Kyler Phillips (+136) vs. Song Yadong (-162)

Weight Class: Bantamweight (135 lbs)

This bantamweight bout between the highly touted Song Yadong and Kyler Phillips would be my pick for fight of the night if we didn’t have three scheduled championship bouts.

For Yadong, the team Alpha Male product by way of China will be getting back in action for the first time since last May. Yadong emerged victorious in a back and forth, very entertaining fight with Chito Vera. There were mixed reactions to Yadong’s decision win and Chito Vera swears he won the fight.

Either way, Yadong did a-lot of things well and the decision was justified in my eyes. His gas tank has some questions, but Song Yadong truly does have heavy hands. His boxing is very crisp and he lands heavy. This was on display in the Vera fight and ultimately got him the decision.

Prior to that, Yadong fought to a draw in a close fight with Cody Stamman. He may have won the fight were it not for a couple cup checks in what truly was the night of the cup check.

So experience wise, Song Yadong certainly has the edge. He has been a highly touted UFC prospect for some time now and has beaten competition to match the hype.

As for Kyler Phillips, he is coming off of what was arguably the best performance of his career. The American had everything working en-route to a dominant KO victory over UFC debutant Cameron Else.

What makes Kyler Phillips an intriguing prospect was on full display in the Else fight. Phillips has insane movement and mixes up his striking very, very well. He will go to the body and has great calf kicks, which are becoming an ever increasing problem for the receiving fighter.

In his Fight of the Night victory over the now released Gabriel Silva, Kyler Phillips was really hammering away with the calf kicks. Now that calf kicks are surging in popularity following the defeat of Conor McGregor — as we saw just last week with Jimmie Rivera and Pedro Munhoz — I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a healthy diet of them tonight.

The opponent quality definitely favors Song Yadong, which certainly matters. He’s been in, and won tough fights against top 15 caliber fighters, which is a big edge. Yadong is also the superior boxer, so he could be dangerous if he gets in a rhythm.

With that said, I like Kyler Phillips in this fight and think he has multiple paths to victory. If Phillips can utilize his great movement, and head movement, he can prevent Yadong from getting in a rhythm. If Phillips can make the fight ugly and unconventional, he has a real chance. He could look to tire Yadong out via grappling, where he has an edge, or clinch work. Song Yadong is solid in the clinch but he has shown a tendency to tire when being grappled.

The first round will be a big indicator for this fight. If Phillips can either win the first round or gain momentum late, the odds shift in his favor heavily. Phillips has the better gas tank and could exploit his strengths over Yadong later, likely with less power coming back.

At +136, there is sneaky underdog value in Kyler Phillips moneyline. I’ll be placing .5u on this outcome and also have it in a five-leg parlay.

Prediction and play: Kyler Phillips moneyline (+136)

More UFC 259 Breakdowns:

Uros Medic vs. Aalon Cruz

Sean Brady vs. Jake Matthews

Aleksandar Rakic vs. Thiago Santos

Israel Adesanya vs. Jan Blachowicz

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