"My name is Zhang Weili. I am from China. Remember me.”
As the words reverberated through the colossal Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre arena in Guangdong Province, China 18,000 cheering Chinese stood up as one to honor their new UFC Strawweight World Champion.
Zhang shocked the martial arts world with an electrifying 41-second victory over former champion Jessica Andrade of Brazil who was tied for the most wins by a woman in UFC history with 11.
Zhang herself posted her 20th consecutive victory but with only four under the UFC banner.
Andrade charged forward at the start of their world title bout. But Zhang kept her at bay with powerful kicks to the inner part of her lead left leg as well as with stinging jabs.
Andrade continued to move forward as Zhang backpedaled out of harm’s way. Unaware or uncaring of Zhang’s power Andrade continued to move forward almost recklessly.
Andrade then pushed Zhang into the cage. With Andrade trying to clinch Zhang unloaded three vicious elbows to the head. Stung by the blows Andrade loosened her grip on Zhang’s torso.
Zhang then turned to Muay Thai kickboxing, grabbed Andrade by the back of the head and pulled her face downward as she kneed her head and body in combination with her stinging elbows.
A staggered Andrade stepped backwards on wobbly legs. Zhang pursued with a series of left and right combinations which missed.
A straight right to the face of Andrade finally connected sending the senseless Brazilian crashing into the cage wall. Andrade then fell to her right side defenseless. Zhang was on top of her immediately to start a vicious ground and pound attack.
The referee recognized that Andrade was beaten and waved off Zhang less than a minute into the first round.
Zhang ran forward and executed a cartwheel. Jumped out screaming in joy then vaulted atop the cage to celebrate her victory with her countrymen.
China had its first UFC World Champion. She was a woman and her name is Zhang Weili.
It’s a name that MMA fans will surely remember.
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