Zhang Weili won the UFC Strawweight title back again with an improvised rare naked choke submission victory over champion Carla Esparza in UFC 281 Co-Main event on Saturday Night at Madison Square Garden in New York, Live On Pay-Per-View.
Weili (23-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) put the audience in a frenzy when she locked in a arm-trapping rear-naked choke forcing Carla Esparza (19-7 MMA, 10-5 UFC) to tap out to win back the UFC Strawweight title at exactly 1:05 of round 2.
The day perhaps wasn’t Esparza’s day as right from the walk out, the audience welcomed her with boos, which mostly seemed due to her choice of Walk out song “I’m Shipping out to Boston”. In reverse Zhang was welcomed and adored by the crowd.
The first round was mostly a back and forth affair with both fighters having their periods of success but it was Weili who had the upper hand in most of the exchanges, connecting the most significant of strikes and most likely won the round.
Esparza went in for the takedown early in the second round and kind of got her wish with Weili landing in her back but was able to scramble and take the back of Esparza. Weili had Esparza’s hands trapped by both legs and both fighters scrambled but eventually Weili locked in the choke and got her tap.
Weili Zhang became the UFC Women’s Strawweight champion for the second time and has now accumulated two straight victories, this and her impressive win over Joanna Jedrzejczyk back in June. Weili Zhang remains the only Chinese champion in the UFC and has only lost to former champion Rose Namajunas.
UFC 281 Full Fight Video – Carla Esparza Vs Weili Zhang Highlights – November 12th, 2022