The UFC returned to China for a Fight Night card that aired early Saturday night in North America. It was their first time in Beijing after previous events staged in Macau and Shanghai. The card was headlined by a heavyweight rematch between Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes, who fought in April 2016 with Ngannou winning the first contest after a doctor’s stoppage.
Here are the results from the preliminary card:
*Louis Smolka def. Su Mudaerji by armbar at 2:07 of Round 2
*Kevin Holland def. John Philips by rear-naked choke at 4:05 of Round 3
*Xiaonan Yan def. Syuri Kondo by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
*Liu Pingyuan def. Martin Day by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
*Zhang Weili def. Jessica Aguilar by armbar at 3:41 of Round 1
*Rashad Coulter def. Hu Yaozong by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
*Wu Yanan def. Lauren Mueller by armbar at 4:00 of Round 1
*Alex Morono def. Kenan Song by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
LI JINGLIANG VS DAVID ZAWADA – WELTERWEIGHT
Jingliang was on his way to winning by decision when he connected with a side kick to the body that put Zawada down against the fence while leaving himself open to strikes for the finish.
Zawada was effective in the first round, dropping Jingliang and tagging him throughout the round with a variety of strikes. Jingliang came back and won the second round, including a huge flurry at the end of the round and landed a pair of shots after the horn. I had Jingliang well ahead in the third round before the stoppage.
Jingliang has won six of his last seven fights and this was his eighth victory in the UFC. He was a big favorite among the audience.
SONG YADONG VS VINCE MORALES – BANTAMWEIGHT
Yadong is 20-year old from China and showed a lot of poise throughout the fight.
Yadong won each round while showcasing his ability to land various spinning attacks to the body and head. Morales was often backing up and reacting without being able to fend off Yadong. Morales went for broke at the end of the fight, but it was hard to see Morales taking any round.
Despite his age, Yadong has been fighting professionally since 2013 and this was his third victory inside the UFC.
ALISTAIR OVEREEM VS SERGEY PAVLOVICH – HEAVYWEIGHT
Overeem was the betting underdog in this fight against the debuting Pavlovich, who had a perfect record of 12-0 coming into the fight with nine first-round stoppages. That said, he had never fought anyone at the level of Overeem.
Pavlovich came out swinging and was subdued through the clinch work of Overeem, who tripped his opponent and sent the fight to the ground. Overeem got to side control and began laying into Pavlovich with big shots and finished the fight with hammer fists.
Overeem was coming off back-to-back losses to Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes, both sides of the main event. Overeem mentioned training in Denver for this fight and stated that “The Reem is back”.
FRANCIS NGANNOU VS CURTIS BLAYDES – HEAVYWEIGHT
Ngannou connected with a huge overhand right that rocked Blaydes and sent him to his knees. Blaydes tried a single leg to recover but ate more big shots from Ngannou and referee Marc Goddard waved off the fight within the first minute.
Ngannou finished off a tumultuous 2018 on a high note following his losses to Stipe Miocic and Derrick Lewis, which were big setbacks to his career.
WINNER: FRANCIS NGANNOU BY KO AT 0:45 OF ROUND 1
Ngannou said he wants to fight Junior dos Santos, Alexander Volkov and wants revenge on Stipe Miocic.
After the show, they announced that the Fight of the Night bonus went to Alex Morono and Kenan Song. The two Performance of the Night bonuses went to Francis Ngannou and Li Jingliang for $50,000 each.