‘The Leech’ picks opponent apart before winning at UFC Fight Night 111

China’s Li Jingliang proves too good for Saipan’s Camacho in the end, weathering an early storm before dominating bout to improve record to 13-4

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 June, 2017, 8:10pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 June, 2017, 11:32pm

China’s Li “The Leech” Jingliang shook off a right hand to the chin that looked like it could have stopped a train before steaming home just like he was one, sealing a unanimous points victory over Saipan’s Frank Camacho in their UFC Fight Night 111 welterweight matchup on Saturday night.

It might have been on the undercard of the UFC’s return to Asia but the bout brought the packed Singapore Indoor Stadium to its feet as Li weathered an early storm before slowly picking his gallant opponent apart.

“My opponent surprised me with his speed and strength. He punched very hard,” was the Chinese 29-year-old’s understatement straight after the fight.

He was then quickly taken off to hospital to get a foot injury checked, more for safety than serious concern.

The win took Li’s record to 13-4 and showed the sort of resilience that has gathered him a wealth of support back home, and a growing legion of fans abroad.

Camacho – on debut in the UFC but with a 20-4 record in MMA coming in – rocked him with what was about the first shot fired in anger, then again halfway through the round, and once more for good measure mid-way through the second stanza. But Li grew in confidence as the bout wore on, peppering his tiring opponent with legs kicks and gradually finding his range with his fists.

“Because of [the early strikes] I changed my game plan for the second round to move more and land more low leg kicks,” Li explained before leaving the stadium.

UFC primed to explode in China, says rising star ‘The Leech’ Li Jingliang

“I knew I had the chance to finish the fight in the last round and it looked as if he was going down, but he was very tough and stayed in the fight. I trained for this to be a three-round fight, so I took my time and delivered. My foot is a bit hurt from the fight, but I don’t think it’s anything too serious.”

Li’s winning streak in the world’s premier MMA organisation moves to three and though the welterweight division is overloaded with talent, a few more efforts like Saturday nights and the Xinjiang native might just throw himself deep into the mix.

Bring it on: ‘The Leech’ Li Jingliang stakes a claim for greatness after devastating UFC win

There was to be no dream debut for the Philippine’s Rolando Dy against the veteran Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres after the American’s glove made contact with Dy’s right eye early in the first round.

Dy fought on valiantly but it was apparent he was increasingly at a huge disadvantage. The referee called an to end to the featherweight contest at the end of the second round, giving it as a TKO (doctor’s decision) to Caceres (13-10), and leaving Dy (8-5-1, one no contest) inconsolable on the mat.

“He’s a tough kid with a fighters heart,” was Caceres’s tribute.

“The Preacher’s Daughter” Holly Holm meanwhile came to Singapore looking for redemption through co-headlined bantamweight clash with Bethe “Pitbull” Correia.

It took until just over a minute into the third round for the American to land a shot – and it was a huge left foot to the head and a follow-up right that made it lights out for the Brazilian after a pretty dire contest, for the fans at least.

But it can’t be argued that the lady has a flair for the dramatic. “I was just looking for a clean shot,” Holm (11-3) explained.

The loss took Correia to 10-3-1

Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski, had earlier made it a bad night for “Pitbulls.” The Belarusian was looking also to claw back his relevance in the division after a 0-4 skid. He was surprised by Marcin “Tybur” Tybura’s tenacity early, ground his way back into the fight after looking gone, but the damage had been done and he fell to 25-15, with one no contest. There’s a future for Tybura at 16-2 but it’ll be tough here on in for Arlovski.