One more obstacle stands between Weili Zhang and history: Jessica Andrade. The once-beaten Black Tiger Fight Club representative will attempt to become the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s first-ever Chinese champion when she challenges Andrade for the undisputed women’s strawweight title in the UFC Fight Night 157 headliner on Saturday at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre in Shenzhen, China.
Zhang has rattled off 19 consecutive wins since she lost a two-round decision to Meng Bo in her professional MMA debut on Nov. 9, 2013. The 30-year-old joined the UFC roster a little more than a year ago and proceeded to defeat former King of the Cage champion Danielle Taylor, onetime World Series of Fighting titleholder Jessica Aguilar and “The Ultimate Fighter 20” quarterfinalist Tecia Torres in succession. Zhang has secured 16 of her 19 career victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission.
Cover Photo: MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News (Getty Images)
Brazilian buzzsaw: 5 Things You Should Know About Jessica Andrade
Weili Zhang punches Danielle Taylor. Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC (Getty Images)
Andrade laid claim to the 115-pound crown on May 11, when she knocked out Rose Namajunas with a vicious second-round slam at UFC 237. A pillar of the Parana Vale Tudo camp, the 5-foot-2 Brazilian dynamo enters her first title defense on the strength of a four-fight winning streak. Other notable victories over Raquel Pennington, Jessica Penne, Joanne Calderwood, Claudia Gadelha and Karolina Kowalkiewicz bolster the stellar Andrade resume.
UFC Fight Night “Andrade vs. Zhang”—which streams live to ESPN+ at 6 a.m. ET/3 a.m. PT—also features a welterweight co-main event slotting Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos opposite Jingliang Li, a light heavyweight confrontation matching Da Un Jung with Khadis Ibragimov, a welterweight affair pitting Kenan Song against Derrick Krantz and a women’s flyweight tilt pairing Mizuki Inoue with Yanan Wu. ESPN+ will also stream the entire undercard at 3 a.m. ET/12 a.m. PT.
MMA immortal: Reflecting on the Career of Georges St-Pierre
Jessica Andrade punches Claudia Gadelha. Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC (Getty Images)
Away from the blinding spotlight of the UFC, the Legacy Fighting Alliance organization on Friday will bring LFA 74 to the Riverside Municipal Auditorium in Riverside, California. The main event sees Jared Vanderaa collide with Renan Ferreira in a three-round battle that could put either man in position to vie for the promotion’s vacant heavyweight championship in the not-too-distant future. LFA 74 “Vanderaa vs. Ferreira” airs live on AXS-TV at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.