The prelim card Saturday evening at UFC Fight Night: Smith vs Spann features two Chinese standouts looking to put losses in the rearview mirror.
Their most recent record notwithstanding, both men harbor explosive capabilities and have all the tools to make noise in their respective divisions.
Here's what you need to know.
The fact that Alatengheili was matched with Casey Kenney in just his third UFC bout is a testament to the calibre of bantamweight opponents that UFC matchmakers are confident he handle. He came out on the wrong side of that decision last October, but gave Kenney a true test over 15 minutes. Notorious for his gas tank, he outlasted both Danaa Batgerel and Ryan Benoit in his first two UFC bouts. He meets Gustavo Lopez in the second fight of the night this Saturday.
- Age: 29
- Height: 5'5"
- Reach: 66.5"
- Style: Wrestling + Ground & Pound
- Nickname: The Mongolian Knight
- Started training: wrestling in Inner Mongolia at age of 14
- Began MMA: Age 23
- Titles Held: No.3 Freestyle wrestler in China, countless Mongolian traditional wrestling medals
- First fighter to graduate from UFC Academy in UFC PI Shanghai
- Owner of fight team ALT. Owns one gym in Beijing and one in Suzhou.
- Favorite fighter: Tony Ferguson
- Won four of his last five
- Has been in the US for this fight since July. Did his camp at Arizona's Fight Ready.
- In 2017 trained at Jackson-Wink with Song Kenan and Song Yadong.
- Favorite food: Mongolian BBQ
Rongzhu entered the UFC on a 10-fight winning streak...all finishes and all within the span of three years. His debut at UFC 261 ended that streak, although he did go the distance with the perennially tough Rodrigo Vargas. That fight took place in Jacksonville, and Rongzhu would stay in Florida following the loss to train at American Top Team. It's no secret that his favorite fighter is fellow lightweight Dustin Poirier, so the choice of gyms for this fight was an easy one.
"I learned that I need to perform the way I do in training and don’t let anything distract or bother me," he says, reflecting on what he has learned. "In this second fight, I will let them see a different Rongzhu."
Originally paired with Dakota Bush for his sophomore outing, Rongzhu now faces Brandon Jenkins who also knows a thing or two about long finishing streaks.
Despite his tender age, he already boasts a 17-4 professional record. The experience could prove invaluable as he makes his move in the most densely-packed division in the entire sport.
- Age: 21 (Youngest Chinese fighter in UFC)
- Nickname: Yama Pluto
- Height: 5'9"
- Reach: 71"
- Style: Striker, Boxing
- Started training: Enbo Fight Club at age12
- Best Friend: UFC Flyweight Sumudaerji (Will stay in U.S. after this fight to help Sumudaerji with his next fight)
- Gym: American Top Team
- 11 Wins by KO, 4 Wins by Submission, 9 First-Round Finishes
- Titles Held: Lightweight belt in W.A.R.S (Age 18)
- Favorite fighter: Dustin Poirier
- Favorite food: Buffet