Zhang Weili

Magnum

China

Defending title versus Xiaonan
StrawweightUFC
January 10, 2024
Weili is scheduled to defend her UFC Strawweight Championship belt against Yan Xiaonan at UFC 300 in Las Vegas on April 13, Marcel Dorff of Eurosport.nl reports.
ANALYSIS
After losing back-to-back fights against Rose Namajunas in 2021, Weili responded by winning three straight UFC fights, reclaiming her strawweight title in the process. Weili successfully defended her title in an extremely one-sided victory over Amanda Lemos in August, and she'll now look to fend off Xiaonan, who has won two straight fights.
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Breaks records in title defense
StrawweightUFC
August 20, 2023
Weili defeated Amanda Lemos via unanimous decision (50-43, 50-44, 49-45) at UFC 292 on Saturday in Boston.
ANALYSIS
Weili's performance here will likely hold up as one of the most one-sided title defenses in UFC history. The strawweight champion landed the most strikes ever in a woman's UFC fight (296), taking down Lemos almost at will and dominating her on the ground. It wasn't long ago that Weili was soundly out-grappled by Rose Namajunas in a title fight, but it looks like the Chinese fighter has rounded out her game, as she defended submission attempts from her opponent while almost simultaneously moving to more advantageous positions on the ground. Lemos came into this bout with a takedown defense rate north of 80 percent, but it didn't matter to Weili, who showcased her superiority in every facet of the fight. The aforementioned losses to Namajunas will likely hang over her head until she is able to get "Thug Rose" back in the cage, but for now, Weili must be seen as the most dominant force in the strawweight division. She'll also take home a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus for her efforts here.
Taking on Lemos
StrawweightUFC
May 16, 2023
Weili will defend her UFC Strawweight Championship against Amanda Lemos at UFC 292 on August 19 in Boston, Shaheed Al-Shatti of MMAFighting.com reports Tuesday.
ANALYSIS
Weili's sheer dominance to this point in her career has been very impressive. She lost two consecutive UFC matches in 2021, but has since rebounded with two victories, most recently a win over Carla Esparza via a rear naked choke in the second round (to win back her title). She'll look to keep the winning ways going against Lemos, who is also coming off two straight victories and fighting for UFC gold for the first time.
Powers past Esparza to claim title
StrawweightUFC
November 12, 2022
Weili defeated Carla Esparza via submission (Rear-naked choke) at 1:05 of Round 2 at UFC 281 on Saturday in New York
ANALYSIS
It became clear early that Weili would simply be too strong for her opponent in grappling exchanges, as she muscled the credentialed wrestler around the Octagon before catching a nifty choke in a reverse crucifix position. The strength and power discrepancy left little doubt as to how this one would end up, as Weili was never in significant trouble before finding the finish. Weili likely isn't the only one celebrating her second taste of strawweight gold, as this will give Rose Namajunas -- who defeated her twice before dropping the strap to Esparza -- a clear path back to the top. Be that as it may, this night belongs to Weili, who will always present a strong test as a deserving champion. Weili improves to 23-3-0 in professional MMA as a result of the victory. She'll also take home a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus as a result of her efforts here.
Will fight Nov. 12
StrawweightUFC
August 18, 2022
Zhang is set to take on Carla Esparza for the UFC Strawweight Championship at UFC 281 on Nov. 12, Marcel Dorff of Eurosport.nl reports.
ANALYSIS
Zhang has lost two of her last three fights and is looking to begin a winning streak once again. Prior to her two losses to Rose Namajunas, Zhang had won 21-straight fights and she has an impressive professional record of 22-3-0. A decisive victory over future hall-of-famer Joanna Jedrzejczyk in June was enough to cement her status as the top contender at 115 pounds.
Again tops Joanna Jedrzejczyk
StrawweightUFC
June 11, 2022
Zhang defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk via KO (spinning back fist) at 2:28 of Round 2 at UFC 275 on Saturday in Singapore.
ANALYSIS
It's nearly impossible to believe, but this fight was nearly as entertaining as the March 2020 clash which Zhang won via split decision that is widely considered the greatest women's MMA fight in history. The traffic was a bit more one-sided in this one in Zhang's favor. The two women fought to fairly even terms on the feet early on, but Zhang -- who landed just 1-of-8 takedown attempts in the first bout between the two -- flipped the script by blitzing Joanna with her grappling game midway through Round 1. The end result was Zhang spending the majority of the frame in a dominant position and battering Jedrzejczyk with a flurry of elbows. Joanna survived to see Round 2, but a Zhang spinning back fist midway through the frame closed the show, and ultimately, Joanna's career. There is zero doubt Zhang is next in line for another shot at potentially regaining the UFC Women's Strawweight Championship, currently held by Carla Esparza. Zhang will have to be wary of Esparza's stellar wrestling game, but she will enter with a massive speed and power edge on the feet and figures to be a fairly hefty favorite in terms of the Vegas odds. In the meantime, she'll take home one of five $50,000 Performance of the Night bonuses awarded on the evening.