UFC 300 continues getting better each time the Ultimate Fighting Championship adds a new bout to the lineup, and this one is no different. The first title fight slated from UFC 300 comes in the strawweight division between current two-time champion Weili Zhang (24-3) and Yan Xiaonan (17-3).
UFC 300 is to go down on April 13, 2024, live from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Many people believe it should be undefeated no. 3 ranked Tatiana Suarez getting the next crack at the title, and while it’s hard to disagree, she’s scheduled to face no. 4 ranked former title challenger Amanda Lemos two months earlier at UFC 298.
Weili Zhang is perhaps the most dominant female fighter on the planet right now; short of her back-to-back defeats to former two-time champion Rose Namajunas, she’s gone unbeaten through her career short of a decision defeat in her professional debut.
Zhang came to the UFC in 2018 with a record of 16-1, winning three-straight en route to challenging Jessica Andrade for the title, a fight she won via TKO in just 42 seconds, making history as the first ever Asian champion in the UFC.
Zhang would defend her newly claimed title against former longtime champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk in their 2020 Fight of the Year effort before losing it to Namajunas in devastating fashion (KO) just 78 seconds into the opening round. She’d battle to a split decision defeat in their immediate rematch, before KO’ing Jedrzejczyk in their rematch.
The Chinese phenom then submitted two-time champion Carla Esparza, who’d since beaten Namajunas a second time to reclaim the belt, making Zhang the undisputed champion once again. That’s a lot of two-time champions at 115 lbs aye?
Zhang has since defeated Amanda Lemos via five round unanimous decision and looks to make the second defense of her title this April.
Yan Xiaonan came to the UFC nearly one year earlier in 2017 with an impressive 9-1 record, seven of those wins coming via knockout. However, though she’d win her first six promotional bouts including back-to-back wins over former title challengers, she’d turned into quite a decision machine, winning all six encounters via unanimous decision.
This led up to her TKO defeat to Carla Esparza, before losing a narrow, split-decision to no. 7 ranked Marina Rodriguez in her next one.
Since then, however Xiaonan has rebounded with back-to-back victories over no. 8 ranked Mackenzie Dern (MD) and former champion Jessica Andrade (KO), marking her first promotional finish, and what a finish it was!
Though Suarez won’t be fighting for the title this time around, we get to see a China versus China title fight happen inside the UFC octagon, and that will be a special thing to witness come spring of 2024.
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