Song Yadong and Chris Gutierrez will go head-to-head in this weekend’s UFC Fight Night 233 main event.
The event is scheduled for Saturday, December 9, and will take place at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas. The fight card was originally slated to take place in Shanghai, China, but was rescheduled for the Apex in November.
Before UFC Fight Night 233 takes place on Saturday night, read up on the latest Song Yadong vs. Chris Gutierrez betting odds and our full fight breakdowns, analysis, and predictions before the main event.
Song Yadong vs. Chris Gutierrez odds
Song Yadong is set to enter UFC Fight Night 233 as a heavy betting favorite with odds of -360.
Song Yadong vs. Chris Gutierrez predictions
Both of these men are tremendous strikers but very different fighters. Chris Gutierrez is a fluid long striker who really exemplifies the finesse of high-level kickboxing. His keys to victory are to be elusive and maintain his feints, angles and use his kicks to halt the forward movement of Song. Gutierrez has less raw punching power, so there will be times where Song feels as though it’s a good trade off for him to exchange as he bridges the gap. Attacking oblique or side kicks to the lead knee, or straight on to the mid section may be a good way to take some of that pressure off.
However, one of Gutierrez’s biggest tools in this matchup should be his elbows. Song’s last loss was to Cory Sandhagen in 2022, a fighter who shares some similarities in his strengths with Gutierrez. One of the major flaws for Song in that fight was while he was able to shell up under pressure and block much of the boxing attacks, Sandhagen was able to use those moments to slip elbows splitting the guard or over the top. Due to the power difference, being able to slice at Song is the best way to cause major damage that can have a large impact.
The keys to victory for Song, on the other hand, are to be the pressure counter fighter, and take his opportunities to gain time in top position. Gutierrez is a tricky striker so Song cannot just walk him down and throw recklessly. Instead, he should look to keep moving forward behind an educated jab and a high defensively sound guard. Mixing up kicks is a must, but the main thing is using this pressure to make Gutierrez uncomfortable and lash out to create space. At which point Song is a master at slipping off and hitting explosive counters. He is slick with his use of fake retreats into his lead hook or uppercut, as well as slipping, and circling his opponent into one of his hooks.
While I do not expect Song to chase a wrestling-heavy gameplan, in moments where he does connect if he finds Guterriez stumbling to the mat, the opportunities to get on top and control Guttierez are massive. Gutierrez has shown a tendency to get flattened out and play a very defensive guard meaning he can stifle ground and pound but is unable to sweep or work his way back up.
Over five rounds, this will help Song earn rounds and in the end cause Gutierrez to have to fight more recklessly later on, and in turn provide even more opportunities as the aggressive counter striker. On the flip side, Gutierrez needs to make those adjustments and avoid working flat off of his back, and immediately work to get onto one side so that he can build a base if he is finding himself trapped under Song.
Ultimately, I do think a disciplined Song should win. As long as he maintains a pace, Gutierrez is already known for sometimes lacking in output, having difficulty working his way from the bottom position, and is at a pure firepower disadvantage. Song’s major concern should be knees and elbows from Guttierez, but as long as he doesnt get too complacent with shelling up instead of moving, he should be able to get the better of most exchanges and at least the larger portion of the fight.
Pick: Song Yadong to win (Bet Now)
26-year-old prospect turned contender Song “Kung Fu Kid” Yadong is looking to climb back into title contention with another win. Yadong is an exceptionally well-rounded fighter who has only lost fights where he was outstruck – no small task- and unable to offensively wrestle. Outside of that very specific type of fight, Yadong has won and won convincingly in his young career.
On the feet, Yadong is a fast and versatile striker who mixes up kicks, knees, and punches with high volume and power from the first to the final minute of a fight. The “Kung Fu Kid” keeps a consistent and lands with average accuracy; but, what he lacks in overwhelming volume and accuracy he makes up for in timing and power. That is not to say Yadong is a brawler who lacks volume or precision; quite the opposite, he is a technical striker who has a refined and well-schooled striking game.
However, his timing and power are what make him special. Beyond his striking offense, Yadong is defensively sound. He uses fundamental footwork, quick-twitch head movement, and an intelligent guard to defend nearly 60% of the shots that come his way. Yadong’s x-factor, and the most important skillset in this fight, is his wrestling. He only averages .53 takedowns per fight at a 55% clip. But, those numbers are skewed a bit because he’s faced fighters with strong grappling games who he found more success in out-striking vs out-grappling.
Make no mistake about it, though, Yadong is a skilled wrestler who times his shots well and can finish them consistently, especially against fighters with poor takedown defense. The bottom line of what makes Yadong such an elite fighter is that he can win wherever the fight goes and has the power to end the fight in an instant.
Chris “El Guapo” Gutierrez, 32, found his stride following a shaky first three fights in the UFC. He dropped his debut to a ranked-level fighter and followed it up with back-to-back narrow-decision wins against fighters that the current Gutierrez would dismantle quickly. The launch pad in his career came in 2020 when Gutierrez ended a fight via leg kick TKO. His game hasn’t changed much since then, relying heavily on possibly the best calf kick in the UFC, Gutierrez looks to chop his opponent down early and tag them late.
