Weili Zhang becomes the first-ever Chinese UFC Champion

It took Weili Zhang just 42 seconds to stop Jessica Andrade in Shenzhen, China, and become the first-ever Chinese UFC champion.

Zhang came into the bout as an underdog, matched against the remarkably strong Andrade who had just claimed the UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship by knocking out Rose Namajunas in May.

The Chinese strawweight started the fight by working the legs of Andrade with inside kicks. Andrade continued to push forward in her usual style but when she entered the pocket to trade punches with the challenger, she was crushed by a heavy right hand from the challenger.

Andrade was visibly impacted by the punch and this allowed Zhang to lock up a Thai clinch and pummel the head and body of Andrade with knees. Now in defensive mode, the champion fell to the mat and Zhang continued the offensive output to force a referee stoppage after just 42 seconds.

Zhang’s win is monumental for the UFC and mixed martial arts in China. But for Zhang, it was the realization of an objective she had set out to achieve.

“Last time when I was in Beijing, I made a commitment, I’m going to be the first-ever champion of the Chinese fighters,” Zhang told Michael Bisping in the post-fight interview (via in-cage translator).

Andrade, a 16-fight veteran of the UFC, will now need to forge a new road back to the top of the division. After taking the belt from Namajunas, who attempted to defend the belt in enemy territory in Brazil, Andrade was asked to do the same in China.

“I would just like to thank China for welcoming me with open arms,” Andrade said in the post-fight interview (via in-cage translator).

“I brought my belt here to defend it but wasn’t able to. Props to Weili, she fought a great fight. Hopefully, I get a chance to fight her again, here or somewhere else. I don’t mind fighting in China again.”

When asked if she would consider changing her fighting style if she had the opportunity to replay the fight with Zhang, Andrade responded by saying, “this is my style, this is how I do it.”

“If I would fight her again, you never know, every fight is different. I’ll go back to the drawing board and come back stronger.”

UFC Shenzhen results

Main Card

  • Weili Zhang def. Jessica Andrade via TKO (punches) R1, 0:42
  • Li Jingliang def. Elizeu Zaleski via TKO (punches) R3, 4:51
  • Kai Kara-France def. Mark De La Rosa via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Song Kenan def. Derrick Krantz via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Mizuki Inoue def. Wu Yanan via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Preliminary Card

  • Anthony Hernandez def. Jun Yong Park via submission (anaconda choke) – R2, 4:39
  • Su Mudaerji def. Andre Soukhamthath via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-25)
  • Da Un Jung def. Khadis Ibragimov via submission (guillotine) – R3, 2:00
  • Damir Ismagulov def. Thiago Moises via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Heili Alateng def. Danaa Batgerel via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
  • Karol Rosa def. Lara Procopio via unanimous decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)

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