FightPost MMA Fighter of the Week- Weili Zhang
By James Heaney
It took Weili Zhang just 42 seconds of a Performance of the Night showing to complete her meteoric journey to UFC gold on Saturday night, answering many critics and proving as many doubters wrong.
Ahead of the weekend it felt there was a mixed consensus of whether Zhang was the right fight for Andrade, whether she was deserving of this title shot. Zhang entered the fight a +165 Underdog against the -190 favourite Andrade, the betting lines suggesting that she absolutely deserved the shot.
The fight game is unpredictable and in the sport today, rankings influence the match making but they are not the sole consideration when the UFC plans its events. Zhang entered Saturday having been in the UFC for just over a year, winning her three fights, but arguably not against Top 10 opponents. What that narrative hides though, is the now 20 fight win streak Zhang is on.
What Zhang did on Saturday was absolutely take the opportunity given to her. Not only did she finish Andrade in the first round, she did it in the main event in her home country and importantly for the UFC, in a new market they are looking to build in. A huge market at that.
Earlier this year, the UFC opened “the world’s largest, state-of-the-art MMA training and development facility” in the world in Shanghai. They have an extremely talented and marketable champion they can build around and market to the masses. It’s a win for the sport and a win for the UFC money men. Dana White has already said Zhang’s title defence will be in the USA, although Zhang has reiterated her desire to headline a PPV in China.
In 42 seconds, Zhang finished the former champion, won a bonus, headlined in a new market, attracted praise from Ronda Rousey and Dana White, opened up a division which has many exciting match ups in the works and became an instant star. It was a perfect outcome for Zhang and that is why she is our Fighter Of The Week.