Bantamweights Song Yadong (19-7-1, 8-2-1 UFC) and Ricky Simon (20-3, 8-2 UFC) will headline a UFC Fight Night event on April 29.
Originally scheduled as the co-main bout for UFC Vegas 71 featuring Curtis Blaydes and Sergei Pavlovich, the Yadong-Simon fight will now be a five-round headliner at the Apex in Las Vegas.
UFC Vegas 72 also features a co-main event between Caio Borralho and Michal Oleksiejczuk, plus a heavyweight tango between Waldo Cortes-Acosta and Marcos Rogerio de Lima.
UFC Fight Night: Yadong vs Simon Betting Odds
Odds as of April 28
If Yadong's EVEN status holds, that'll be two straight bouts as the underdog (he's 0-2 in the UFC as the 'dog). As it stands, his odds translate to a 50 percent chance of winning, and a $10 bet pays $20.
Simon is back in the favorite column after cashing as a +145 underdog in his last bout. His -125 status gives him a 55.56 percent chance to win, and a $10 bet pays out $18.
Yadong vs Simon Preview: Who Will Win?
Another high-flying bantamweight bout? Sign me up.
How Simon wins
Best known for submitting Merab Dvalishvili in his UFC debut, Simon has quietly carved out a fun UFC career since then, racking up three more stoppages in the following nine fights.
The 30-year-old Dana White Contender Series product has rattled off five wins in a row, largely thanks to a relentless wrestling pace and some timely stoppages. Simon is also quite good at using the cage to cut opponents off, then sizing them up and unloading versus overhands.
He might face some trouble Saturday, as Yadong also loves forward pressure. I anticipate Simon going for a grappling exchange early to see how Yadong's 71-percent takedown defense holds up.
How Yadong Wins
While Simon isn't quite as good as Chito Vera, we can look to that fight as a preview of how this one might go.
Vera, like Simon, is a strong wrestler with heavy hands, though he falls into pits of low volume. Against the "Kung Fu Monkey" Vera secured two takedowns and blasted Yadong with body shots and low kicks. Yadong got burned in close, too.
The 25-year-old needs to fight Simon at range Saturday. If he turns this fight into a hands contest, he can win. Yadong is capable of ripping off quicker and smarter combos than Simon, so he'll need to induce those types of exchanges if he wants a crack at winning.
Yadong vs Simon Pick
Yadong was once the UFC golden boy but has been bogged down by losses to very strong opponents. Unfortunately, Simon is another test the China native won't pass.
I'm riding Simon to win at -125 and the fight to go the distance.