Weili Zhang Blitzes Jessica Andrade, Gives China Its First Champion at UFC Fight Night 157

By: Brian Knapp
Aug 31, 2019

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Weili Zhang needed less than a minute to ensure she would be remembered forever.

The Black Tiger Fight Club star carved up Jessica Andrade with punches, knees and elbows, as she captured the undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s strawweight title in the UFC Fight Night 157 headliner on Saturday at Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre in Shenzhen, China. Zhang (20-1, 4-0 UFC) drew the curtain 42 seconds into Round 1, recording her 20th consecutive victory and becoming the first Chinese champion in UFC history.

Andrade (20-7, 11-5 UFC) engaged the challenger at close range and walked into an ambush. Zhang clipped her with a right hook, invited her into the clinch and cut loose with standing elbows and rapid-fire knee strikes. Andrade stumbled backward, ate more punches and collapsed at the base of the cage, leaving referee Leon Roberts no choice but to intervene on her behalf.

Li Upsets Zaleski dos Santos

China Top Team’s Jingliang Li made the most significant move of his career, as he wiped out former Jungle Fight champion Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos with punches in the third round of their welterweight co-main event. Zaleski dos Santos (21-6, 7-2 UFC) succumbed to blows 4:51 into Round 3, the book closing on his seven-fight winning streak.

Stellar footwork and lateral movement kept Li (17-5, 9-3 UFC) out of danger, and a measured, opportunistic approach did the rest. He decked Zaleski dos Santos with a straight left in the closing seconds of the first round, withstood the Brazilian’s change of pace in the middle stanza and sealed the deal in the third. There, he staggered Zaleski dos Santos with a right uppercut and followed up with punches from both hands, forcing referee John Sharp to call for the stoppage.

Li, 31, has rattled off three straight wins since his February 2018 decision loss to Jake Matthews.

Fast-Rising Kara-France Handles De La Rosa

Tiger Muay Thai export Kai Kara-France extended his winning streak to eight fights and continued to establish himself as a person of interest at 125 pounds, as he took a unanimous decision from Mark De La Rosa in a featured flyweight battle. All three judges scored it for Kara-France (20-7, 3-0 UFC): 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.

De La Rosa (11-3, 2-3 UFC) was slower on the draw for much of the three-round match. Kara-France executed a slam takedown in the first round and floored the Factory X standout with a savage right cross in the second. Perhaps sensing he was down on the scorecards, De La Rosa started to string together punches at the start of Round 3, but saw his momentum stall after eating a body kick. Kara-France pursued him with punches, uncorked a flying knee and followed up with a standing elbow, reclaiming control of the fight.

The 24-year-old De La Rosa has suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time in his career.

Song Tops Krantz on Scorecards

Road Fighting Championship veteran Kenan Song outstruck former Legacy Fighting Alliance champion Derrick Krantz and walked away with a unanimous decision in their three-round welterweight showcase. Song (15-4, 3-1 UFC) swept the scorecards with matching 29-28 marks from the judges.

After a nip-and-tuck first round, Krantz (23-12, 0-2 UFC) appeared to seize control in the second. There, he executed a takedown, piled up points with ground-and-pound, flexed his superiority in the scrambles and even made a pass at a guillotine choke. However, his efforts seemed to light a fuse in Song. The 29-year-old swarmed Krantz with punches at the start of Round 3 and opened multiple cuts, one on the right cheek and another below the left eyebrow. Fatigue ultimately overtook both men, as they sucked wind, waited for time to run out and left their fate to the judges.

Song has won three of his last four bouts.

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Replacement Inoue Edges Wu

Former Deep Jewels champion Mizuki Inoue won for the sixth time in seven appearances, as she eked out a split decision over Yanan Wu in a three-round women’s flyweight feature. All three cageside judges struck 29-28 scorecards, two of them siding with Inoue (14-5, 1-0 UFC).

Wu (10-3, 1-2 UFC) enjoyed success with kicks but was otherwise ineffective. A short-notice replacement for the injured Luana Carolina, Inoue pressed the issue on the feet, relied on superior head movement and incorporated a variety of techniques, from multi-punch combinations and clinch knees to standing elbows. She also freed herself from an attempted guillotine in the second round and denied Wu’s repeated bids for takedowns.

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