Song Yadong (+102) vs. Casey Kenney (-120)
Weight Class: Bantamweight (135 lbs)
After a razor close fight with UFC legend Dominick Cruz, Casey Kenney will be facing another tough opponent in Song Yadong. Yadong also lost his last bout against Kyler Phillips, but has had a largely successful UFC career thus far.
For Kenney it’s really been nothing but tough competition. Prior to the Cruz fight, he won a decision in a wild fight against Nathaniel Wood. Nathaniel Wood is quite underrated, in my opinion, and this fight had a ton of volume. Kenney ate a-lot of shots in that one, but he was dealing more damage. Each fighter threw a wide range of strikes as well, which is something they can do on any given night.
Casey Kenney has really been showing off his growth in the striking department in recent fights. The Cruz loss snapped a three-fight winning streak over which the Indiana native beat Alateng Heili, Louis Smolka and Wood. He put on a striking clinic against Heili and showed that the power bar on his kicks is very high.
Kenney’s only other loss came against Merab Dvalishvili, which is gonna happen. Merab beat Kenney how he wins most of his fights, with volume takedowns, but Kenney was able to land a few of his own as well. He also did a decent job at getting up. A performance like that against Dvalishvili is better than most and highlights Kenney’s skill in the grappling department. In fact, Kenney’s early UFC career was mostly a grappling highlight reel. He outwrestled a much bigger fighter who missed weight in Manny Bermudez and also out-grappled Ray Borg.
So all in all, Casey Kenney is a very well-rounded mixed martial artist.
As for Song Yadong, he has also improved his game over the course of his UFC career. Primarily a boxer, he has spent plenty of time with Team Alpha Male, which has certainly led to improvement on the ground. As far as opponents go, Yadong has racked up some solid wins. He beat Chito Vera in a razor close fight, showing he can handle a tightly contested bout. Against Cody Stamman he had success, though a groin strike led to a point deduction.
Song Yadong has a solid boxing game and does well at coming forward. He does have issues with cardio, however, and I do think he had trouble with Kyler Phillips. I think the Phillips fight showed that well-rounded fighters present difficulties for Yadong. Phillips is a kick-boxer who has a wide range of strikes in his arsenal where as Yadong is a bit more one-dimensional. It showed in that one and Phillips was able to out-point him from the outside.
Styles make fights, and Casey Kenney has proven that he can bring a similar striking dynamic to that of Kyler Phillips. I would also give the power advantage to Kenney as well, also the grappling advantage. So with that said, I think Casey Kenney moneyline is a solid value at (-120). It is a 2 unit play for me.
As far as method goes, I would say Kenney by points, but will not be making a play on a method prop. The line is good enough as is and I chose to play it straight.