Jessica Andrade and Weili Zhang fight Saturday during UFC Fight Night 157 at the Shenzhen Universade Sports Centre Arena.
Jessica Andrade enters this fight with a 20-6 record and has won 35 percent of her fights by submission. Andrade has won seven of her last eight fights and is coming off a May win over Rose Namajunas. Andrade is averaging 6.58 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 52 percent. Andrade is averaging 3.20 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 59 percent. Andrade is fresh off winning the UFC Women's Strawweight Championship and has a chance to win five straight fights for the first time since going 5-2 in 2012. Andrade was getting beat up in her last bout, but she ended up slamming Namajunas on her head and knocking her out cold. It was find of a fluky victory and more of a mistake from Thug Rose more than anything, but you take wins however they come in this business. Andrade is a pressure fighter who usually overwhelms her opponent with constant wild punches and she’s shown to have true KO pop in her strikes. Andrade is violent standing up and has a great ground and pound, and while she’s known for her striking, she also has 33 takedowns on the UFC level and seven career submissions. Andrade has the upper body strength to get a fight wherever she wants it, and she showed that in her last bout with a KO slam. This will be Andrade’s first career fight in China.
Weili Zhang enters this fight with a 19-1 record and has won 47 percent of her fights by knockout. Zhang has won each of her last 19 fights, and she’s coming off a March win over Tecia Torres. Zhang is averaging 5.49 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 47 percent. Zhang is averaging 1.78 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 31 percent. Zhang is coming off a comfortable decision victory where she absolutely dominated Torres at UFC 235 and is now 3-0 under the UFC banner. Zhang hasn’t lost since her pro debut back in 2013, and she’s finished 16 of the bouts during this 19-fight winning streak. Zhang has a complete fighting style, as she has a background in kickboxing and is just as effective with her knees, and she has a forward, aggressive approach in her standup where she unleashes combinations and a relentless gas tank. In her last fight, Zhang landed 236 total strikes at 58 percent, so she’s going to let her hands go and be the aggressor. Zhang uses her athleticism for her ground game and has produced submissions in two of her last four fights. When gaining top position, Zhang isn’t afraid to drop relentless elbows and finish the fight. This will be Zhang’s 14th career fight in China, her birthplace.
I can understand why Andrade is the favorite here, as she has the name and the power edge. Andrade has a little bit of Cyborg to her with the power in her hands as well as her ability to throw her opponents around and get the fight wherever she pleases. With that said, Zhang is willing to stand in there and trade strikes, and her work-rate is not easy to match. Zhang is also the more creative striker with her elbows and legs, and her technique is extremely underrated. One mistake and Zhang will make her opponent pay. Zhang also has an edge on the canvas due to her quickness and improved BJJ over the years. Having this fight in China also has to be taken into consideration, as the atmosphere is going to be electric for Zhang.
Overall, we’re getting the better fighter at plus money. Zhang is the new champion.