Not only are both the main and co-main events rematches for the women’s strawweight and men’s welterweight championships, but each champion is facing the No. 1 contender of their divisions as well.
Those bouts come between UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, who faces former interim welterweight champion Colby Covington in the main event, just after UFC women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas looks to defend her title against former strawweight champion Weili Zhang, the woman she just took the belt from.
Another note, both of these first fights ended via knockout.
First, let’s get into the co-main event.
Rose Namajunas first became champion four years and two days ago back at UFC 217, where she defeated six-time UFC women’s strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk via TKO in round one, who was 14-0 at the time.
She then defended her title in the immediate rematch via unanimous decision, out-striking Jedrzejczyk for five rounds, who’s also a multi-time world champion in professional kickboxing.
Namajunas then lost the title in her next fight to Jessica Andrade via KO (slam), a fight she was looking better than ever in. It was certainly an unusual and absolutely brutal finish.
Nonetheless, Andrade was defeated by Weili Zhang, who then defended her newly claimed championship against Jedrzejczyk herself back in March of 2020.
Next came Zhang vs Namajunas I, a fight the champion came in with a record of 21-1, and the challenger 9-4.
The challenger (Namajunas) claimed the victory, and the world title just 78 seconds into round one via KO (head kick), becoming a two-time world champion. She’d been working on her boxing a lot lately, and she’d shown mostly that over her last few fights.
We forgot Namajunas has a taekwondo background, and a black belt in the art. That snappy head kick caught most of us, as well as Weili Zhang by surprise.
So, given the dominant force Zhang has been, she’s been granted an immediate rematch.
Does Namajunas repeat history, or does the first ever Chinese UFC champion win her third world title fight and become a two-time world champion tonight?
Continue reading to see how this epic co-main event title fight went down:
Official Result: Rose Namajunas def. Weili Zhang via split decision (47-48, 48-47, 49-46)
Zhang opens up getting her leg kicks going, while Namajunas presses the action controlling the center. Namajunas is looking sharp on the feet, landing nice combinations, before Zhang takes her down.
Zhang lands some good ground-and-pound, until the champion makes her way back up.
Namajunas lands a nice push kick
Zhang is looking great at the start of the second, as she continues battering the leg of the champion. This limits the movement of Namajunas, and it also sets up more strikes for the challenger.
Namajunas is then stunned with a punch, before she throws a nasty head kick, which is caught. Zhang uses it to take her down, but Namajunas gets back to her feet and trips Zhang, mounting her for the final 20 seconds of the round.
Namajunas has a much better round for the majority of the third, as she gets her own leg kicks going. This is the round she also starts to really get her punches going in, landing a number of hard overhand rights.
However, Zhang is able to take her down with about 30 seconds left, and she did some good work of her own earlier on. It was a close round, and it ended with Zhang in mount.
The champion gets off a couple more of her beautiful right hands before Zhang initiates another grappling exchange, putting Namajunas in bottom turtle position.
This ends up with Zhang taking Namajunas’ back, though Namajunas spins into Zhang’s guard and is able to remain here for the rest of the round. It could very well be 2-2 going into five.
Namajunas is light on her feet to start round five, but Zhang is still fighting well.
Namajunas is then able to secure a beautiful double leg trip takedown and remains on top for the remaining four minutes of the round, landing good ground-and-pound, staying active enough to not be stood up.
This started out a very tough fight for the champion, but she does repeat history in exact form, on paper anyway. This was a much different rematch than her rematch with Jedrzejczyk.
What’s next for the best strawweight on the planet?
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I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I saw, and the fight that got me hooked on the sport. Since then, the sport has grown so rapidly, and my goal is to enlighten everyone on what’s going on in the sport today.