Almost no one thought she could do it, but Weili Zhang cemented her position in history in Shenzhen, China, on Saturday. Zhang took out Jessica Andrade in the opening moments of their UFC on ESPN+ 15 headlining bout to become the UFC’s first Chinese champion.
After Andrade slammed her way to the UFC strawweight championship, taking out Rose Namajunas by picking her up and slamming her to the canvas, almost no one saw her losing the belt any time soon. Zhang had much different plans.
Weili Zhang def. Jessica Andrade
Andrade started the fight strong, moving forward and landing a hard right hand. Zhang ate the shot and countered with her own right hand that snapped Andrade’s head back.
Immediately taking advantage of the moment, Zhang pulled Andrade into a Thai clinch and unleashed a brutal assault of knees to the body, sending her staggering back to the fence. Zhang moved in, landed a punch combination, her right hand sending Andrade to the canvas.
Zhang followed with a couple more punches, forcing the referee to step in and stop the fight.
The victory moved Zhang to 20-1 in her career, having only ever lost the her very first fight.
“I’m from China! Remember me!” Zhang screamed into the microphone before she left the Octagon.
That isn’t likely to happen any time soon, as Zhang’s name is now etched into the history books as the UFC’s first ever Chinese champion.
— UFC (@ufc) August 31, 2019
Li Jingliang def. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos
Li Jingliang, one of China’s most popular fighters, dropped dos Santos in the first round, dominating the action with his pressure and dynamic striking style.
He started second round much the same, but dos Santos, realizing that the fight was slipping away, started swinging big in the final moments of round two. He couldn’t land the big blow he needed to sway the fight to his favor.
Dos Santos pushed the pace in the final round, but Jingliang remained calm, waited for his moment, and found it as the clock was running out. He staggered dos Santos with an uppercut that sent the Brazilian to the canvas. As dos Santos regained his feet, he ate several more shots from Jingliang, until the Chinese fighter landed a big right hand that sent him down for the final time, the referee waving off the fight at the 4:51 mark of the final frame.
— UFC (@ufc) August 31, 2019
UFC on ESPN+ 15 preliminary results
The remainder of the fight card was filled primarily with decisions, although Anthony Hernzndez stepped up to finish Jun Yong Park with an anaconda choke in the preliminary card’s feature fight. Da Un Jung also finished Khadis Ibragimov on the prelims with a standing guillotine choke.
UFC on ESPN+ 15: Andrade vs. Zhang results from Shenzhen, China
Main Card (6 a.m. ET on ESPN+)
- Weili Zhang def. Jéssica Andrade via TKO (knees and punches) at 0:42, R1
- Li Jingliang def. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos via TKO (punches), at 4:51, R3
- Kai Kara-France def. Mark De La Rosa via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Movsar Evloev vs. Lu Zhenhong— CANCELLED
- Song Kenan def. Derrick Krantz via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Mizuki defeats Wu Yanan via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Preliminary Card (3 a.m. ET on ESPN+)
- Anthony Hernandez def. Jun Yong Park via submission (anaconda choke) at 4:39, R2
- Su Mudaerji def. Andre Soukhamthath via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-25)
- Da Un Jung def. Khadis Ibragimov via submission (standing guillotine choke) at 2:00, R3
- Damir Ismagulov def. Thiago Moises via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
- Alateng Heili def. Danaa Batgerel via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
- Karol Rosa def. Lara Procopio via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
(Photo courtesy of UFC)