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  • Writer's pictureChris Presnell

Road to UFC season announced in full by UFC


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The moment Asian MMA fans have waited for has come, and Road to UFC is back fully in the spotlight.


The UFC announced the third season today, including all of the fights to take place across four brackets of eight fighters. The opening round takes place on May 18th and 19th at the UFC Performance Institute in Shanghai, China, and brings forty fighters from around the world under one roof.


Familiar faces that competed in season two include finalist Jiniushiyue, semifinalist Daermisi Zhawupasi, and quarterfinalist Baergeng Jieleyisi. Returning from the first season is featherweight Xie Bin, who has won three straight since RTU in 2022. Joining him from season one will be Koreans Hong Jun Young and Kim Han Seul (who fought in both seasons in non-tournament bouts).


One surprising entrant is Hamid Amiri, who trains out of Afghanistan. A fighter from Central Asia has never competed in Road to UFC, although his countryman Abdul Azim Badakhshi was supposed to compete in last year's season if not for visa issues that prevented his travel. Amiri will fight the aforementioned Xie Bin, which was previously announced by MMA Ecosystem.


Of course, the main new feature of Road to UFC season three will be the inclusion of a strawweight tournament. Half of the bracket will feature Chinese fighters, including Shi Ming, Huang Feier, Dong Huaxiang, and Feng Xiaocan.


Dong Huaxiang has long been regarded as a top prospect from China, but has been recovering from health conditions the past few years. She came back last year in WLF to beat Yang Qingqing with ease, and hasn't fought since.


As far as top prospects gathering the most attention, it could be 4-0 flyweight Wang Cong of China. The former kickboxer (who famously has a win over Valentina Shevchenko) has looked dynamic in three MMA appearances so far. After beating UFC veteran Wu Yanan last January with ease, she seemed on the verge of signing with the UFC. Her likely last test will be Peruvian Paula Luna (5-2).


See below for the entire Road to UFC opening round lineup:


MEN'S FLYWEIGHT:

Choi Dong Hoon vs. Jiniushiyue

Angad Bisht vs. John Almanza

Yin Shuai vs. Kiru Singh Sahota

Ruel Panales vs. Toki Matsui


MEN'S BANTAMWEIGHT

Daermisi Zhawupasi vs. Ren Ozaki

Baergeng Jieleyisi vs. Li Yunfeng

Yoo Soo Young vs. Shohei Nose

Tokitaka Nakanishi vs. Kim Kyu Sung


MEN'S FEATHERWEIGHT

Xie Bin vs. Hamid Amiri

Song Young Jae vs. Masuto Kawana

Zhu Kangjie vs. Tatsuya Ando

Hong Jun Young vs. Shin Haraguchi


WOMEN'S STRAWWEIGHT

Dong Huaxiang vs. Priya Sharma

Feng Xiaocan vs. Kiran Singh

Shi Ming vs. Seo Ye Dam

Huang Feier vs. Miki Motono


NON-TOURNAMENT FIGHTS

Women's Flyweight- Wang Cong vs. Paula Luna

Women's Flyweight- Lisa Kyriacou vs. Yan Qihui

Welterweight- Kim Han Seul vs. Bahatebole Batebolati

Lightweight: Ki Won Bin vs. Tatsuya Saika

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