The UFC is extremely popular worldwide, yet most of the events still happen in the Americas. But for the first time in history, the UFC will visit Shenzhen, China for UFC fight night Shenzhen Andrade vs Zhang.
It makes sense for UFC to make a push into Asia. After all, it is the largest market in the world. And to please spectators in China, one of their top fighters, Weili Zhang, will be taking on Jessica Andrade, the current UFC Strawweight Champion. The Brazilian is the favourite across the board, so if you are looking for a sportsbook with an edge, you should check out this Heritage Sports Review.
But even so, Jessica Andrade is only a moderate favourite. -170 isn’t a whole lot in the world of fighting, so the people in Las Vegas and at online sportsbooks around the world think that Weili Zhang has a legitimate chance of taking down
Shenzhen Women of War
In Spanish, the UFC is billing this fight as, ‘Women of War,’ which is fitting because this could turn out to be a strawweight battle of the ages. Jessica Andrade is putting her title on the line in a fight far from home. This usually doesn’t happen, the Champ usually gets to fight where they are more comfortable. This makes us think that there is probably an immediate rematch clause.
That said, this is the only real fight available for Andrade. Weili Zhang is the No. 6 contender, which is normally a little too deep into the rankings for a championship fight. But Jessica Andrade recently beat Rose Namajunas and the No. 2 contender, Tatiana Suarez is out with injury. Suarez would be the rightful challenger, given the fact that she is Ranked No. 2 and on a nine-fight win-streak, but alas, she’s hurt.
Nina Ansaroff is No. 3 at Strawweight and Joanna Jedrzejczyk is the No. 4. But Ansaroff recently took a loss to Tatiana Suarez and Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Not only lost to Valentina Shevchenko but has dropped three of her last four fights. So, the fight that makes sense, is Weili Zhang, regardless if the fight was to be held in China, or elsewhere.
Andrade has much more experience inside the octagon. However, she hasn’t experienced the type of power that will be on display by Zhang, in a long time, possibly ever. Zhang has fast, powerful kicks that can chop the legs out from under her opponents. She also has brutal knee and elbow strikes while locked in the clinch. And when it comes to setting the pace or keeping up with the pace set by an opponent, Zhang relentlessly moves and attacks.
My main area of concern for Weili is the fact that she has never been truly battle-tested like Jessica Andrade. We know for a fact that Andrade can weather a physical beating and won’t let frustration. Or the other emotional aspects that come along with getting pelted repeatedly by an opponent throw her too far off her game plan. Weili looks like the physical and mental toughness is there, but we have yet to see it tested.
Another factor for Weili is that she has never faced someone with the skill or punching power and hand-speed of Andrade. She is going to get hit as she has never been hit before, how she handles it is an x-factor. Will she crack and get thrown off her game-plan, or will she weather the storm? This is something that comes with experience, and Andrade has a lot more of it.
When it comes to grappling, Andrade is a BJJ Brown Belt, whereas Zhang is a BJJ Purple Belt. So, the challenger from Hebei, China knows enough Jiu-Jitsu to defend herself on the ground. But the difference between Purple and Brown is usually at least two years of training, so she is at a definitive disadvantage once they go down to the mat.
I believe that Andrade will keep her title, but not without a brutal battle from Zhang at UFC Shenzhen.
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