This past Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 292, the strawweight title was on the line. Zhang Weili (24-3) was looking to successfully start her second reign as strawweight champion as she took on dangerous power puncher Amanda Lemos (13-3-1).
Heading into this fight, the general thought was that Lemos would have to catch Weili with something big to win the fight. When you look at their skillsets overall, Zhang Weili has more tools. However, Lemos has serious power and she’s incredibly explosive. You saw her explosiveness in the first round.
While Weili was dominating things, Lemos exploded into a d’arce choke and nearly had the champion in a position where she would have to go to sleep or tap. However, Weili stayed composed and got out. Throughout the rest of the fight, Lemos had very little success.
In the fourth round, Weili’s pace slowed down and the fight stayed on the feet. Lemos was able to land some big shots and won that round on one of the judges scorecards. However, she was dropped to start the fifth and never got anything else going ultimately resulting in a lopsided decision loss at UFC 292.
What’s next after UFC 292?
Make no mistake about it, Amanda Lemos is one of the best and most dangerous strawweights in the world. However, she’s just not on the same level as Zhang Weili and that showed on Saturday night. She needs a little more work before she’s ready to challenge her for the title again.
So, who should she face next? Well, it’s pretty clear that Zhang Weili is going to fight either Yan Xiaonan or Tatiana Suarez next. In looking at the division and who Lemos has already fought, I think whoever doesn’t get the title shot would be a great fight for Lemos.
Whether it’s Xiaonan or Suarez, both fighters would be a big test for Lemos and it would keep her right in the title picture. That’s the direction I would go in if I was the UFC.