Zhang Weili says UFC 281 title victory played out exactly as expected, admits she “felt nothing” from Esparza’s punches

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Zhang Weili defeated Carla Esparza by way of a second-round submission at UFC 281 to capture the strawweight championship.

Zhang Weili was not impressed with Esparza’s punching power at UFC 281.


With the victory, Weili becomes a two-time UFC strawweight champion, having previously captured the title in 2019 after knocking out Jessica Andrade.

During the UFC 281 post-fight press conference, Zhang discussed the victory over Esparza.

This fight played out exactly what we expected. Me, as a fighter, if you’re a wrestler: OK, let’s wrestle. If you’re a jiu-jitsu player: OK, let’s roll. If you’re a striker: Let’s fight in the standup. That’s how I get improved and prove myself against the best of the best. When she landed a couple of punches, I felt nothing, and that’s why I smiled. There was completely no threat from her striking, and that also made more relaxed, more calm.” she said.

Weili is not picky about who she fights next, she says she’ll take whoever the UFC throws her way.

They’re all good fighters. I’ll just see what the UFC wants. I’ll be waiting for the call and discuss with them which one is better for me.”

A front-runner to face Weili next for the UFC strawweight championship is number-three-ranked Amanda Lemos. The Brazilian is coming off a TKO victory over Marina Rodriguez and made it known following the win that she expects the next title shot.

UFC 281 took place on November 12, 2022, from Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, United States.

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