After big knockout win at UFC 275, Zhang Weili is next for the strawweight title

Mar 7, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Weili Zhang (red gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (blue gloves) during UFC 248 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

This past weekend on the main card of UFC 275 we saw a rematch of the fight of the year in 2020. Former strawweight champions Zhang Weili (22-3) and Joanna Jedrzejczyk (16-5) battled it out for the second time and they once again didn’t disappoint.

Just after the opening bell at UFC 275, these two were throwing heat. It didn’t feel like a new fight. To me, it more felt like round six from their first fight. However, there was a new wrinkle to this fight and that was the grappling of Zhang Weili.

Weili was able to use takedowns in the first round to secure some dominant positions. When she had Jedrzejczyk on the ground, Weili was blasting her with vicious elbows. It was clear that in the grappling exchanges, Jedrzejczyk was overpowered by Weili.

In the second round, they went right back to striking and throwing everything they had. Out of no where, Weili spun and landed a flush spinning backfist to Jedrzejczyk that sent her crashing to the canvas. A devastating win and a massive statement for Zhang Weili at UFC 275.

What’s next after UFC 275?

This is one of those occasions where we already know exactly what comes next. After this devastating knockout win, Zhang Weili is going to be fighting for the title next. She will try to become strawweight champion for a second time when she takes on Carla Esparza.

Weili lost her UFC title to Rose Namajunas. She also lost the rematch to Namajunas. Namajunas then lost to Carla Esparza which made her 0-2 against the current champion. So, conventional wisdom would say that Carla Esparza should be the big favorite right?

I mean she’s defeated “Thug” Rose twice and Rose defeated Weili twice. However, this is one of those times I think the MMA match is 100% wrong. Not trying to disrespect Carla Esparza here, but nothing about her string of wins or her title win at UFC 274 wows me.

I’m just not very impressed, but perhaps I should be considering the wins she has. However, I’m very impressed with Zhang Weili. I think that Weili should be a sizable favorite when her and Esparza meet and I think that she would be.

Don’t be surprised if history repeats itself. Esparza defeated Namajunas to become the UFC’s first strawweight champion. However, she was steamrolled by Jedrzejczyk in her first title defense. I wouldn’t be shocked and I almost expect Weili to do the same.

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