UFC 261: Rose Namajunas vs Weili Zhang Picks, Odds, and Predictions

UFC 261: Rose Namajunas vs Weili Zhang Picks, Odds, and Predictions Photo by Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Weili Zhang vs. Rose Namajunas

Saturday, April 24, 2021 at 10:00 PM (VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena)

The Line: Rose Namajunas +175 / Weili Zhang -205 -- Over/Under: Click to Get Latest Betting Odds

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Weili Zhang and Rose Namajunas fight Saturday in UFC 261 at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.

Weili Zhang enters this fight with a 21-1 record and has won 48 percent of her fights by knockout. Zhang has won each of her last 21 fights, and she’s coming off a March (2020) win over Joanna Jędrzejczyk. Zhang is averaging 6.38 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 45 percent. Zhang is averaging 1.26 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 23 percent. Zhang is coming off a split decision win at UFC 248 where she landed 170 total strikes, 40 percent of her significant strikes and produced one takedown. Zhang is now 5-0 under the UFC banner and still hasn’t lost a fight since her pro debut back in late 2013. Zhang has a complete fighting style, as she has a background in kickboxing and is just as effective with her knees, and her constant pressure, aggressive approach in her standup where she unleashes combinations and a relentless gas tank. Zhang is a purple belt in BJJ and is one of the better strikers in the sport. Zhang has a killer instinct that you don’t see all the time on the woman’s side of this sport, and she’s produced finishes in five of her last eight fights. This will be Zhang’s first career fight in Florida.

Rose Namajunas enters this fight with a 9-4 record and has won 56 percent of her fights by submission. Namajunas has won seven of her last 10 fights and is coming off a July (2020) win over Jéssica Andrade. Namajunas is averaging 4.13 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 40 percent. Namajunas is averaging 1.91 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 53 percent. Namajunas is coming off a split decision win at UFC 251 where she landed 82 total strikes and 34 percent of her significant strikes. Namajunas got revenge on Andrade and the bout earned fight of the night honors. Namajunas looks to win back-to-back fights for the first time since 2017-18. Namajunas is an aggressive pressure fighter who likes to stay busy by working the jab and mixing in kicks. Namajunas has just one knockout victory under her belt, but she’s proven to be somebody who can hold her own standing up and has a very technical approach to her attack where she picks her spots well. Namajunas is also proven on the canvas and has creative submission holds where she can end a fight at any moment. Namajunas has used the rear-naked choke four times to finish fights and has become much more comfortable on the ground. This will be Namajunas’ second career fight in Florida.

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Namajunas is a nasty striker with a black belt in Taekwondo and Karate, and she has the reach advantage in this fight. There’s a path to Namajunas pulling off the upset. With that said, Zhang is a fighter I’ve been high on before she started to gain all of this hype and she’s done nothing to make you want to jump off the bandwagon. Zhang’s stand up striking is too polished and her ability to switch stances could be the difference here. Either way, I’m not betting against Zhang, as she’s been too consistent up to this point.

Price is a bit steep, but I’ll lay the juice with Zhang anyway and probably throw it in a parlay or two.

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Randy’s Pick Weili Zhang -205

The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a Sports Chat Place site consensus.

Mitch's Take...

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