Dojo Drifter Hit List: 5 Takeaways from UFC Shanghai

In this edition of the Hit List, Dojo Drifter’s Mike Miguel breaks down UFC’s first-ever card in Mainland China.

1. Don’t sleep on Kelvin Gastelum at 185

There’s no doubt that Kelvin Gastelum is having a good, if not a great time, as a middleweight. Over the weekend, he added Michael Bisping to his growing list of victims. Gastelum put away “The Count” inside the first round with a slick combination to notch his biggest victory to date.

With an emphatic win over the former middleweight champ, the eighth-ranked Gastelum has clearly sent a message to the entire division: he’s coming for the gold. And while current titleholder Georges St.-Pierre’s plans remain uncertain, Gastelum could jump in line and get the title shot when the opportunity comes.

2. All signs point to retirement of “The Count”

In the MMA world, the rise of one fighter is always the other’s fall. In the case of Michael Bisping, he’s at the shorter end of the stick. After losing the title to GSP three weeks ago, he suffers yet another crushing loss to Kelvin Gastelum.

On the flipside, he still has one more chance to redeem himself and cap off his career on a positive note as he plots his final fight in London next year.

3. Rolando Dy revives his UFC career the hard way

Rolando Dy may have just saved his UFC career with a crucial win against Wuliji Buren. Coming out of his brief retirement, “Dy Incredible” defeated the Chinese, best known for power-bombing his opponents, during the prelims of the UFC Shanghai card.

On paper, Buren was supposed to be an easy fight for the former PXC standout compared to his first two outings. But taking the fight on two weeks notice without a camp puts the odds heavily against Dy. Known for pressuring his opponents, conditioning was a challenge for the Filipino and his struggle to cut weight only made it more difficult.

Fortunately, he did enough to get his first W in three tries and might live to fight another day inside the Octagon.

4. “China Power” can be the next big thing for UFC in Asia

Heading into UFC Shanghai, Team China was off to a good start with a 5-2 record inside the Octagon. After starting the night with two straight losses from Hu Yaozong and Wu Yanan, they eventually got their groove courtesy of Yan Xiaonan after dominating Kailin Curran. Then, Song Yadong and Song Kenan scored back-to-back stoppage wins that kept the crowd cheering.

Finally, co-headliner Li Jingliang ended the night well for the Chinese fans. He scored an emphatic win of Zak Ottow. During the post fight interview, an inspiring speech from “The Leech” brought the crowd to their feet and chanted in unison.

While it may be too early to tell how will the they fare inside the Octagon in the long run, “China Power” has shown its potential that night.

5. Expect the UFC to return in China

Aside from the fighters putting up fine performances, the Chinese crowd came out to support that night. 15,128 fans were in attendance showing appreciation for the sport. This is one of the promotion’s biggest attendances this year.

Although the promotion is non-committal as of the moment about their plans for the future in this part of the world. We could expect that there will be a high chance of them making a return there next year.

Mike Miguel

If there’s anything MMA related going down in the Philippines, Mike would know about it. With a knack for photography and social media, Mike never misses a beat.
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