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  • Writer's pictureChris Presnell

Road to UFC: Opening Round Day 1 results: Wang Cong, Feng Xiaocan finish impressively

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Road to UFC 2024 is off to a strong start!


Nine fighters earned a win today in Shanghai, revealing some powerful forces in Asian MMA. MMA Ecosystem has all the results and a recap of each fight:


Bahatebole Batebolati vs. Kim Han Seul

Road to UFC kicked things off with a non-tournament welterweight fight between alums Kim Han Seul and Bahatebole Batebolati. The fight was a striking battle that saw Kim drop Bahatebole early with a straight left hand. Batebolati recovered well in round two, opening a cut on Kim and finding the more powerful punches throughout the round. 


The third round ultimately saw “The Lion King” put a stamp on the fight, landing the stronger punches and a double-leg takedown to end the round. 


All three judges scored the fight 29-28 for the Chinese-Kyrgyz fighter Bahatebole.


Kiran Singh vs. Feng Xiaocan

Beginning the strawweight tournament, Feng Xiaocan established herself as an early favorite with a first-round TKO stoppage over Kiran Singh. Showing a massive height and reach advantage, the Chunbo MMA representative lit up her opponent immediately.


A throw from Feng set up the finish, as the 22-year old quickly took mount and began dropping hands. The stoppage came at 2:03 of the first round, setting up a big rematch with Miki Motono in the semifinals (Motono advanced to semi-final round after her original opponent, Huang Feier, missed weight).


Shin Haraguchi vs. Hong Jun Young

Picking right up where he left off last season, Japan’s Shin Haraguchi pressed right away for the takedown against South Korea’s Hong Jun Young. Haraguchi became known for his relentless wrestling pace in season two of Road to UFC, and dropping down to featherweight saw no change in that strategy for this season three fight.


While Hong rarely conceded the takedown, Haraguchi never let off the gas and wrestled Hong until the final bell. The judges scored the fight 30-27, 30-27, and 30-25 for Shin Haraguchi.


Zhu Kangjie vs. Tatsuya Ando

In another featherweight tournament fight, Hefei's Zhu Kangjie battled Tokyo's Tatsuya Ando. Zhu’s will to manifest the knockout was evident right off the bat. The speed, power, and accuracy of his striking drew oohs and awes from the crowd, battering Ando with body kicks and smashing right hands. A right hand to close the round had his Japanese opponent on skates, and while surviving the round, blood dripped from the mouth of Ando going back to his corner.


Zhu started round two patiently, but dropped Ando once again with a straight right two minutes into the round. Tatsuya Ando began to move his head and find his openings as Zhu began to slow, but just as he did Zhu Kangjie landed a liver shot that briefly left Ando doubled over.


The third and final continued Zhu’s roll, and while his pace certainly slowed, the steady diet of body shots and right hands likely solidified a dominant fight for the Anhui-born featherweight Zhu Kangjie.


The judges scored the fight 30-26, 30-26, and 30-25 for Zhu.


Wang Cong vs. Paula Luna

There's a good chance Wang Cong is the next addition to the UFC women’s flyweight division.


“The Joker” fulfilled all the lofty expectations set before in a win over Peru’s Paula Luna, submitted her with a mounted guillotine choke in the first round. Billed as a striking specialist, Wang quickly got the fight to ground where she worked from side control to strike and advance her position. Sliding into mount, Wang locking in a mounted guillotine at 3:04 of the first round, getting the tap and potentially a spot on the UFC roster.


Priya Sharma vs. Dong Huaxiang

In a strawweight battle pitting China’s Dong Huaxiang against India’s Priya Sharma, it was Dong that gained a clear advantage from the start.


While both fighters come from wrestling backgrounds, Dong’s active boxing from the southpaw stance scored points on the scorecards. There wasn’t too much activity through the first six minutes of the fight until Dong landed a trip in round two.


Working from Sharma’s back, Dong hunted for the choke from the standing position. Sharma ultimately evaded the attack and the two women clinched back up against the cage for the rest of the round.


The third round saw Dong’s dominance continue. Out-striking and out-wrestling her Indian foe, Sharma had no answers for the attack of Dong. The trips and jabs Dong were on display to the end, and all three judges scored the fight 30-27 for her.


Song Young Jae vs. Masuto Kawana

In a battle of featherweight prospects, Japan’s Masuto Kawana fought Song Young Jae in a competitive three round fight. A credentialed wrestler in his own right, Kawana opened the fight leaning on his wrestling to get Song to the ground over and over again. While not landing much offense, he was likely able to clinch the round against his Korean opponent.


The second round may have seen Kawana tire just a little bit as his success rate with the shot began to dip. Song punished his efforts with damaging combinations on the feet, pushing the fight closer to a finish. Although tired, Kawana leaned into the fire and blasted Song with punches in the final ten seconds.


The third was another good round for the wrestling Kawana, landing punches in the clinch and takedowns at will. At this point, Song Young Jae had tired as well, and Masuto Kawana kept the back and pounded until the final bell.


The judges scored the fight 30-26, 29-27, and 29-27 for Masuto Kawana.


Shi Ming vs. Seo Ye Dam

The final fight at strawweight featured China’s Shi Ming against South Korea’s Seo Ye Dam. While Seo came out hot with striking combinations, it was Shi that dropped Seo with a nasty knee the temple halfway through the first. After that, Shi followed the fight to the ground, looking for the rear, naked choke before the two eventually stood by the end of the round. 


In the second round, Seo was able to land a double leg on sure, and then worked from side control. Although unable to accumulate any offense, Seo was able to control Shi for the remainder of the round.


Round three was razor close, although Seo Ye Dam likely landed the more effective punches throughout the round. Takedown attempts from Seo were stuffed by Shi, who then pushed Seo up against the cage. 


The pressure of Shi Ming apparently sealed the seal for her in the last round, as all three judges scored the fight 29-28 for Shi.


She’ll fight Dong Huaxiang in the semifinals later this year.


Xie Bin vs. Yibugele

In the final fight of the night, two Chinese featherweights went to battle as Xie Bin fought Yibugele. Yibugele was coming in as a late replacement for Hamid Amiri, but had won two straight before returning to Road to UFC. In the first round, Xie used his range and low kicks to pepper away at Yibugele before clinching and working for a takedown. 


The second and third rounds were more of the same from Xie Bin, jabbing and tagging Yibugele over and over with a straight right hand, controlling the pace and setting of the fight.


All three judges scored the fight 30-27 for Xie Bin, who’ll be a big favorite to win the season.


He’ll fight Masuto Kawana in the semifinals later this year.


See below for full results from Road to UFC: Opening Round day one.



ROAD TO UFC 2024: SHANGHAI EPISODE 1 RESULTS


     UFC Fight Pass​ (6am EST / 3am PST)


Zhu Kangjie def. Tatsuya Ando via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-25)


Shin Haraguchi def. Hong Jun Young via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-25)


Feng Xiaocan def. Kiran Singh via TKO (Ground and Pound) at 2:03 of R1


Bahatebole Batebolati def. Kim Han Seul via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

ROAD TO UFC 2024: SHANGHAI EPISODE 2 RESULTS

     UFC Fight Pass​ (8am EST / 5am PST)


Xie Bin def. Yibugele via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)


Shi Ming def. Seo Ye Dam via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)


Masuto Kawana def. Song Young Jae via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 29-27, 29-27)


Dong Huaxiang def. Priya Sharma via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)


Wang Cong def. Paula Luna via Submission (Mounted Guillotine Choke) at 3:04 of R1



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