Chinese MMA icon Zhang Weili will enter the Octagon on June 11 for a rematch with Polish phenom Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 275 in Singapore. The fight, part of the main card for the event, will see the strawweight athletes trading blows for the first time since March 2020, when the two squared off at UFC 248 in Zhang’s first title defense.
Zhang, of course, is the former (cue Bruce Buffer voice) UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion (of the world!), securing the title after defeating Jessica Andrade at UFC Fight Night 157 in Shenzhen, China. She ultimately relinquished the championship in her second title defense against American Rose Namajunas in April of 2021, losing the fight by knockout after getting caught with a nasty kick to the head.
At UFC 268 in November 2021, Zhang again faced Namajunas to reclaim the title of Women’s Strawweight Champion. In a rebuke to her previous performance against the American mixed martial artist, Zhang made it all five rounds, although she ultimately lost by split decision.
Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk ahead of their June 11 rematch at UFC 275. Screengrab via YouTube
While Zhang’s last two UFC appearances have disappointed Chinese MMA fans, they have reason to be excited about her rematch against Jedrzejczyk.
The last time Zhang and Jedrzejczyk met in the Octagon, the fight was hailed by many pundits as “one of the greatest MMA fights in history.” Following the athletes’ first encounter at UFC 248, MMA writer Alexander K. Lee penned the following:
“The preview for this fight pitted Zhang’s power vs. Jedrzejczyk’s precision. Explosive finishing ability vs. death by a thousand cuts. The new champ vs. the old guard. And after 25 minutes, we all knew we had seen the best vs. the best.”
In USA Today’s MMA Junkie, Jedrzejczyk’s coach Mike Brown has predicted a similarly entertaining fight at UFC 275, noting the pace will likely be faster this time because the fighters will only be slinging fists for three rounds (as opposed to five the last time they met).
“Everyone gives it their all in training for a three or a five. The only thing different is the pace. This allows you to put on the gas a little bit earlier and go higher volume right from the jump, so that’s what I expect. I expect action from bell to bell,” said Brown. “You have two confident athletes that 100% believe in themselves, believe they’re gonna win, and they’re both high-volume strikers that believe in themselves, so I think we’re gonna see fireworks.”
And while the stakes may not be as high as a title fight, both athletes will be hungry for a W: Zhang has dropped her last two UFC appearances and will be looking to avoid a third consecutive loss; Jedrzejczyk, meanwhile, has not competed since falling to Zhang at UFC 248 and is presumably eager to avenge her loss and secure another shot at the title.
Passionate about MMA? Then check out the first episode of our two-part documentary on China’s burgeoning MMA scene, Way of the Warrior, below:
Cover image courtesy of UFC
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