Tomorrow night in the co-main event of UFC 268, we will see a rematch for the strawweight title. The champion Rose Namajunas (10-4) is back to defend her title against the former champion, Zhang Weili (21-2).
These two are having an immediate rematch after their first fight back at UFC 261 in April. That night, Namajunas was able to shock the world and became the strawweight champion for the second time. That win snapped a 21-fight winning streak from Zhang Weili.
The win was also Namajunas’ fifth win in her last six fights. The champion’s struggles have never been from a physical standpoint, they’ve always been from a mental standpoint. When Namajunas is in the right frame of mind, she’s proven that she’s the best strawweight in the UFC.
That said, Zhang Weili is going to try and prove that her loss to Namajunas in April was a fluke. Namajunas caught Weili flush with a head kick very early in the first round. We never really got to see these two really go at it. Perhaps we will get a closer fight at UFC 268.
UFC 268 Prediction
I can’t sit here and write that I picked Rose Namajunas to win back at UFC 261. At the time, I really thought that Weili was the cream of the crop at 115 pounds and I didn’t see anyone taking that title from her. However, Namajunas changed everything with one kick.
However, there were glimpses in that short fight that spoke volumes to me. The speed and looseness of Namajunas is something that Weili couldn’t match. While Weili might be the physically stronger fighter, Namajunas is much quicker and loose on the feet.
When these two are striking, I don’t know if Weili is going to be able to beat Namajunas to the punch. If this fight stays at range, I think Namajunas wins a kickboxing match just with straight shots and striking from the outside.
It’ll be interesting to see if the former champion tries to take the fight to the ground at UFC 268. Weili has been training with high level wrestlers like Henry Cejudo so I could see her playing to her physical strength and wrestling.
That said, Namajunas is extremely good with submissions off her back so even if Weili gets her down, it’s no picnic. I think we are going to see a tremendously competitive fight, but I just think that the point advantage on the feet for Namajunas is going to be too much in the end.
Prediction: Rose Namajunas by Split Decision