UFC Fight Night 157: Weili Zhang Stops Jessica Andrade to Claim UFC Strawweight Title
By: Jesse Donathan
For many fans in North America, UFC Fight Night 157’s 3 am EST preliminary card start time didn’t exactly tap into the hearts and minds of the mixed martial arts community. With a roster packed full of fighters many casual fans simply have never heard of, more than a few followers of the faith were at home, in the bed, dreaming of next week’s UFC 242 Nurmagomedov vs. Poirier showdown.
It only took Black Tiger Fight Club representative Weili “Magnum” Zhang 42-seconds to become the UFC’s new 115-pound Strawweight Champion in dispatching Jessica Andrade by technical knockout in front of an ecstatic Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre crowd in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China this weekend on ESPN+. It was a historical moment for Zhang and the Chinese people and a potentially lucrative one for the UFC later down the line as Asia’s largest martial arts market was just given a reason to go all in and celebrate.
The fight started off with the pugilists finding each other easily, Zhang landing a pair of inside leg kicks before circling out to re-adjust. Zhang would again work the inside leg kick, flicking her jab out in order to maintain distance and give the advancing Jessica “Bate Estaca” Andrade something to think about. The two would briefly stand in front of each other and trade shots, the distinct audible sound of punches finding their mark noticeable to those perceptive enough to pick up on it.
Pressing forward, looking for the kill shot, Andrade would recklessly blitz Zhang with her chin up and hands down in an ill-fated attempt to make the challenger fight off of her backfoot in retreat, catching a right hook in the process that rang the now former Brazilian champions bell.
With her back against the cage and a stunned Andrade attempting to catch her bearings, Zhang would land a knee followed up with a number of stinging elbows before securing the Muay Thai clinch and expertly transitioning between repeated knee and elbow strikes to her trapped opponent. In trouble, Andrade would attempt to flee the onslaught with Zhang giving chase in an offensive onslaught reminiscent of Vitor Belfort versus Wanderlei Silva at UFC 17.5 – Ultimate Brazil in 1998.
Chased across the Octagon with Zhang in hot pursuit, it wouldn’t take long before Andrade ran out of real estate and found herself trapped against the fence with “Magnum” looking for the finish. With Andrade helplessly crumbled on the canvas, referee Leon Roberts was forced to intervene, calling a halt to the contest and preventing the former Brazilian champion from taking any further damage in route to Weili Zhang becoming the UFC’s first Chinese champion.
For a country of 1.4-billion people that has a culture that revers martial arts like China, Weili Zhang’s victory at UFC Fight Night 157 has tremendous implications for the Ultimate Fighting Championship organization who recently opened a UFC Performance Institute in Shanghai billed as one of the largest and most advanced in the word.
China is a tremendous financial market for the organization to dip into in their quest to become a global mixed martial arts organization and with Zhang’s victory this past weekend the UFC is well on their way to dominating the Asian market. Weili Zhang offers the Chinese people a foot in the door to the world of mixed martial arts and in the process, it is entirely possible Zhang is on her way to Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor-esk superstar status should she manage to defend the belt for any meaningful period of time.
Following her UFC Fight Night 157 TKO victory, UFC President Dana White expressed an interest to have Zhang fight stateside in the U.S., prompting the newly minted champion to openly discuss the VISA problems many of her cornermen are facing in coming to the United States in a small glimpse of the red tape involved in being a professional mixed martial arts fighter. Not the first or last time such problems have surfaced in MMA, with the obligations facing UFC champions Zhang will likely be operating on a skeleton crew until the problems are ultimately ironed out for good which could take some months or even years in some cases.
Zhilei Zhang, Derrick Webster & Prince Badi Ajamu Win in AC
by: Ken Hissner
Mis Downing Promotions in Association with Roy Jones, Jr’s Square Ring Promotions put together a six bout show at the Claridge Hotel & Casino and Radisson Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ, Saturday night with a nine bout card. Rene Aiken was matchmaker.
Chinese 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist heavyweight southpaw Zhilei Zhang, 17-0 (13), now out of Las Vegas, NV, stopped Nick “2 Gunz” Guivas, 13-8-2 (9), of Topeka, KS, at 2:43 of the first round of a scheduled 10.
In the opening round Zhang used a jab and right hook keeping Guivas on the defense rarely throwing a punch. Zhang dropped Guivas in his own corner with a right hook body shot. Shortly later another Zhang right hook this time to the head and down went Guivas for the second time as referee Shada’ Murdaugh waved it off. Guivas came in for a pay day and Zhang needs to step up the competition.
In the Main Event super middleweight southpaw Derrick “Take It to the Bank” Webster, 24-1 (13), of Glassboro, NJ, stopped Lamar “King of Pain” Harris, 9-14-4 (5), of St. Louis, MO., at 0:28 of the second round.
In the first round Harris came out fast until several Webster jab’s hit him in the face followed by a straight left to the head. A right hook from Webster spun Harris a full 360 degrees. A follow-up combination from Webster dropped Harris who got to his feet as referee Murdaugh gave him the 8 count as the bell sounded ending the round. In the second round a flurry of punches from Webster had Harris out on his feet causing referee Shada’ Murdaugh to call a halt. Webster needs to step up the competition.
In the co-feature cruiserweight “The Boxing” Prince Badi Ajamu, 28-3-1 (15), of Camden, NJ, returned after 8 years, to win a lack luster decision over Puerto Rico’s Edgar Perez, 7-22 (3), of Chicago, IL, over 8 rounds.
In the first round Ajamu used an effective jab to the midsection keeping Perez at bay. It was a feeling out round. In the second round Ajamu landed a 3-punch combination to the body and head of Perez. A jab by Ajamu pushed Perez back several steps. In the third round Ajamuj landed half a dozen punches mostly to the body of Perez putting Perez against the ropes. Ajamuj landed another 3-punch body shot bringing the defense of Perez down. In the fourth round Ajamuj landed half a dozen unanswered punches from Perez. It was nothing more than a sparring match.
In the fifth round Ajamuj landed eight light punches as Perez continued fighting a survival fight. Ajamuj continued to work the flabby body of Perez. Near the end of the round Ajamuj got Perez upset causing the best exchange of the fight. In the sixth round Perez used and effective jab as Ajamuj was in a peek-a-boo defense. In the seventh round they continued to go through the motions. In the eighth and final round of a real snoozer it finally came to an end. Referee Gonzales had little to do with few clinches.
Judges Pasquale and Page had it 80-72 while Barnes scored it 79-73. This writer had it 80-72.
Middleweight Shady Gamhour, 4-0 (3), of Sweden living in Pensacola, FL, knocked out Jessie Singletary, 0-3, of D.C., at 1:43 of the first round.
In the opening round Singletary came out throwing punches while Gamhour was using his jab. Suddenly a lead right hand from Gamhour on the chin of Singletary and down he went for the count from referee Ricky Gonzales. Former world champion Roy Jones, Jr., worked the corner of Gamhour.
Cruiserweight Mike “Super Beast” Hilton, 7-0 (6), of Trenton, NJ, was fortunate to get a decision over Willis “The Prophet” Lockett, 4-12-6 (5), of Takoma Park, MD, in a foul filled 6 rounds.
In the first round Lockett is throwing more punches with little power while Hilton hurts him every time he lands a punch mostly to the body. In the second round Hilton landed a 3-punch combination as Lockett came in low. Hilton got a warning from referee Glover for pushing Lockett’s head down. Lockett outworked Hilton in the round. In the third round a lead overhand right from Lockett landed on the head of Hilton to the crowd’s delight. Both fighters tumbled to the canvas. Lockett continues to outwork Hilton who was too busy loading up and throwing little.
