Song Yadong vs. Julio Arce is a battle between two up-and-coming prospects with immense talent in the bantamweight division. When they meet at UFC Vegas 42, a clash of styles will be on full display for UFC fans. Song Yadong has made strides in recent years picking off other rising names like Casey Kenney, Marlon Vera, and Alejandro Perez. While Julio Arce may be lesser-known, his wins over Dan Ige and Julian Erosa have aged well over the last couple years as well.
Song Yadong built up experience in Muay Thai, Sanda and Jiu Jitsu on his way up through the martial arts world in his native China. After making the successful transition to MMA and into the UFC, he was brought in to work at the famed Team Alpha Male gym under Uriah Faber. Since then he has shown some of the most promise in the UFC and as the next generation of the world-renowned team.
Julio Arc, the former two-division champion in Ring Of Combat, started his martial arts journey at Team Tiger Schulmann, a long-time staple in American martial arts culture. Throughout his time there he managed to develop a particularly special; boxing game, even winning a golden gloves championship in 2011, a year before making his professional MMA debut. Since this time he has worked his way through the ranks of MMA, into one of the most interesting prospects in the UFC with his boxing-based MMA style.
Song vs. Arce Betting Odds
Arce will come into the bout at a very slight underdog, a one-dollar bet will return a profit of a dollar and five cents.
- Song: -135
- Arce: +105
Song vs. Arce Breakdown
Song Yadong is a young fighter with all the talent in the world. He has amazing speed, power and technique as well as a high activity rate and great footwork. In terms of footwork, Song Yadong has many looks, we sometimes see him putting on immense pressure, which draws out a flustered attack from his retreating opponent as if they are lashing out. When he gets this to come out, Song’s ability to make the most of his usual speed and power advantage is important, rather than evade first and counter, Song will usually slip and throw at the same time, intercepting his opponent’s shot with a cleaner one.
The other way in which we have seen Song fight, especially most recently against Casey Kenney, is to move backwards, but also in and out as he is doing so. In this fight he got Kenney to chase forward and walk into his power as he moved. However, I think of the two strategies, this is the less logical one against Arce who does better work on the front foot. Arce is highly boxing-based, and one of the weaknesses in his style is that impact to his front leg becomes detrimental very quickly. Arce likes to push forward because his retreating opponents typically find it more difficult to kick moving backward, therefore Song should look to press forward.
Song also has a wide variety of strikes to choose from, he has great straights and hooks and because he is so bouncy on the feet they are hidden behind a lot of movement. He also has wicked fast kicks, including a left body kick which should be open for him as an orthodox fighter vs. the southpaw Arce.
In terms of weakness, Song shows very little, however, in the past a combination of fatigue and adrenaline has shown an increase in carelessness by the third round. He sometimes throws wide and loses composure in the firefight deeper in. Arce is best in the pocket, he uses minimal movement to evade so that he is right in position to counter perfectly. Therefore if Song does fade and leaves more openings in his wider strikes Arce will be given his opportunities.
Typically Arce starts off his fights with a feeling out process, utilizing his jab and low kicks to figure out timing and range. Once he has secured these, kicking becomes far less used, and he prefers to push forward into the pocket and counter in close. On the counter, he likes to do a slight slip, or a slight lean back and fire back with the left straight, but if he is leading, the straight comes after a slapping right hook. By comparison to Song, Arce is much more flat-footed in his approach, he has the ability to stay light but because he commits to his power cross so often he chooses not to.
Another strength of his is his ability to stay composed when he smells the finish, he will pick his shots and commit fully with stiff power when his opponent is hurt.
I don’t see either fighter particularly game planning on taking the fight to the floor beforehand, however, both have the ability to do so if they find themselves on the losing end of the striking exchanges. Like his striking, Arce works best at a slower pace where his technical prowess shines, so later in the fight when Song slows down Arce will have a better chance of securing his favorite body locks and trips. However, Song, especially early, is one of the best at scrambling out of positions like any Team Alpha Male member. Both have a typically traditional and orthodox ground game.
Song vs. Arce Prediction
There are definitely areas in the fight where either man will have success. Arce will do better if he can push forward as it will stifle Song’s kicks and force him to engage in a more pronounced boxing match. For Song, he needs to do the opposite, he needs to use the full range of his superior footwork in order to open up the inside leg kicks and body kicks and make Arce work at a range he is less comfortable with.
Prediction: Song Yadong via decision
Braeden Arbour is an aspiring journalist out of Ontario, Canada. He is a recent graduate of Trent University, with a black belt in Karate and a blue belt in Judo. He has also been an avid fan of MMA for the last decade.