Song Yadong thinks matchmakers will protect Sean O’Malley from UFC Fight Night 223 callout
LAS VEGAS – Song Yadong thinks the UFC will have no interest in making his callout of Sean O'Malley happen after his main event win at UFC Fight Night 223.
He’s largely OK with that, though, because the surging bantamweight contender Yadong (20-7-1 MMA, 9-2-1 UFC) sees other possibilities outside of O’Malley (16-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) following his fifth-round TKO of Ricky Simon (20-4 MMA, 8-3 UFC) on Saturday at the UFC Apex.
“I want to fight top-five fighters,” Yadong told MMA Junkie and other reporters at the UFC Fight Night 223 post-event news conference. “Even (Rob) Font – he’s No. 6. He’s OK. (Marlon) ‘Chito’ Vera and Sean O’Malley – but they probably won’t give me Sean O’Malley. They want to protect him. Whatever. Just top five. My goal is to fight top-five fighters this year.”
Outside of O’Malley, Font or Vera, Yadong said he would also be content with a matchup against Petr Yan, who he “forgot” to call out but thinks would be a fitting pairing as he tries to take the next step at 135 pounds.
More than anything, Yadong just wants to stay active in 2023, he said. He would like to return in July or August, but said it depends on his health and whether the promotion can find him an appropriate foe.
Ultimately, Yadong hopes to build off his first main event triumph inside the octagon. He wasn’t thrilled with his showing against Simon, despite controlling the majority of the action then scoring knockdowns in the fourth and fifth rounds to set up the fight-ending TKO sequence.
“I feel my performance was OK,” Yadong said. “Not very good. I could’ve ended the fight in the earlier rounds. It was five rounds. He’s a very tough opponent. I wanted to be patient in the fight. I had a lot of chances to finish the fight earlier.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 223.
Twitter reacts to Song Yadong's late finish of Ricky Simon at UFC Fight Night 223