The first of Sunday’s two-pack of bouts in the Road to UFC series produced three finishes and two competitive, back-and-forth battles, setting the table for an entertaining conclusion to these quarterfinal events.
Once again, it was bantamweight and lightweight hopefuls stepping into the cage in the tournament contests, looking to move forward in their respective brackets, and once again, the action was outstanding.
Here’s a look at what took place on the final episode of the opening round of action in Season 2 on the Road to UFC.
Action on the Road to UFC kicked off with the flyweight and featherweight quarterfinals on Saturday, leaving the Sunday stage to the bantamweights and lightweights.
Road To UFC Official Results
May 28, 2023 | UFC Performance Institute Shanghai
Non-Tournament Bout: SangHoon Yoo defeats Chris Hofmann by TKO (knee and punches) at 3:10 of Round 3
Business got underway on Sunday with a non-tournament bout in the welterweight division, as SangHoon Yoo registered a come-from-behind stoppage win.
Hofmann looked to maintain his 100 percent knockout rate, throwing power shots almost exclusively, while Yoo, who competed on Season 2 of Dana White’s Contender Series, offered more variety and volume on the feet. It wasn’t until the third round when a truly telling blow connected, with Hofmann dropping Yoo with a lunging left hand early in the round.
But the South Korean recovered and returned fire, backing Hofmann up with a right hand before planting a jumping knee on his chin that put him on the deck. The follow-up blows came quickly and the fight was halted, giving Yoo his sixth stoppage victory in eight career wins.
Xiao Long (29-28, 29-28) defeats Shohei Nose (29-28) by Split Decision
Competitors with previous experience inside the UFC proving ground faced off in the opening bout of the bantamweight tournament, as Season 1 semifinalist Shoehei Nose squared off with Dana White’s Contender Series alum Xiao Long.
Throughout the first, Nose controlled things, landing occasional clean shots while constantly searching for entries and submission opportunities once they hit the ground. The majority of the second was spent on the feet, both men trading blows, with Xiao looking the worse for wear thanks to a couple well-placed Nose elbows. The third offered a mix of both elements, with Xiao landing the bigger strikes, while Nose continued hunting submissions.
The judges were tasked with determining the winner, and when the tens and nines were added up, Xiao came away on the happy side of the split decision verdict, punching his ticket to the bantamweight semifinals.
SangWook Kim defeats Kazuma Maruyama by submission (D’arce choke) at 3:08 of Round 1
What a brilliant finish for SangWook Kim!
Paired off with Kazuma Maruyama in a tactical, technical battle in the lightweight quarterfinals, the Dong Hyun Kim protege locked onto a D’Arce choke midway through the opening frame, collecting the neck out of a scramble situation. He closed the space quickly, tightened his squeeze, and drew out the tap from the Japanese fighter.
An outstanding finish for the South Korean, who pushed his winning streak to three and his record to 9-2 overall with the victory.
Shuya Kamikubo (30-27, 29-28) defeats Baergeng Jieleyisi (29-28) by Split Decision
These two bantamweights came out of the gates running hot and never slowed down.
Baergeng Jieliyisi had more success on the feet in the opening stanza, busting up Kamikubo with well-placed jabs, a couple uppercuts, and a stiff knee, only for the undeterred Japanese fighter to finish the round in deep on a painful looking kimura. In the second, Kamikubo again dragged the fight to the canvas in the waning seconds, finishing an otherwise close round in top position, landing short, steady shots.
As Baergeng slowed in the third, Kamikubo began to dictate the terms of engagement more, eventually putting the Chinese fighter on the canvas and chipping away with a steady diet of short shots through to the horn.
Once more, the three officials tasked with scoring the contest were needed to determine the victor, and once more, they were split in how they saw things, with Kamikubo coming out on the satisfying side of the split decision verdict. Now 13-1-1 overall, Kamikubo moves on to the bantamweight semifinals, where he’ll face Xiao Long with a place in the finals up for grabs.
