Zhang Weili Beats Carla Esparza to Become the Women’s 115-pound U.F.C. Champion Again
Zhang Weili: “Carla Esparza had very little defense from me.” Photo: Carla Esparza
The women’s 115-pound world champion Carla Esparza is back in action in Rio de Janeiro with Zhang Weili in the main event Saturday night. As always, Esparza is the toughest opponent in the women’s division and will be fighting hard and deep in the first-round contest against her, which will be broadcast live on ESPN 4.
After knocking out Liz Carmouche, the No. 3 WPT-ranked Zhang Weili (14-2, 5) has gone on to win two fights in a row. The most recent win came this past weekend on a controversial decision over Liz Carmouche in Las Vegas. Zhang knocked Carmouche out by a very close split decision and now takes on the winner of the first-round matchup between Esparza and No. 8-ranked Lorena Ochoa (4-0).
Zhang Weili has had her fair share of success in the UFC’s women’s 145-pound division in the past. While she will be fighting in her fifth-straight UFC event, Zhang has won eight of those nine fights by knockout.
One of her signature wins came against Valentina Shevchenko when she submitted the Russian by scores of 28-28 and 29-28. This win came with Zhang’s third straight fight in a row to make the women’s 125-pound division.
From her first outing in April, Zhang has gone 3-0 before moving up to 125 pounds in the year of 2014. Zhang made her debut in the division on April 18 when she scored a TKO victory over Roxanne Modafferi. Four months later, Zhang returned to win three straight fights; two in a row against Valentina Shevchenko and another against Holly Holm.
Esparza is the No. 3 ranked WPT fighter in the division after winning