His kicking game is truly special. Gutierrez’s kicks are electrifyingly fast, thunderously cracking, and thrown with the nonchalant ease like a cloud effortlessly dropping rain. Gutierrez is lethal at kicking range and poses a difficult challenge for many strikers. Those who prefer a range striking match are at risk of getting out-struck by the faster and more powerful Gutierrez as he cracks their legs to the point of immobility or even knockout. Fighters who want to get inside pay a serious toll to crash distance and often don’t have their base by the time they get in the pocket. Once in the pocket, though, if an opponent can stay inside of kicking range, Gutierrez can struggle. His boxing is fast and powerful but his striking edge at range is neutralized in the pocket.
I am fascinated by this fight if it were a striking-only match. Yadong’s pocket boxing versus Gutierrez’s range-kicking game would be an exceptionally exciting test of will and extraordinarily high levels of skill. However, this fight will be mixed martial arts, not Muay Thai, which means wrestling will be an option and a factor. Gutierrez is strong, athletic, explosive, and holds a 71% takedown defense. I expect him to make it difficult for Yadong to secure a takedown, but not impossible.
I anticipate Yadong timing his shots well and eventually getting Gutierrez on his back. From there, Yadong should be able to do enough to keep Gutierrez on his back for significant minutes of each round. Moreover, even if Gutierrez can keep the fight standing in rounds 1 and 2, the threat of a takedown should deter Gutierrez from truly letting his kicking game go. Takedown defense is much harder on one leg versus two.
I expect Yadong to use his full gambit of high level skills, mix up his attacks, and keep Gutierrez guessing en route to a decision that sees Yadong pull further and further ahead the later it gets.
Best Bet: Yadong by decision (Bet Now)
Song Yadong has long been one of UFC’s top future title-holding prospects. At just 26 years old, he has a staggering 12 UFC fights under his belt, many of which have been against top talent within arguably the deepest division in the UFC. And, Yadong has faired quite well in those fights, with wins over many elite contenders, including Marlon Vera in 2020.
Song Yadong has been able to climb the rankings and find success over talented bantamweights due to his elite combination of speed and power with his hands, with an underlying comfort in wrestling given his camp is out of Team Alpha Male.
Many high-end fighters, particularly in the lower-weight divisions, are often touted as having elite speed and/or power with comfort in grappling, but for Song, the speed within his hands contrary to movement accompanied by technically sound power is what separates him from the others. Moreover, the lessons he has acquired in the octagon, particularly his defeat to the funky style Sandhagen employs makes him a battle-tested, intelligent fighter who is still improving and has yet to enter his fight prime which is a scary proportion for any opponent.
The only question he needs to answer moving forward is if the improvement of skill separation between the elite of the elite is enough to stack up consecutive wins without blunder, particularly knowing his heavy-punch style approach is not the largest value-added differential compared to grappling or even kicking experts. If he can follow the boxing differential Suga Sean has shown, then similar to the champ, he too can certainly hold the belt in his career.
Chris Gutierrez is one of the unique specialists in the entire UFC. While many fight specialists excel in wrestling, submissions, or one-punch knockout power, Gutierrez excels with leg kicks, particularly to the lower leg of his opponent. The calf kick is a known, effective weapon in the octagon, and if landed precisely, it doesn’t take many to render the opposition nearly incapable of putting weight on it, thus lessening their movement and power. This notion alone of calf-kicking threat makes the opposition extremely tentative to engage with him, given a few calf kicks and the fight plan can change at a moment’s notice. So, not only is the benefit of the calf kick there for landing significant damage for Gutierrez , but is also a significant weapon by winning the confidence battle before the fight starts, as nearly all of his opponents start tentatively knowing the weapon Gutierrez has at his disposal.
While the elite kicking game of Gutierrez is always present and a thing of beauty to watch, other attributes of his fight game are closer to where he is ranked, that is, towards the bottom of the stacked bantamweight division. Notably, his wrestling, while far from terrible, is not to the level of the elite bantamweight contenders, Song Yadong included. Moreover, while he can certainly strike with the best of the division, his pure boxing is perhaps a step behind fighters such as Yadong, Yan, and Vera to name a few. While this is the case, UFC is mixed martial arts, not a single art sport, so the elite kicking game merged with sound other skills makes him a truly ranked bantamweight, and, as we have seen with Jonathan Martinez, leaning in on elite kicking can certainly be an effective method to climb deeply talented divisions.
As with last week’s main event, the price of this fight is somewhat out of hand. This is because while Yadong is certainly a contender for future champion, and while he has done very well in the UFC, he has shown moments of fighting closer than ideal fights in his career. Moreover, Chris Gutierrez is certainly in the prime of his career, and a few well-timed leg kicks here, and the fight changes.
Although the price is steep and I certainly give respect to the potential Gutierrez has here, similar to what was given to Dariush, I am confidently backing Song Yadong similar to backing Arman last week. Yadong’s hand speed and power are next level, and he has the well-rounded game needed to alter his plan of attack if Gutierrez finds success with the low leg kick. But, because Yadong does have good footwork and elite coaching, I expect him to be fully prepared to negate the majority of clean calf strikes, and I anticipate him to find success early with aggressive boxing. Because of the aggression and demonstrated late-round power, I am going Yadong by KO here.
Pick: Song Yadong KO +125 (Bet Now)