Rongzhu defeats SeungChan Hong by TKO (strikes) at 2:17 of Round 1
Rongzhu started down the path back to the UFC with a first-round stoppage win to close out Sunday’s opening series of bouts.
The 23-year-old Chinese fighter, who went 1-2 in a three-fight run inside the Octagon that ended last year, attacked SeungChan Hong with quick strikes from the outset while defending his various attempts to work from inside the clinch. Back in space, Rongzhu got loose with his hands, eventually dropping Hong with a right hand along the fence coming out of another failed takedown attempt. As soon as he recognized the opportunity to finish, the lightweight made sure to seal the deal.
Just an outstanding effort by the former UFC man, who will take on SangWook Kim in the semifinals later this year.
May 28, 2023 | UFC Performance Institute Shanghai
Peter Danesoe defeats Kai Xiong by KO (flying knee) at 4:20 of Round 1
Peter Danesoe opened up the final episode of Road to UFC in spectacular fashion, scoring a walk-off knockout with a perfectly timed, perfectly placed flying knee. Danesoe and Kai Xiong had been going back and forth, neither getting a significant advantage as they worked from the clinch and in space.
But Danesoe started to find a rhythm after the midway point of the round, finding the range on his strikes, and with Xiong backed against the fence late in the frame, “The Asian Viking” went airborne, bringing the fight to a stunning halt.
Daermisi Zhawupasi defeats Eperaim Ginting by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 0:58 of Round 1
This one didn’t take long at all!
Daermisi Zhawupasi raced across the cage, where he was promptly met by Eperaim Ginting, who twisted him to the canvas. When Ginting looked to capitalize, Daermisi reversed the position, transitioning into mount, where he quickly flattened Ginting out and sunk in the rear-naked choke.
Now unbeaten in seven pro fights, the 23-year-old Chinese fighter advances to the semifinals of the bantamweight tournament, where he’ll look to continue making easy work of the competition.
Shin Haraguchi defeats Windri Patilima by TKO (strikes) at 1:25 of Round 2
Shin Haraguchi completed a beautiful double leg in the center of the Octagon 12 seconds into the opening round, and never allowed Windri Patilima out of his clutches from there. The Japanese wrestler peppered Patilima with punches and elbows from top position throughout the first and was right back to it at the outset of the second.
The volume and impact increased and the fight was halted, sending Haraguchi forward to the semifinals. Now 6-0 as a professional, the smothering prospect offers shades of last year’s bantamweight winner, Rinya Nakamura, and is definitely one to watch going forward.
ChangHo Lee defeats Rana Rudra Pratap Singh by TKO (strikes) at 3:52 of Round 1
ChangHo Lee wasted no time in taking the fight to Rana Rudra Pratap Singh on Sunday, tripping him to the canvas almost immediately, eventually working his way to mount where he smashed home punches and elbows that brought the fight to a close.
This was one-way traffic from the jump and a dominant showing from the man who wants to become South Korea’s answer for Khabib Nurmagomedov. Just a tremendous performance from Lee, who will meet Daermisi Zhawupasi in the semifinals.
Bahatebole Batebolati defeats WonBin Ki by DQ (illegal strikes) at 2:22
Lightweights Bahatebole Batebolati and WonBin Ki looked to close out the opening weekend on the Road to UFC in style, pairing off in an entertaining back-and-forth in the final bout of the day, but it didn’t end the way anyone had hoped.
Bahatebole started well, sticking Ki with a series of clean left hands that left the South Korean semifinalist from last season bloody. Ki began to have some success of his own late in the opening stanza, and stung Bahatebole with a clean right hand that put him on the canvas, but then things went awry.
Ki unloaded follow-up blows, several of which landed to the back of the head, all while referee Marc Goddard was shouting for him to watch where he was landing those shots. The action was paused, the doctor was called in to assess the situation, and the fight was halted, leaving the outcome to the discretion of the official.
Ki was disqualified for the illegal blows, and Bahatebole advanced to the semifinals as a result, where he will find himself opposite Shin Haraguchi to determine who will move on to the finals.