Song Yadong got back on track with a victory over Casey Kenney at UFC 265. The Chinese fighter prevailed by way of split decision despite one of the judges turning in a surprising scorecard.

Fortunately the other two got it right meaning that the the Chinese fighter, who came into the fight on the back of a loss to Kyler Phillips at UFC 259, got back to winning ways. The decision win was no more than Yadong deserved after putting on a 15 minute showcase of his striking skills.

‘The Kung Fu Monkey’ opened up with a body kick and ate a counter jab but followed up with a pair of rights hands then a low kick. The Team Alpha male fighter then began putting his combinations together and landed with the jab-cross combination.

Kenney started to time the punches from Song better and began to laugh at him. The 23-year old’s response was no nonsense as he launched a powerful body kick.

Clearly having the better of the exchanges, Song caught Kenney with a right hand but the American responded with a slick right counter behind the ear. The Chinese fighter let go with some sharp jabs and was moving well, showing nimble footwork.

As Kenney threw a body kick, Song timed a lovely left-hand counter and a lively one-two combo. The American seemed to be a step behind with his opponent landing more frequently and with greater power.

When Song slipped throwing a kick Kenney was on him straight away looking to lock in a front choke. He wasn’t able to capitalize though, as the 23 year old scrambled and found his feet.

Solid kicks

Kenney scored with a couple of solid leg kicks early in the second round. Song ripped a sweet right cross to the body. He soon found a home for another body kick – a shot that was clearly a big part of his overall strategy.

Kenney continued to march forward looking to chase his opponent down, but Song’s movement remained slick, and he kept landing with leg kicks and quick two and three punch combinations.

Kenney attempted to switch up his offence with a takedown attempt, but Song brushed it off with ease. The American did land some crisp left hands towards the end of the round but appeared to be two rounds down heading into the final stanza.

Song let his hands fly at the start of the third as Kenney landed with a body kick. The Chinese fighter fired back with three of his own.

Kenny caught Song with the knee when going for a head kick and planted a sharp jab to his chin. Song replied with a body shot as the local favourite shot for another takedown only for his opponent to Song sprawl and stuff it..

This was a real return to form for Song as he landed a jab and another body kick in the closing stages. His movement and shot selection was excellent, and it was a real surprise to see one judge award the fight 29-28 to Kenney with the other two scorecards reading 29-28 and 30-27 in favour of the rightful winner.

Questionable assessment

Despite the questionable assessment of the action from one judge, Song walked away with the split decision and extends his record to 17-5-1-1 while Kenney slips to 16-4-1.

After the fight Song said,

“I’m really excited because last time that wasn’t the real me and this time I did much better. This (bodykicks) was our game plan. I know he has some really good body kicks so I’m giving him a taste of his own medicine.”

“I feel like I do much better standing up.” He added.

UFC 265, Houston, August 7th
Ciryl Gane def. Derrick Lewis via  TKO at 4:11 of R3
Jose Aldo def. Pedro Munhoz via Decision (Unanimous)
Vicente Luque def. Michael Chiesa via Submission (D’Arce) at 3:29 of R1
Tecia Torres def. Angela Hill via Decision (Unanimous)
Song Yadong def. Casey Kenney via Decision (Split)
Rafael Fiziev def. Bobby Green via Decision (Unanimous)
Vince Morales def. Drako Rodriguez via Decision (Unanimous)
Alonzo Menifield def. Ed Herman via Decision (Unanimous)
Jessica Penne def. Karolina Kowalkiewicz via Submission (Armbar) at 0:32 of R1
Manel Kape def. Ode Osbourne via KO (Knee) at 4:44) of R1
Miles Johns def. Anderson dos Santos via KO (Punch) at 1:16 of R2
Melissa Gatto def. Victoria Leonardo via TKO (Doctor’s stoppage) at 5:00 of R2
Johnny Munoz def. Jamey Simmons via Submission (RNC) at 2:35 of R2