UFC 235: Weili Zhang and the New Era of Asian Women’s MMA

UFC 235 UFC 210, TUF 27 Finale, TUF 27, Mike Trizano
UFC Octagon Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

With an 18-1 record, Weili Zhang seems to be the next star in Asian women’s MMA. She’ll look to continue her run against the very tough Tecia Torres at UFC 235.

Asia has been home to some of the best female fighters ever. Starting from the legendary Megumi Fujii to all-time-greats like Yuka Tsuji, Asian women have dominated the MMA world. As the decade comes to an end so does the glorious prime of many great Asians. Ayaka Hamasaki, still active and dominating the atomweight division, is nearing 37 and others such as Takayo Hashi have already crossed 40. As the once-stalwarts grow old, younger lions take the center stage. Weili Zhang at UFC 235 will have the opportunity to push the envelope further when she takes on top-10 mainstay Tecia Torres.

Zhang stands with a record of 18-1 (2-0 UFC). She is an exciting fighter and enters the fight with heavy momentum by her side. She has gained a lot of attention in the MMA world after destroying former pound-for-pound queen Jessica Aguilar. This weekend, the China native will have the opportunity to enter the top-10 ranking of the UFC strawweight division. It may not sound like such a big deal in terms of accomplishment, but it has some major significance. As she secures this position, it will be made clear that Asian women have arrived in the UFC. It will mark the beginning of a new era in Asian women’s MMA.

To make this possible, she will have to get past ‘The Tiny Tornado.’  Standing with a record of 10-3, which includes wins over current champion Rose Namajunas and former Invicta FC champion Angela Hill, Torres is one of the few women who has managed to stay relevant in the strawweight division since its inception. She enters the fight at a career low of a two-fight losing streak but that doesn’t stop her from being the favorite entering the fight. A calculated striker and accomplished grappler, Torres is known for eeking out decision wins. She’s very tough and can survive almost everything thrown at her. This is a very important matchup for Torres too. As stated earlier she’s on a two-fight losing streak, and at this point, she cannot afford another loss. The strawweight division is very deep. If pushed down further it’ll be almost impossible for her to get back with the divisional elites.

The two women in past have produced action-packed fights. Mixed with their desire to secure a win, this fight should be a fun one. Wil this be a dawn of a new era or the continuation of an ironclad run is something we’ll come to know at UFC 235.

UFC 235 takes place Saturday, March 2, at the T-Mobile Arena in Nevada. The card airs exclusively on PPV in North America after televised and online prelims, and on BT Sport in the UK. In India, the card airs on Sunday, March 3, live on SONY SIX and SONY SIX HD.


  1. Congrats on your acknowledgment of Yuka Tsuji, She retired before most current fighters even started. Since you seem to know WMMA so well, do you know of any active fighter that has a longer ongoing (current) winning streak or who has finished more fighters than Weili?

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