Zhang Weili expected to defend belt against Rose Namajunas at UFC 261

March 1, 2021

UFC strawweight champion Zhang Weili is expected to next defend her belt against former champion Rose Namajunas at UFC 261.

Multiple sources confirmed that a bout between Zhang and Namajunas had been agreed upon, although contracts had yet to be finalized. ESPN was the first to report the bout.

If it comes together as expected, the bout would take place on April 24. This would be on the same fight card that is expected to feature UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko defending against Jessica Andrade.

UFC president Dana White had hoped to have Zhang’s next title defense take place in Asia, but it appears that UFC 261 is more likely to happen in Las Vegas.

Zhang (21-1) hasn’t fought since making her first title defense against Joanna Jedrzejczyk in March of 2020, prior to the COVID-19 shutdowns. She initially won the belt by defeating Jessica Andrade, who is the fighter that took the belt from Namajunas.

Namajunas (8-4) has fought just one time since losing the belt to Andrade in May of 2019. She avenged the loss to Andrade in July of 2020, winning via split decision.

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Zhang Weili defeats Jessica Andrade at UFC Shenzhen
Zhang Weili defeats Jessica Andrade to win UFC strawweight championship