Thursday, 17 October, 2019

Zhang Weili makes history as China’s first UFC champion

UFC women’s strawweight champion Jessica Andrade lit up the open workouts UFC women’s strawweight champion Jessica Andrade lit up the open workouts
Cary Erickson | 02 September, 2019, 20:55

For Zhang it was the ideal result in front of a raucous home crowd at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre Arena - and one that many felt would now propel her to superstardom while bringing a major boost to the UFC as it continues its pursuit of the riches of the Chinese market. "I'm from China. Remember me!".

Zhang was the first challenger of Andrade as the reigning UFC Women's Strawweight Champion. Andrade met her end 42 seconds into Round 1, her brief reign atop the 115-pound weight class over after just 112 days.

See the pros react to Zhang's finish of Jessica Andrade below! She landed more elbows and multiple hard knees to the body in the clinch. The 12-bout UFC Fight Night 157 card takes place at Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre Arena, with the main card starting at 6 a.m. ET.

The beaten Andrade, 27, who had won the title by defeating Rose Namajunas in May, said she hoped for an immediate chance to reclaim her title. She made her professional MMA debut on November 9, 2013 in Xuchang, China where she lost to her countryman Bo Meng via unanimous decision.

China has been a focal point as the UFC continues to expand internationally.

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"She literally just came into my dressing room in the back and said, 'I'll fight as much as you want me to".

Part of that initiative included the UFC unveiling a performance institute in Shanghai in June.

Li, despite entering the bout with a two and a half-inch reach disadvantage fought intelligently on the outside judging Dos Santos's range perfectly.

White revealed Zhang's next title defense is likely to be in the United States. Eventually the Brazilian's game plan in tiring the fleet of foot Namajunas out would succeed, as the reigning champion was found with nowhere to run with her back against the cage, enabling Andrade to pick to her opponent up into the air and slam Namajunas on her head, knocking the now former champion unconscious and bringing yet another UFC championship title back home to Brazil.

On March 2, 2019, Zhang earned her third UFC win.