clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Welcome to the UFC: Yadong Song, Bharat Kandare and Xiaonan Yan

The first Indian-born fighter and two more hungry young Chinese prospects will make the walk to the Octagon for the first time.

The whole UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs. Gastelum card is full of intriguing debuts, and these three will add a few new faces to the undercard of the Fight Pass broadcast. First up we have an Indian mud wrestling champ against a teenage fighter who began professional fighting before he could get into most bars. Further on down the card, we have the debut of the first Chinese female signed to the UFC who fights like she’s in a 1980s kung fu film.

Who is Yadong Song?

19-year-old Yadong Song has been fighting professionally since 16 and is already 15 fights into his pro career, this kid makes Super Sage Northcutt look like a late bloomer. Song will be stepping in for training partner Liu Pingyuan ,who was forced to withdraw from this card due to injury. Beginning with a traditional Chinese kung fu base, Song has developed into a complete martial artist at Enbo Fight Club, a controversial Chinese gym that has been in the news for training orphans how to fight. Song’s Octagon jitters should be minimal having already headlined shows in China and competed on the main card of a ONE FC show.

What can you expect?

There are advantages to going pro as a zygote, training since just before birth has made Song a well-rounded fighter that is comfortable in a fight wherever it may go. Unlike many of his debuting countrymen, Song’s resume is apt for his call up. The majority of his opponents have winning records and he has fought international contenders like Russia’s Alexey Polpundnikov, who is on a 12fight win streak. Song’s best weapon is his boxing, but he will seamlessly mix in a spinning heel kick or takedown to keep his opponents honest. Song throws heavy ground-and-pound from the top, but his lack of wrestling will prevent him from taking down most fighters at the UFC level. Overall he has loads of potential, but will need to improve his wrestling to find success at the highest levels.

What does this mean for his debut?

Song is going to need to constantly move to stay clear of the inevitable takedowns of Kandare. Song’s route to victory would be a stick-and-move game plan where he wears down the heavily muscled Kandare. However, Kandare’s year of training at JacksonWink will give him tactics for tracking down the teen phenom and getting the fight to the ground. Once on the mat Song will have a decent chance at catching a sub, but the smart money is on Kandare powering out of submission attempts and landing ground-and-pound. Kandare TKO 2nd

Here is a 16-year-old Song showcasing his full arsenal in the Chinese RUFF promotion:

Who is Bharat Kandare?

Long considered the best Indian prospect, 28-year-old Bharat Kandare will make his long awaited debut and become the first Indian-born fighter to set foot in the Octagon. Kandare was the featherweight champion in India’s Super Fight League where he was 5-0 with five first-round finishes. He is part of the UFC’s international development program and has spent the last year-and-a-half training at JacksonWink in preparation for his debut.

What can you expect?

Kandare’s roots are in Kushti, which is a traditional Indian form of wrestling that looks a lot like Greco, but done in the mud. There is no mystery to what Kandare’s gameplan is, he uses looping hooks to immediately close the distance and shoot. The year plus of training in the United States should have gone a long way to rounding out his game and making him less of a one trick pony. His brute strength and size will give him an advantage over most of the international competition, but training at the JacksonWink Academy will give him the technical skill to compete with the world’s best.

What does this mean for his debut?

Unless his striking has evolved tremendously in the past year, Kandare is going to look to get this fight to the ground and based on film there is little Song can do to stop him from doing it. Once it goes to the mat, Song’s submission abilities and Kandare’s history of being submitted will make for some interesting exchanges. In the end, Kandare’s size and year of high-level training will give him the tools he needs to pound out a stoppage. Kandare TKO 2nd

This highlight reel will give you a good idea of what Bharat Kandare is capable of:

Who is Xiaonan Yan?

28-year-old Sanda fighter Xiaonan Yan signed with the UFC this past September, in doing so she became the first Chinese female officially on the UFC roster. Yan’s most notable fights took place in the Asian based Road FC promotion, where she went 2-0-1 NC, with her most recent bout being stopped early due to an accidental headbutt. As mentioned before, Yan’s base is in the Asian style of kickboxing known as Sanda, but she has spent time training at the Chinese Top Team with UFC Shanhai co-main event fighter Li Jingliang. Her level of of competition has been unimpressive, except for her last bout against (18-10) Japanese vet Emi Fujino, in a fight that she was winning prior to the clash of heads.

What can you expect?

Xiaonan Yan is what you would get if Cung Le and Wanderlei Silva had an illegitimate love child. She presses forward with the vitriol and violence of the “Axe Murderer” and throws side kicks to the head with the precision and speed of a young Cung Le. If she finds a willing dance partner she will collect numerous performance bonuses in her UFC career. Like most Chinese fighters her wrestling is not the strongest, but her work with the “Leech” will help to shore up her grappling deficit.

What does this mean for her debut?

Yan will meet six-fight UFC vet Kailin Curran in her Octagon debut, Curran is the perfect opponent to showcase Yan’s explosive style. The scrappy Hawaiian will be eager to impress going 1-5 in her previous bouts. With her back against the wall, Curran will come out swinging and Yan will be more than happy to oblige her in a slobberknocker. Yan will get the better of these early exchanges, but as fatigue sets in her lack of going deep in fights and take down defense will swing the fight in Curran’s favor. It will be close, but Curran’s cardio and wrestling will be enough to pick up the decision. Curran Split Decision

Check out highlights of Yan’s Road FC 30 bout, where she beat the spirit out of South Korean Lim So-He: