In her first defense of the women’s strawweight title, China’s Weili Zhang had drawn perhaps the toughest challenge in the division. At UFC 248, she took on former champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk — who had set the standard in the weight class, defending the title five times in her own, lengthy reign.
The round started off by both women exchanging leg kicks, and Jedrzejczyk landing a nice right hand. A big right hand landed for Jedrzejczyk again. More big strikes from both women landed inside the pocket. Zhang landed a nice right hand that wobbled Jedrzejczyk a bit. Zhang continued to walk forward but ate a big right hand from Jedrzejczyk. Another right hand connected for Zhang. Zhang caught a Jedrzejczyk kick and responded with a kick to the body. Jedrzejczyk then responded with some nice shots inside the pocket, but Zhang made her pay every time.
In the second round, Zhang started things off with a nice combination. Jedrzejczyk put together another nice combination that ended with a leg kick. Zhang fired back with a shot of her own. Zhang shot in for a takedown but it was unsuccessful. A clinch ensued and both women exchanged knees and elbows. Zhang responded with a bit counter right hand and a huge combination that rocked Jedrzejczyk. Zhang landed a nice trip on Jedrzejczyk but she was able to shoot back up to her feet.
Jedrzejczyk dove in with a nice jab and had a front kick to the body caught. Zhang got caught with a shot off a kick but continued to circle. A big head kick landed for Jedrzejczyk but Zhang ended the round with a takedown.
The third round began with some big pressure from both women. Zhang landed a nice right hand and followed up with a left hook. Jedrzejczyk landed a pair of big shots of her own and really began to find a nice rhythm. Another clinch from Zhang, who got a few trip takedowns, but Jedrzejczyk kept getting to her feet. Zhang caught a Jedrzejczyk kick and fired back with a huge right hand. Both women were cracking hard to end the round.
In the fourth round, again both women opened up with high power shots. Zhang stunned Jedrzejczyk with a hook but Jedrzejczyk fired back with a head kick. Both women continued wth hard shots, Jedrzejczyk landing knees and Zhang connecting with bombs, and Jedrzejczyk’s forehead was severely swollen. Zhang connected with a nice counter lead hook but Jedrzejczyk continued to attack the legs.
Zhang snapped Jedrzejczyk’s head back with another big shot. Jedrzejczyk landed a nice combination before clinching Zhang against the cage. Zhang fought her way out of the corner with an elbow and hook that backed Jedrzejczyk up. Zhang just clipped Jedrzejczyk off a missed kick to end the round.
The final round started off with more chaos from both women. Jedrzejczyk backed Zhang up with a right hand before connecting on a big counter shot. Zhang finds a home for her lead hook, but Jedrzejczyk is still firing off bombs. Both women rocked each other with big shots. Both women leave it all inside the cage to end the fight, an all-time classic.
Zhang Weili def. Joanna Jedrzejczyk via split decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47)