A day after UFC 280, the Road to UFC semi-final rounds were completed Sunday in Abu Dhabi, with the finalists for the four Asian tournaments being determined.
The biggest winner from the event was Jeong Yeong Lee, who again picked up another win in under a minute. After a 36-second armbar in the opening round, he followed up with a 42-second KO over Kai Lu to book his ticket to the Road to UFC featherweight finals.
Prior to this tourney, “The Korean Tiger” also had a 10-second KO win at Road FC, meaning that he only needed an insane 88 seconds to dispatch of his last three opponents. He is only 26-years-old, and is certainly the best prospect to watch out of this tournament.
Jeka Saragih, who didn’t really come in with much fanfare, is now carrying Indonesia’s hopes after scoring back-to-back brutal knockouts in this tournament. After a spinning backfist KO in the opening round, he upset Won Bin Ki in the semis with a missile of a right hand. Could he be the first ever Indonesian UFC fighter? Interestingly enough, he will take on Anshul Jubli of India in the lightweight finals, which will represent two countries that are severely underrepresented in the UFC.
Among the top standouts is Hyun Sung Park, who survived an early knockdown against Thai showman Topnoi Kirwam, and ended up getting a rear naked choke victory. With the win over his former sparring partner, Park advanced to the flyweight finals and will face his South Korean countryman in Seung Guk Choi.
In the bantamweight tournament, Rinya Nakamura picked up an early TKO, exploding out of the gate just guns blazing and knocking out Shohei Nose in the first round. He will move on to an all-Japan showdown with Toshiomi Kazama in the finals.
In a non-tournament bout, 23-year-old Samandar Murodov of Tajikistan remained undefeated as he notched a buzzer beating rear naked choke win at 4:59 of the first round. He came in on short notice, against a bigger opponent that missed weight, and made the most of his opportunity. Murodov isn’t in the tournament, but the 8-0 prospect asked for a UFC contract right after, and did make a good case for it.
The Road to UFC finals will likely happen during the planned UFC event in South Korea in February 2023. The final match ups are as follows:
Flyweight: Seung Guk Choi (South Korea) vs. Hyun Sung Park (South Korea)
Bantamweight: Toshiomi Kazama (Japan) vs. Rinya Nakamura (Japan)
Featherweight: Yi Zha (China) vs.
Lightweight: Jeka Saragih (Indonesia) vs. Anshul Jubli (India)
Full event results and videos for Road to UFC: Episodes 5 and 6 are here.