Zhang Weili has opened as a major favorite over the current champion Carla Esparza.
Zhang lost the same belt that Esparza currently holds to Rose Namajunas in 2021, the same fighter whom Esparza won her championship from. After knocking out the strawweight division’s greatest former champion Joanna Jedrzejcyk in 2022, matchmakers have set Zhang vs. Esparza at UFC 281, November 12, 2022.
Order UFC 281
Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira is tonight! Watch every UFC 281 fight here.
- Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira
- Carla Esparza vs. Zhang Weili
- Dustin Poirier vs. Michael Chandler
Oddsmakers are backing the former champion, making Zhang the favorite across betting boards and opening at -150 with Esparza at +130. The gap has since widened with Zhang now at -357 and Esparza at +260 on MyBookie.
This means that it will cost betters a whopping $357 for every $100 they wish to win on Zhang, but a wager of $100 on the champion, Esparza, could return a $260 profit.
Esparza is coming off of her belt-winning performance against Namajunas in May and has extended her winning streak to six. It will be her high-level wrestling skills that her supporters will look to, as this was a defining tactic in Zhang’s last title fight, however with her Sanda background and powerful striking, the former champion is always dangerous everywhere.
Here are the opening odds for the pair’s last five fights:
Zhang Weili’s last five fights:
- vs. Joanna Jędrzejczyk (W): -150
- vs. Rose Namajunas (L): -110
- vs. Rose Namajunas (L): -200
- vs. Joanna Jędrzejczyk (W): -175
- vs. Jessica Andrade (W): +170
Carla Esparza’s last five fights:
- vs. Rose Namajunas (W): +185
- vs. Yan Xiaonan (W): +155
- vs. Marina Rodriguez (W): +120
- vs. Michelle Waterson (W): -125
- vs. Alexa Grasso (W): -105
Braeden Arbour is an aspiring journalist out of Ontario, Canada. He is a recent graduate of Trent University, with a black belt in Karate and a blue belt in Judo. He has also been an avid fan of MMA for the last decade.