China has their first UFC champion.
Outside the cage, this will be absolutely massive for the UFC’s business as they expand to that massive market in China. Inside the cage, it was just as impressive.
Jessica Andrade tried to walk her down like she does for everyone, but Weili Zhang was quicker and apparently just as dangerous inside. Weili landed two big punches, and followed up with a barrage of shots from inside the clinch. It only took 42 seconds for the Chinese star to beat a feared knockout artist and win the belt.
Taking that championship was a big win for Zhang, and it’s an even bigger win for the UFC’s wallets.
Li Jingliang looked great on the co-main event, making it 2-0 for the two local stars on the top of the card. While Li has this reputation of always getting rocked on each of his bouts, his defense and footwork was terrific for this contest. Zaleski Dos Santos’ shots kept falling just out of range, and Li hurt him on the shots he were able to land clean. A clean uppercut hurt him and a subsequent flurry got Li the late TKO win to the delight of his home country fans.
- Kai Kara-France impressed on his flyweight bout with Mark De La Rosa. His kicks were just faaaaaast, and coupled with his feints and movements, it was pretty fun to watch. The top 10 flyweight extends his win streak to eight. It has been pretty fun to see him grow from a sub .500 teenager that I used to watch in Hong Kong, to a UFC contender at 26.
- Song Kenan continues to be a fun action fighter, and got another win for China, but he still has a lot of holes to fix in his game. He also tired at the end of their bout.
- Mizuki Inoue overcame a pretty large size disadvantage — she’s normally a 115 lb’er who moved up against Wu Yanan who then badly missed weight at 129 lbs — and won a decision, showing that her technique is more than enough to survive that gap.
- Su Mudaerji had a pretty impressive performance in the prelims. He was very mobile on the feet, and just absolutely picked apart Andre Soukhamthath on the feet. If he shores up his ground game even more, this 23-year-old could be a legitimate prospect for China.
- Although it may not have much of an impact in the rankings, there were fun contests in the prelims for the card. Anthony Hernandez and Da Un Jung both had to go through some adversity on their respective bouts, before getting their submission wins — an anaconda for Hernandez, and a modified guillotine for Jung.