The UFC 248 co-main event was the setting where the promotion’s strawweight title was up for grabs, in what should be considered an instant classic between the champ, Weili Zhang, and the challenger, Joanna Jedrzejczyk! This fight was epic! Tons of volume, tons of power, tons of toughness, and tons of cardio were all on display! There is no question that both fighters left it all in the Octagon tonight, in what is now in the running for Fight of the Year. Watching live, it’s easy to see how anyone could lose track of judging the rounds, but when it was all said and done, it was Weili Zhang who took the narrow split decision to retain her title. Both woman should be quite proud of their performances tonight!
The fighters came out exchanging leg kicks back and forth. JJ started to find a home for her right cross. Zhang started to find her groove after landing a stinging right hand of her own. JJ started to fight off of her Blackfoot after feeling the power of Zhang coming back her way. She kept throwing though, but the power advantage was clearly on the side of the champ.
The kickboxing bout continued into the second frame. Gorgeous combinations were coming from both sides of the equation. JJ kept finishing her punches with a low kick. Zhang shot in for a takedown, but JJ was able to fend it off and land some strikes in the clinch. Zhang responded with some elbows on the inside, causing a cut on the hairline of JJ. Back in open space, Zhang blasted JJ with a hard right hand that sent her backpedalling. JJ settled down and got back to her combination striking.
Zhang started the third act aggressively, landing heat in the pocket. JJ continued to mix in her kicks with her punches, while Zhang was more focused on her boxing. From the southpaw stance, JJ started to land a lot more and the output of Zhang slowed down. Zhang scored a set of short lived takedowns, but JJ was adamant about standing up. A massive hematoma formed on the forehead of JJ at this point, but it didn’t stop her from dishing out more punishment.
The exciting back and forth continued into the fourth round. Both fighters were throwing and both fighters were landing. JJ was the one that had more spring in her step, and the one throwing more volume. Blow for blow, neither woman was willing to back down. Zhang started to connect with her counter punches, but JJ kept coming. What a crazy round!
The madness melted over into the final act. Constant combos. Constant exchanges. Zhang landed a savage left hook that caused JJ to start retreat. Despite moving backwards, JJ kept throwing. They were both landing power punches and both eating them like true champions. What an epic fight!