Zhang Weili Beats Yan Xiaonan at UFC 300 in Women’s Strawweight Title Fight

The two competitors faced off in Las Vegas for UFC’s first-ever all-Chinese championship fight

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1:30 PM HKT, Sun April 14, 2024 1 mins read

Making history at T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas as the first all-Chinese UFC title fight, the stakes were high for Zhang Weili and Yan Xiaonan at UFC 300 on Saturday, April 13th. In the end, Zhang prevailed, retaining her title after a tense fight. Yan appeared to briefly lose consciousness in Round 1, yet managed to mount a spirited comeback in Round 3 and 4. Nevertheless, Zhang maintained control in the final rounds, and walked away with her title in hand.

On Wednesday’s UFC Media Day, Zhang commented the fight “means so much for the MMA sport’s development and growth in China.” This all-Chinese fight in particular has been spiking interest in the sport in China.

Before the fight, in interviews with other pro MMA fighters, the predicted winner of the fight was unanimously Zhang Weili. Many veteran UFC fighters attributed their predictions to Zhang Weili’s superior ground game with her wrestling.

However, Zhang was impressed with Yan’s physicality, and commented that her competitor has had a lot of growth, “especially in her strength, as well as her grappling, on the ground, everything.”

Yan came off back-to-back wins over Mackenzie Dern at UFC 211 in October 2022, followed by a knockout of Jessica Andrade at UFC 288 in May 2023.

Hailing from Handan, Hebei province, Zhang Weili, 34, is China’s first-ever UFC champion. She won her strawweight title in 2019 through a TKO of the then-champion Andrade in just 42 seconds with a home audience of more than 10,000 spectators in Shenzhen. In April 2021, Zhang lost her belt/title to Rose Namajunas at UFC 261, but in November 2022, Zhang regained her title as champion by beating Carla Esparza at UFC 281.

Yan Xiaonan, also 34, from Shenyang, Liaoning province, is the first Chinese female fighter signed by UFC and one of the pioneers of mixed martial arts (MMA) in China. Her first round knockout win over Andrade at UFC 288 in May 2023 launched her into the top spot on UFC’s women’s strawweight rankings.

Banner image via UFC.

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