To make history, and become not just the first UFC title-challenger from China, but first bona fide champion, Weili Zhang was given a tough task; defeat Jessica Andrade, a UFC mainstay with crushing power and unmatched work-rate. But that’s exactly what she did.
The fearless Zhang came out guns blazing and it was more than Andrade could handle. Zhang blasted through the Brazilian with a flurry of strikes that resulted in a TKO victory after just 42 seconds of action.
Zhang’s right hand over the top was the beginning of the end. She set it up with a few leg-kicks that got Andrade rumbling forwards, but the Brazilian walked right into the punch. She was wobbled and Zhang pounced, forcing her to the fence and delivering elbows and knees. Andrade tried to stumble away and regain her composure, but Zhang chased her down and put her out. A couple more punches sent the now-former champion to the ground and Zhang’s swarming ground and pound was more than enough for the referee to call the action to a close.
The sky is the limit for Zhang. The UFC have been begging for a Chinese star they can take to the bank and now they have found her. There is a real chance her celebrity and pop culture cache will soar in her home country now, though it’s unlikely that North American and global audiences will buy into her story right now. From a sporting standpoint the strawweight division is now stacked with sumptuous potential match-ups for Zhang that include former champions Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jędrzejczyk and the surging Tatiana Suarez.
Despite the loss Andrade is still a bankable vet who will continue to find fights in the top rankings of the division. The former bantamweight may also look for fights in the flyweight division, though a match-up with champion Valentina Shevchenko seems very far away. Expect to see Andrade in a strawweight fight with Suarez or Nina Ansaroff, who will be looking to earn their own chance to face Weili Zhang.
Watch it now! You can spare 42 seconds to watch history being made, right?