Zhang Weili vs. Yan Xiaonan prediction | UFC 300 1

The UFC 300 co-main event will be an all-Chinese affair as the nation’s first-ever champion, Zhang Weili, takes on the first Chinese woman to ever enter the UFC octagon, Yan Xiaonan.

Although the two have described one another as friends and occasional training partners in the past, there will be no love lost between them this weekend. Yan Xiaonan believes she should have been the first Chinese woman to have fought for a title, however in the middle of her rise, injury and a couple setbacks set the stage for Weili to pick up momentum and earn her shot in just three UFC appearances.

Regardless, they fight now. The two women will co-headline UFC 300, the biggest event since UFC 200 back in 2016. The card will also feature Jamahal Hill taking on Alex Pereira, Justin Gaethje vs. Max Holloway, and plenty of other firework fights.

Betting Odds

Zhang Weili will defend her title as a lopsided favorite.

  • Zhang Weili: -500 (BetUS)
  • Yan Xiaonan: +350 (BetUS)

Fight Breakdown

Just because the oddsmakers have Yan Xiaonan as such a big underdog, do not underestimate the contender. Both women share similarities, at almost the same height and reach (Yan will have one extra inch of height). The two also have identical UFC records of 8-2. In terms of their backgrounds, both women come from a martial art called Sanda, a Chinese form of kickboxing that integrates takedowns, and because of this, they share some of their movesets. Watch for flicker jabs and lead leg kicks, primary weapons in Sanda.

Zhang Weili is the more physically imposing fighter. He is powerfully built which allows her to cause more damage per strike generally. She tends to do good work from the outside but likes to use her kicks and long punches to work her way in and land flurries in the pocket. Another area she shines is striking off of clinch breaks, where she does an excellent job of framing and finding elbows over the top.

Yan Xiaonan does not have that same firepower. Where Weili has finished half of her UFC wins, Yan has just one stoppage in the promotion. In this case Jessica Andrade was drawn in on Yan and found herself rushing into a counter hook, although tactically Yan did a good job of walking her onto the shot, the momentum added a lot to her pure punching power. Yan should be prepared to work for all five rounds in a pursuit of victory over the champion. Yan is very good on the outside with crisp boxing, and tends to throw longer combinations than Weili. She can also do good work with her low kicks and jab, which often sets up a fade-off left hook.

The biggest difference in their skillsets is Weili’s grappling, which is seemingly improving in every fight. Weili has good wrestling shooting, but thrives especially in clinch trips and takedowns. It will be important for her to cut off the octagon and rally Yan into a corner so that she can get chest to chest and start working on her grappling. Weili is so confident anywhere the fight goes she often allows herself to let loose with aggression in top position, without much worry about her opponent escaping back to their feet. However, even if Yan is able to work her way back up, the difference in grappling ability means that Weili should look to make the most of those opportunities.


Both women are supurbly skilled, however the roles the oddsmakers have laid out make sense just because Weill’s skills span more of the MMA game. Yan needs to keep the fight standing, and she needs to win rounds. Weili should have confidence whether the fight stays standing or hits the mat. While Weili could find the stoppage especially if the fight does hit the canvas, I believe the two have a lot of respect for each other’s skills. I think we will see a feeling-out process, and I think the momentum will swing a few times over the bout.

With such a disparity in the betting odds, it’s hard to bet on the -500 favorite in Weili, yet it would also seem she should be the victor. Instead, because I believe we will see elements of a very technical chess match, the best odds offered by BetUS would be for the fight to go over 4.5 rounds, essentially the distance or a very late finish. Oddsmakers have this at -105 right now.

Pick: Fight to go over 4.5 rounds (-105 at BetUS)

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