The upcoming UFC 281 event on 12th November has just been added with a second title clash as Carla Esparza, the reigning UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion, will be seen in action against Weili Zhang on the undercard.
A mouth watering Nov 12 fight card at the Madison Square Garden, headlined by the much awaited UFC Middleweight Championship bout between Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira, will now also see Esparza making the first defense of her second title reign against former champion Zhang.
The initial report was made by Ariel Helwani, claiming that the UFC was in the works to make the fight happen and a follow up confirmation from Chris Presnell stated that both parties have nodded to the bout.
I’ve got confirmation that both sides have signed the contract for Carla Esparza vs. Zhang Weili at #UFC281 Nov. 12 in New York. Ariel Helwani first reported the fight was in the works for this event. pic.twitter.com/xDhryPtKFb
— Chris Presnell (@mmaecosystem) August 17, 2022
The inaugural UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion, Esparza embarked on her second title reign back in May after defeating Rose Namajunas in their rematch via split decision at UFC 274. The 34-year-old ‘Cookie Monster’ is currently on a six fight win streak, which includes wins over Alexa Grasso and Michelle Waterson.
After two back to back setbacks against Namajunas which ended her maiden Strawweight title reign, Zhang returned to winning ways in the Joanna Jędrzejczyk rematch at UFC 275 in June. The Chinese fighter had won the tite against Jéssica Andrade at UFC Fight Night 157 in 2019 August and made one title defense against Jędrzejczyk at UFC 248- a fight dubbed by many as the greatest fight in women’s MMA.
Below here are the confirmed fights at UFC 281:
- UFC Middleweight Championship Main Event: Israel Adesanya (C) vs. Alex Pereira
- UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship Carla Esparza (C) vs. Zhang Weili
- Lightweight: Dustin Poirier vs. Michael Chandler
- Light Heavyweight: Dominick Reyes vs. Ryan Spann
- Women’s Flyweight: Molly McCann vs. Erin Blanchfield
- Featherweight: Mike Trizano vs. Seung Woo Choi
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