Zhang Weili Sets Striking Record with Dominant UFC Performance

Zhang Weili put on a show at UFC 292, retaining her title and proving that she’s here to stay

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1:54 PM HKT, Mon August 21, 2023 1 mins read

Zhang Weili gave Boston fans something to remember at UFC 292, where she put on a dominant display to retain her strawweight champion title over opponent Amanda Lemos (setting multiple striking records in the process).

Zhang sailed through the five rounds, keeping a balanced pace between tactical wrestling and her unrelenting, sanda-influenced striking style.

At one point in the first round, Lemos managed to snatch up a D’Arce choke that had Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier thinking it could be the end for Zhang — but the champ’s wrestling carried her through, taking her out of the choke and into position to deliver a quick beating on the ground.

The fight went the distance, and Lemos even caught a bit of a second wind in the fourth round, picking up the pace against an increasingly gassed strawweight champion. But in the end it was business as usual for Zhang, who nearly ended the fight with a knockdown in the final round, finishing as the unanimous victor with a scorecard of 50-43, 50-44, and 49-45.

In a post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, Zhang was a class act, speaking through a translator to thank the Boston crowd for their energy.

“My name is Zhang Weili,” she said, switching to English and cupping her hand to her ear to elicit cheers from the crowd. “I’m from China. Do you remember me?”

The match was, as Rogan immediately put it, a dominant performance and a “true exhibition as to why people consider [Zhang] the best pound-for-pound woman in the world.”

Zhang’s performance set multiple new records in women’s MMA — she finished with 296 strikes, blasting past the previous record of 249 held by Valentina Shevchenko.

And with Lemos only connecting 29 times, Zhang also set the record for largest striking differential in women’s MMA by a whopping 267 strikes.

Zhang was a key subject in RADII’s feature documentary, Way of the Warrior, which tracks the emergence and rise of Chinese MMA. Now, she plans to continue that rise, naming the Conor McGregor-backed Tatiana Suarez as a potential challenger.

Some fans, meanwhile, wonder if the UFC might return to China for a championship bout between Zhang and fellow top-tier Chinese fighter Yan Xiaonan.

Cover image via ‘Way of the Warrior’

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Matthew Bossons
Nov 14, 2022
Pour yourself a stiff one, we'll be with you in a minute