UFC 281: Carla Esparza vs Zhang Weili LIVE Replay Coverage, Result, Winner

The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s female strawweight elites, Carla Esparza andZhang Weiliwill face each other this Saturday, November 12 at UFC 281 from inside the Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.

What a wild and weird ride it’s been for “The Cookie Monster.” Joanna Jedrzejczyk stole her title and sent her to the “Prelims” in 2015, and spread he did not recover immediately. It was not until 2019 that spread began her current win streak, fighting every step up the rankings until she somehow defeated Rose Namajunas for the second time in the strangest (generous term) title fight of all time. It’s rare that a single performance can recover a fighter from back-to-back losses to a title fight. It’s especially weird when you consider that strawweight is actually a solid division with multiple contenders – it’s not women’s bantamweight! However, after seeing Weili throw Jedrzejczyk around like a sack of potatoes and then leave her cold, there was only one option for the next title shot.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each woman:

Carla Esparza

Record: 19-6
key victories: Rose Namajunas (UFC 274, TUF 20 Finale), Marina Rodriguez (UFC Fight Island 3), Alexa Grasso (UFC Fight Night 149), Yan Xiaonan (UFC Vegas 27), Michelle Waterson (UFC 249)
key defeats: Tatiana Suarez (UFC 228), Claudia Gadelha (UFC 225), Joanna Jedrzejczyk (UFC 185)
The key to victory: spread he deserves a lot of credit for getting back to the top of the ladder. Although he definitely made some improvements to his boxing game, the skill of spread to chain fight and control his opponent on the mat is responsible for most of his victories.

Let’s get one thing out of the way right away: Zhang Weili don’t play that shit. There’s no way that Weili stay behind and actively choose not to seek your advantage as Namajunas did. Esparza is going to have to walk through fire here, because that heat will come at her.

Fortunately, hope is not lost. Weili he has immense physical gifts, but tends to rely heavily on his strength and athleticism. In his rematch with Namajunas, this wore “Magnum” down in the championship rounds, resulting in an extended top control time for “Thug Rose”.

Esparza has to accept that he is likely to lose some trades early wrestling, but it’s okay if Zhang keep fighting. Over time, the tide can turn, and a single period of superior control could really drain some of the sting from Weili.

Zhang Weili

Record: 21-3
key victories: Joanna Jedrzejczyk (UFC 275, UFC 248), Jessica Andrade (UFC Fight Night 157), Tecia Torres (UFC 235), Jessica Aguilar (UFC Fight Night 141), Danielle Taylor (UFC 227)
key defeats: Rose Namajunas (UFC 261, UFC 268)
The key to victory: Weili it’s a horror. She does one camp with Henry Cejudo and company, and suddenly she’s throwing around Francis Ngannou and putting on a genuinely excellent chain match against “Joanna Violencia,” the best counter-punch fighter in strawweight history? She’s unprecedented and amazing, but hopefully her takedown defense is also spiked.

As mentioned, Weili is going to accompany spread. She is not a passive fighter, nor should she be. Fighters are less effective when forced to shoot from too far or from behind, which will likely be Esparza’s situation after some connections from the Chinese athlete.

Despite some huge technical and athletic advantages, Weili still cannot be neglected. If he’s just chasing big right hands, Esparza definitely has the skills to squat down and put her on the mat. That’s exhausting, and going back to work is just a misuse of his energy.

A little patience will go a long way. Use that side kick, target the midsection, and let the knockout come naturally.

Carla Esparza vs Zhang Weili LIVE

The strawweight title is on the line!

spread she will likely continue to be the underdog in title fights. She really was an afterthought in the title picture until history and her winning streak almost forced the second Namajunas fight. Now she has the belt, but public opinion hasn’t exactly changed. Fortunately, that’s not her job: Zhang Weili it’s enough of a challenge. Still, I think even the most jaded fight fan would grudgingly offer respect to a seven-fight win streak capped by straight wins over Namajunas and Weili.

That’s hard to argue with.

Secondly, Weili has the opportunity to become a two-time champion. Stop spread it returns her to her pre-Namajunas pedestal, and that rubber match is not yet on the horizon. In a moment, Weili He was also in talks to head to Flyweight and challenge for a second title, so maybe that’s another option that opens up again.

Otherwise, Amanda Lemos is apparently waiting for the winner.

Tags: Carla Esparza, Carla Esparza vs. Zhang Weili, UFC 281, Zhang Weili Last modified: November 11, 2022

UFC 281: Carla Esparza vs Zhang Weili LIVE Replay Coverage, Result, Winner