The co-main event of UFC 268 is yet another rematch. This time, the best division in women’s MMA is back at it as Rose Namajunas looks to defend her title against Weili Zhang. The two first fought in April of this year of which Namajunas won via knockout in round one. Zhang looks to show the world that the finish was but a fluke and Namajunas looks to continue her second reign. Regardless of the outcome, this fight has the potential to be one of the best on the card.
Don’t forget to check out our preview of the UFC 268 main event below!
UFC 268: Weili Zhang Redemption Fight
Weili Zhang was loved before her fight with Rose Namajunas. The entireity of the MMA world adored the first ever Chinese champion. The UFC planned on using Zhang as the frontline push into the market of China hoping for a long title reign. Then, Namajunas happened. Set up perfectly, Namajunas tricked Zhang to lower her hands and then went up top with a lazer focused high kick that put the champ away.
It’s pretty obvious what Zhang intends to do at UFC 268. After training with Henry Cejudo for some time, I’m of the mind that Zhang is going to try to come in and wrestle Namajunas. One would have to look to Namajunas losing to Jessica Andrade at UFC 237 to see the last effective grappling on Namajunas, and that was a fluke slam that Namajunas has really learned from. In her last loss to Carla Esparza, Namajunas gave up five takedowns. But that Namajunas from 2014 is not the same as today’s.
Namajunas is a very mobile fighter with very good footwork. With Trevor Wittman in her corner, you can bet that Namajunas will know how to check a leg kick. Zhang will have to bully her way to the fence and make it a dirty, ugly fight. Punning Namajunas is something Andrade had relative success doing in the first fight. Zhang, with Cejudo in her corner, could turn the page and make this fight into a grappling-heavy affair on their part.
Rose Namajunas: Tactician
For Rose Namajunas, rematches are nothing new for her. After fighting both Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Jessica Andrade twice, she’s always looked better in the rematch. Going into the Zhang fight, it will be her toughest rematch yet. Weili Zhang is a very smart fighter and has shown good grappling in some of her UFC bouts in the past. While she is primairly a kickboxer, I don’t forsee her taking that route this time around. Namajunas will have the toughest fight ahead of her and it could be set up to either make her shine with another spectacular knockout, or be a boring decision full of risk management.
Namajunas will look to repeat her success against Zhang in the first fight. A knockout in just over a minute is something anyone could appreciate. Namajunas is going to have to deal with the wrestling of Zhang. Weathering that storm will lie in footwork and good discipline standing up. Keeping the kicks low and the punches straight will work in the favor of Rose Namajunas.
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