After retaining her title at UFC 300, what’s next for Zhang Weili?

MMA: UFC 300 - Weili vs Xiaonan
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday night in the co-main event of UFC 300, we saw a historic title fight for the strawweight title. For the first time, two Chinese fighters were fighting for a championship as Zhang Weili (25-3) was looking to defend her title against Yan Xiaonan (17-4).

When the first first started on Saturday night, I was incredibly impressed with Yan. She looked big and fast which were things that were bothering Weili on the feet. Throughout the majority of the first round, it felt like Yan was going to take the round. Then, Weili moved to her wrestling. She was able to get a takedown and ended up getting the back of Yan.

She sunk in a choke and had it deep until the bell rang. Yan was passing out as the bell rang and looked off-balance as she tried to get up. Five more seconds and the fight would’ve been stopped. In the second round, Weili got a takedown and nearly finished the fight by TKO. These two near-finishes took a lot out of Weili.

Yan controlled the third round and Weili was looking very vulnerable. The momentum was shifting and then Weili caught her second wind and moved back to her wrestling. She was able to land takedowns and controlled the championship rounds coasting to a win at UFC 300 and a successful defense of her strawweight title.

What’s next after UFC 300?

Right now, the UFC is running out of compelling challengers at strawweight for Zhang Weili. In looking at the top ten in the division, she’s either defeated everyone or the contenders that makeup the list don’t feel compelling in terms of a potential matchup. However, there appears to be one major challenger and it’s the clear fight to make.

The promotion needs to book Weili against the undefeated Tatiana Suarez. Suarez and Yan were the two top contenders ahead of this title fight and the promotion went with Yan. Suarez was supposed to fight Amanda Lemos but that fight was scrapped due to a Suarez injury. I don’t even think they should mess with re-booking that one.

Go ahead and book the title fight between Weili and Suarez without risking a Suarez loss. I think this is what you’ll see the UFC do and I expect this title fight to happen either in the late summer or early fall months depending on Suarez’s health.

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