This past Saturday night on the main card of UFC 288, we saw a pivotal matchup in the strawweight division. Former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade (24-11) was back as she took on top contender Yan Xiaonan (17-3).
Yan Xiaonan looked like a bonafide title contender out of the gate with the UFC. She won her first six fights and looked prime for a title shot. However, after that six-fight winning streak, she dropped back-to-back fights which set her back.
A win over Mackenzie Dern led her to this fight with Andrade and she was looking to take full advantage of this big opportunity. From the jump, Xiaonan was in control of this fight. She was fighting long and her speed was a huge problem for Jessica Andrade in the early exchanges.
Andrade was chasing her with looping left hooks and eventually, Xiaonan caught her clean. A huge right straight put Andrade down. A few follow up shots later and Yan Xiaonan scored the massive knockout win over the former UFC champion.
UFC needs to book Zhang Weili – Yan Xiaonan
With this win, there’s no question as to what should be next. Yan Xiaonan needs to fight for the strawweight title. At the moment, there’s no clear challenger for the champion Zhang Weili. There had been whispers of Amanda Lemos, but Lemos was stopped by Andrade who just got flattened by Xiaonan.
With the win, Xiaonan has leaped ahead of Lemos in the rankings as well. The UFC has a golden opportunity to book a fight that would be massive for China. The promotion has never had an all-Chinese main event and they have the opportunity to do it for the strawweight title.
Dana White told Yan Xiaonan that he would try to book the fight in China. If the promotion could pull it off, it would be massive. Weili and Xiaonan are superstars in their home country. It would be a massive fight for both fighters and it would be huge for the UFC’s presence in China. There’s no question this will be next, it’s just a matter of when and where.