Hello and welcome to Sportstar’s coverage of the Epiodes 1 and 2 of the Road to UFC Season 2 in Shanghai.
ROAD TO UFC SEASON 2 LIVE UPDATES
A sensational burst from Li Kaiwen powers him to a stunning Round 1 victory over Lu Kai.
Seung Guk Choi (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) defeats Sumit Kumar by Unanimous Decision
R3: Third round begins. Can Sumit script a turnaround? A few leg kicks are exchanged first up as Choi opens up and floors Sumit. The Indian bounces back up quickly. Choi finds three punches to the face. Sumot continues to attempt a few high kicks but finds himself on the ground again. Choi holds his head above as the siren blows.
R2: Sumit attempts a high kick first up into the second round but Choi retorts with a firm knee. Sumit pins him to the ground once again but that wouldn’t hurt the South Korean. Sumit attempts to duck but meets another knee from Choi. A brief daze but he retains his composure. Sumit has managed to wear out his opponent a bit. A few fledgling strikes towards the end of the round but Choi must be ahead in this clash so far.
R1: An excellent start from Kumar by two quick grapples and a successful takedown. He is pushed to the ground briefly but makes a nimble escape. Sumit’s weak defence may put him in a spot moving forward. He is some ball off energy though, keeping Choi a tad puzzled. Sumit attempts another lock but Choi smartly survives the submission charge. Sumit fails to land a few crucial strikes and continues to attempt takedowns.
Time for the Indian challenge at the Road to UFC. Seung Guk Choi, a Road to UFC Season 1 finalist, steps into the Octagon with an intimidating record against Sumit.
Koya Kanda defeats Yibugele by Unanimous Decision
R3: Kanda and Yibugele go the distance after a sensational fight. Both of them gave it during some wild exchanges through the course of the fight.
R2: Battered faces but Yibugele and Kanda continue their spirited shows onto the third round. Both were pretty close to ending the fights with KO opportunities but they hold on.
R1: Both fighters manage to see through the first round, barely. Yibugele and Kanda exchange momentum with spells of promising attacks.
Koya Kanda from Japan walks into the Octagon with a three-fight win streak. He has won six fights by KO. Tonight, would be a good opportunity to add another. His opponent, Yibugele from Inner Mongolia, comes with a six-fight win streak and 10 wins by KOs. His devastating record also holds five first-round finishes.
Ji Niushiyue TKOs Billy Pasulatan in at 3:04 in Round 1.
Flyweight: Ji Niushiyue (China) vs Billy Pasulatan (Indonesia) - the first fight of the second session of the evening.
Ji Niushiyue (11-2) and Pasulatan (10-2) hold similar fight records despite a nine-year age gap. The 22-year-old Chinese, however, is billed as the favourite this evening.
China’s Taiyilake Nueraji bludgeons his South Korean opponent Han Seul Kim with a sensational KO in the non-tournament bout before Episode 2.
All set for Episode 2 - Sumit Kumar in action
Road to UFC Season 2 Episode 1 results
Sang Won Kim’s vicious Knockout finish closes Episode 1 in style. He lands a stunning blow on Japanese Sasu to march forward in the featherweight bracket.
A unanimous decision victory for Mark Climaco over South Korean Lee takes him to the flyweight semifinal.
Rei Tsuruya defeats Ronal Siahaan - The Japanese Tsuruya had a breeze over his opponent with an early takedown before rattling the Indonesian Siahaan. Mark Climaco (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) defeats Jung Hyun Lee by Unanimous Decision
Road to UFC Episode 1 and 2 results so far
ROAD TO UFC SEASON 2 PREVIEW
The road to the American dream is open again. The rules of the journey remain intact: 32 of Asia’s handpicked MMA fighters will compete, break some bones and jaws and chart their path into the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in a year.
The success of Road to UFC’s first season in 2022 has ensured UFC’s zippy return to tap talent from its fresh and booming market in Asia.
India, too, had its share of jubilation and despair last season when Uttarakhand-born Anshul Jubli soared to the top of the lightweight division and bagged a historic UFC contract in March 2023. His compatriot Pawan Maan Singh was not so lucky as a spinning backfist from Indonesian Jeka Saragih — Anshul’s final opponent — ended his shot in the first round.
Anshul’s remarkable rise from the blue has opened up a new path to the top for India’s silently teeming MMA arcade. The Road to UFC Season 2, which begins its course at the UFC Performance Institute in Shanghai on May 27-28, will also bear two Indians across different divisions.
Uttar Pradesh boys Sumit Kumar and Rana Rudra Pratap Singh will represent the country in their separate quests to the Octagon.
Sumit (7-0-0) will open his campaign against South Korean Seung Guk Choi - a Road to UFC participant last season — in the flyweight division. However, the 22-year-old Sumit’s seven-match win streak is under scrutiny for alleged record-padding. While Sumit’s record remains under a cloud, his undeniable skillset has earned him a ticket to China after being spotted by UFC chairman Dana White himself.
Meanwhile, Rana, who will take on South Korean Chang Ho Lee in the bantamweight division, holds an 11-1 record through a predominantly Indian fight background, honing his skills in the suburbs of Lucknow.
A momentous test awaits in Shanghai.
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