Two years after becoming the UFC’s first Chinese champion, Zhang Weili (21-2) has carved out a path of superstardom, earning gold one year after entering the UFC and taking fight of the year honors against Joanna Jedrzejczyk last year.
In the co-main event Saturday night at UFC 261 from Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, Rose Namajunas (11-4) changed everything with a stunning left head kick to knockout Weili and claim the strawweight title.
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After the head kick, Weili argued the stoppage. She maintained that stance with Joe Rogan after the fight, adding that she was “still conscious,” so she felt the fight should have continued.
Namajunas and Weili quickly opened the first, sticking and moving with huge heavy shots before the massive head kick for the win. For Namajunas, the knockout follows a path of redemption for the former champ, who was dropped on her head by Jessica Andrade in May 2019, suffering a knockout loss in just her second title defense. Namajunas won a split decision against Andrade in a return match in July 2020 before earning just her second title shot against Weili Saturday night.
For Weili, this was just the second loss of her career after she dropped her debut back in 2013.