UFC Shanghai is cancelled! The news was reported by various outlets this morning with the majority of the fights on the card set to now take place in Las Vegas.
The event had been scheduled to take place at the Mercedez Benz Arena in Shanghai on December 9th and the card is stacked with Asian fighters. For reasons which have not been disclosed it will not be taking place in China with MMA manager Shu Hirata breaking the news in the early hours of this morning:
— Shu Hirata | シュウヒラタ (@ShuHirata) November 15, 2023
It seems UFC Fight Night 234 will now take place at the Apex Centre on December 9th. A few bouts have already been removed from the card but Song Yadong is set to face Chris Gutierrez in a bantamweight headliner.
Yadong (20-7-1) was scheduled to fight Rob Font at UFC 292. He pulled out of that fight with an undisclosed injury but appears to be back in training in China.
He is based permanently at Team Alpha Male in California. But Yadong, who is coming off a win over Ricky Simon at UFC Vegas 72, now appears to be back in his homeland.
He had been expected to face Petr Yan but instead the Chinese bantamweight has been matched with Gutierrez (20-4-2). He is coming off a win over Yadong’s compatriot Alateng Heili at UFC Vegas 81.
Gutierrez also holds a win over Mongolia’s Danaa Batgerel. The American is #14 at bantamweight while Yadong sits significantly higher in the rankings at #7.
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Mingyang had been booked to face Tyson Pedro at UFC 284 in February but pulled out of that contest due to an undisclosed injury. It looks like his long wait to appear in the octagon for the first time has been extended.
The Road to UFC tournament finals have also been postponed. Li Kaiwen was set to make his official UFC debut next month. That bout is one of four that has been removed from the card.
JUST MELTED HIM WITH PRESSURE! 🔥
— UFC (@ufc) May 27, 2023
That leaves six bouts on the card including a flyweight fight pitting Sumudaerji against Allan Nascimento. The Chinese fighter returns to the octagon after a year long absence and has three wins and three losses from his previous six UFC fights.
The fight card features numerous Asian fighters. There is a strong Korean contingent with three fighters representing the country on the UFC Fight Night 234.
Also featuring will be Road to UFC flyweight tournament winner Hyun Sung Park. The Undefeated Korean has been matched with Shannon Ross.
A middleweight veteran from Korea is also in action. Jun Yong Park will be looking for his fifth straight UFC win when he takes on André Muniz.
— UFC (@ufc) February 5, 2023
Meanwhile undefeated Japanese flyweight Tatsuro Taira will be looking to build on his exciting start to life in the octagon when he takes on Carlos Hernandez.
Nasrat Haqparast and Jamie Mullarkey were originally booked to face off in a lightweight fight at UFC 284. The Afghan pulled out but the bout has been rescheduled for December 9th.
— UFC (@ufc) October 15, 2022
This is the second time this year that a card in Asia has been moved to Las Vegas at relatively late notice. UFC Seoul was cancelled when the Korean Zombie got injured, that event was switched to the Apex Centre too.
The issue this time does not appear to be injury related. It will be interesting to see what the official explanation is but the four year wait for a UFC card in China looks set to drag on even longer.