Arantes tried taking Song down, but Song sprawled and forced Arantes to pull guard.
From the top, Song landed some devastating ground and pound that allowed him to pass guard into a more dominant position.
The fight went back to standing, and Arantes pressed Song to the fence, but The Kung Fu Monkey reversed and knocked out Arantes with a brutal elbow. Arantes retired after this fight.
3. Vs. Julio Arce – UFC FN 197 (Nov. 13, 2021)
After regaining a spot in the top 15, Song faced Julio Arce, who just came off a win in his return to bantamweight.
Throughout round 1, the Kung Fu Monkey was calculative and put the pressure on Arce, landing the more significant shots.
Yadong continued putting on the pressure and pace in round 2, and eventually stunned Arce with a head kick.
Smelling blood in the water, Song advanced on the retreating Arce and followed the onslaught with a flurry of punches before the referee stepped in.
2. Vs. Marlon Moraes – UFC FN 203 (March 12, 2022)
After defeating Julio Arce, Song earned himself a co-main event spot against former title challenger Marlon Moraes, who was ranked no.10 at the time.
Despite both fighters throwing their shots with heat, the Kung Fu Monkey was the busier fighter, landing heavy bombs, whilst successfully defending Moraes’ best shots and nearly knocking his opponent down with a right hand.
At 2:06, Song lands a 3-punch combo that ended with an uppercut to knock Moraes out cold.
With this victory, Song rose to no.9 in the UFC bantamweight rankings.
1. Vs. Alejandro Pérez – UFC 239 (July 6, 2019)
In his fourth outing with the UFC, Song fought his first-ranked opponent in the form of seasoned veteran and TUF: Latin America winner, Alejandro “Turbo” Perez.
Although Perez tried to be the aggressor, the Kung Fu Monkey utilized great head movement to evade Perez’s strikes and counter with his own mean shots.
At 2:04, Yadong landed a fast right hand that shut Perez’s lights out, sending him to the canvas – thus handing “Turbo” his first loss via KO/TKO in 8 years.
With this performance, Song Yadong finally earned his spot in the top 15 bantamweight rankings.