UFC Vegas 72 is less than a week away, with the card set to kick off at 7:30 pm eastern time on Saturday, April 29: viewers can tune in on ESPN+. The headliner event of Song Yadong and Ricky Simón sees a pair of highly-ranked Bantamweights facing off in their quest to continue climbing on the international stage. As of right now the odds are pretty much even. While he’s listed a couple notches lower on the UFC rankings, Simón opens at the sportsbooks as a slight favorite, at or around -115 at sportsbooks across the country. Song isn’t far behind him, though, listed at or around -105. It’s not often that you’ll see a pair of fighters facing off that both have negative odds, a testament to how good of a matchup the five round bout could be.
If you’re looking to bet on UFC or any other sport, be sure to use some of the best sportsbooks in the nation to place your wager: odds and promotions vary from book to book, so make sure you shop around if you want to lock in the best possible chances of winning big. Here’s a look at how the main card stacks up, as well as other fights to keep an eye on during the action.
Yadong is 25 years old and holds a 19-7 record in his career, along with one draw and one no decision apiece. Currently listed as the No. 8 bantamweight in UFC, Yadong stands 5 foot 8 with a 67 inch reach, and (along with Simón) will clock in under 135 pounds during the official weigh in ahead of the fight. Simón, on the other hand, is 30 years old, having won 20 of 23 matches in his professional career. He’s listed as No. 10 in the UFC bantamweight class and stands two inches shorter than Yadong, at 5 foot 6, but his lack of height doesn’t come at the expense of reach: at 69 inches, he’ll have a better chance of holding Yadong at bay. In fairness, reach doesn’t tell the whole story with Yadong. He’s an accomplished kickboxer, so what he may lack with his arms, he can more than make up for with knees and kicks.
A native of Harbin, China, Yadong enters this fight coming off a loss. He fell to Cory Sandhagen in September in another main card event, losing via TKO (in this case, a doctor stoppage) in the fourth round: Sandhagen opened a massive cut in Yadong’s eyebrow early in the match, and the swelling grew bad enough throughout the fight that officials stepped in to end the match.
Simón’s last match came in July of 2022, so he’s had close to a year off to recuperate (or get rusty, depending on how you want to spin it). He’s on a five match win streak right now, with his last loss coming three and a half years ago in December 2019.
Stylistically, Yadong got his start by using Sanda, a form of Chinese kickboxing. Sanda’s forms don’t translate directly to UFC (in part because there’s already a roaring market for Sanda fights in China, so most fighters don’t need to jump to the American circuit to find success). Yadong once received a loss via disqualification for employing groin kicks, but his exceptional use of his legs leads to some exceptional blows landed, like when he earned a TKO over Julio Arce with a head kick.
Simón is your more traditional UFC fighter, prioritizing grappling once he’s able to get his opponent on the ground. While he’s got the reach advantage (and a lower center of gravity than Yadong does), he’ll have to be extremely careful in getting Yadong to the ground: the threat of Yadong’s legs means one false move will bring the fight to a crashing halt.
UFC Vegas 72 has a co-main event, where a pair of southpaw middleweights: Caio Borralho of Brazil and Michał Oleksiejczuk of Poland, will tee off at 185 pounds. Borralho (5 foot 10, 75 inch reach) and Oleksiejczuk (6 feet, 74 inch reach) match up pretty evenly. Borralho is nearly perfect in his career, with a 13-1 record, while Oleksiejczuk is 18-5: both fighters have a no contest under their belt as well. Borralho is a heavy favorite in this match, listed as high as -340 at some sportsbooks. He enters the match on a 12 fight winning streak (albeit with the no contest thrown in there), and hasn’t lost a fight since July of 2015, when he was just 22 years old.