UFC returns to mainland China for the second time this Saturday at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre in Shenzhen, China where UFC strawweight champion Jessica Andrade (20-6-0) will put her title on the line against the rising Chinese MMA star Weili Zhang (19-1-0).
Weili Zhang made her UFC debut a year ago and during that time she has compiled a UFC record of 3-0. In her last fight at UFC 235, she defeated Tecia Torres via unanimous decision. Despite being in the UFC for such a short time, she is no newbie to the sport of MMA. She has competed in 20 Mixed Martial Arts fight.
She made her MMA debut back in 2013 against Meng Bo at CMMAL, where she lost the fight in the second round via submission. But that is the sole loss of her MMA career and ever since she has been riding on an eighteen-fight winning streak.
However, this is the first time Zhang is fighting for a world title and her opponent Jessica Andrade is coming off of a terrific second-round KO win over Rose Namajunas. She is also riding on a four-fight winning streak, where she defeated the likes of Karolina Kowalkiewicz, Tecia Torres and Claudia Gadhela. This is going to be an extremely tough fight for Zhang who will be hoping to become China’s first UFC world champion.
Ahead of the fight, Zhang gave an exclusive interview to Parvin Dabas, founder of The MMA India Show, where she talked about her upcoming fight. She said via a translator that the opportunity to fight for the title is dream come true moment for her and she can’t wait to show her skills on fight night.
Not only Zhang has to face a tough opponent in Andrade, but this is also going to be her first five-round fight inside the UFC, which means she will have to be in the absolute best shape of her career. However, Zhang wasn’t worried about it as she said that she has the gas tank to go ten rounds inside the Octagon, so five rounds will be an easy task for her.
Zhang also wasn’t concerned about the gap in experience between the two fighters. Zhang has been in the UFC for only a year, whereas Andrade made her UFC debut back in 2013.
“Well, I have 19 straight wins now……..I have fought a lot of different fighters with a lot of different styles…so this isn’t going to be a problem for me…I am hungry to be a champion, I am more hungry than her,” Zhang said. (via a translator)
Apart from that, Zhang took her time to reveal the reason why she took on Martial Arts as a career. She said she was born in Heibei province, which is the birthplace of Yang-style Taichi.
“I was born in Heibei province, which is the origin place of Yang-style Taichi, so me as a kid worship those heroes and masters……I also took up Chinese traditional Kung-fu when I was young……,” She said.
She also revealed that Ronda Rousey is her role model and credited her for making women’s MMA popular.
“The first time I saw her fight, I thought she was so amazing ……I didn’t know how she can be so powerful and I wanted to be like her. She’s become my leader in my whole career.
Weili Zhang concluded the interview by saying that she is a big fan of Indian culture and watches every single Bollywood movie.
“I have never been to India before, but I really love and appreciate Indian culture and I love Indian movies and watch every single one of them released here. If I get a chance to visit India, I would like to visit New Delhi
“I watched Dangal a few times and loved the movie……….so much positive energy [from the movie]” Weili Zang concluded.
It’s no secret that Bollywood movies have recently been dominating in the Chinese market, especially Aamir Khan’s movie. His movie Dangal earned a record-breaking $190 million in China.
The event will be taking place this Saturday, August 31st, 2019, from the Universiade Sports Centre in Shenzhen, China and will be telecasted live on Sony Six 2, Sony Six HD 2 and Sony LIV.