‘Thug’ Rose Namajunas recaptured the ladies’s strawweight crown as she shocked Chinese champion Zhang Weili with a head-kick KO in their co-main occasion at UFC 261 in Florida, with Zhang remonstrating that she was prepared to combat on.
Namajunas linked flush with Zhang’s head inside the primary spherical at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Florida, felling the Chinese fighter earlier than following up with floor strikes as the competition was waved off.
The shocked and unsteady Zhang remonstrated with officers as she appeared to insist she had been wonderful to proceed, however the dethroned 115lbs champ had supplied no protection as Namajunas hammered away at her head after sending her crashing to the canvas.
Namajunas supplied Zhang her hand in a second of reconciliation because the defeated fighter sat on her stool, following a build-up to the bout which was marred by ‘better red than dead’ feedback from Namajunas in direction of her rival from the communist nation.
However, the overriding emotion for Namajunas was one in every of pleasure at recapturing the title she had held earlier than dropping to Jessica Andrade at UFC 237 in May of 2019.
“I did it again… I really just had to have faith in God, and that’s what got me through.” Namajunas instructed Joe Rogan afterwards. “I am the best.”
For a shocked Zhang it snapped a exceptional profitable streak of 21 fights, as she suffered solely the second defeat of her skilled MMA profession and a primary contained in the UFC octagon.
UFC matchmakers shall be licking their lips at the expertise at the highest of the 115lbs ladies’s ranks, with the potential for handing Zhang a direct rematch with Namajunas – as Dana White hinted at on Saturday evening – or pitting the Chinese star in a contest for a primary contender spot towards former foe Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Zhang and Jedrzejczyk placed on a barnstorming combat of the yr at UFC 248 in March of 2020, and that may very well be the combat to make to decide who will get a shot at the belt now across the waist of Namajunas.
Namajunas’s earlier reign as strawweight champion started in equally spectacular type when she knocked out Jedrzejczyk at UFC 217 in 2017, though she would defend the title simply as soon as – in a rematch with the Pole – earlier than dropping it to Andrade.
The Milwaukee-born star will goal an extended reign this time round, and is as soon as once more the girl to beat at the top of the talent-stocked UFC strawweight ranks.