In the fourth round after both fighters missed wild left hooks Lockett landed a lead right to the midsection of Hilton. Lockett continues to outwork Hilton. In the fifth round Hilton was missing with wild punches until he finally landed a right driving Lockett to the ropes. Hilton warned for pushing by referee Glover. Hilton landed a power punch to the body of Lockett hurting him. There was much too much holding in the round. Both fighters looked exhausted. In the sixth and final round Lockett landed a left hook to the head of Hilton. Hilton landed a low left south of the border putting Lockett on the canvas. Referee Glover gave him but 30 seconds to re-coup. Again Hilton landed a low right hand putting Lockett on the canvas for another 10 second rest from the referee Glover who doesn’t understand the fouled fighter can take up to five minutes to re-coup.
Judge’s scores were Barnes 60-54, Pasquale 60-53 and Page 58-56. This writer had it 57-57.
In the opening bout Cruiserweight southpaw Lamont “Lay Em Down” McLaughlin, 0-2 (0), of Philly, was knocked out by Tahlik Taylor, 2-7 (0), of Freeport, NJ, at 0:31 of the first round of a scheduled 4.
In the opening round McLaughlin came at Taylor who countered with a right hand and down went McLaughlin for the count from referee Mary Glover. The crowd loved it as Taylor won his second fight in nine starts.
Mis Downing Promotions will return November 4th.
Zhang, Webster, Ajamu and Cauthen at Claridge in AC Saturday
By: Ken Hissner
Mis Downing Promotions and Square Ring Promotions will have a nine bout card at the Claridge Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, NJ, Saturday night! In a ten round boutunbeaten 2008 Olympic heavyweight Silver Medalist from China southpaw Zhilei “Big Bang” Zhang, 16-0 (12), who has scored nine knockouts in his last ten fights. He is No. 13 in the WBO rankings. His opponent is Nick “2 Gunz” Guivas, 13-7-2 (9), out of Topeka, KS.
Headlining in an eight round bout is Glassboro, NJ, Super middleweight southpaw Derrick “TakeIt to the Bank” Webster, 23-1 (12), seeking a ranking in one of the four organizations taking on Lamar Harris, 9-13-4 (5), of St. Louis, MO, in an eight round bout.
In the co-feature 6 round bout returning to the ring after an eight year layoff and holder of the WBC Continental Americas, WBO NABO, World Boxing Foundation, CABOFE, IBC Inter-Continental and PA State titles is Camden, NJ, cruiserweight Prince BadiAjamu, 27-3-1 (15), who won eight of his last nine fights only losing to Roy Jones, Jr., taking on Edgar Perez, 7-21 (3), of Chicago, IL. Perez holds a win over Atlantic City’s Lavarn “Baby Bowe” Harvell, who was 13-0 at the time. “What better way to bring the attention to child abduction which is a big problem in this country than to be in the ring and get this message out there”. He would also like a rematch with Jones who as co-promoter will be in attendance.
Another match-up of two NJ middleweights is former Olympian Terrance “Heat” Cauthen, 36-8 (9), of Trenton, NJ, after a five year absence taking on Nick Valliere, 5-2 (2), of Forked River, NJ. Trenton’s cruiserweight Mike Hilton, 6-0 (6)trying to make it seven straight ko’s against Willis Lockett, 14-20-6 (5), of Takoma Park, MD, who holds a win over Wildwood, NJ, boxer Chuck “The Professor” Mussachio.Camden, NJ, unbeaten featherweight Vidal Rivera, 6-0 (4), is listed against tba. These three are over six rounds. In four round bouts Newark, NJ, super lightweight Dion Richadson, 3-1 (2), meets FelipNazario, 0-7, of the Bronx, NY. Shady Gamhour, 1-0 (1), of Pensacola, FL, meets Jesse Singletary, 0-2, of D.C. and Philly cruiserweight Lamont McLaughlin, 0-1, meets Tahlik Taylor, 1-7, of Freeport, NY.
There will be a press conference at 5pm Thursday at the Flagship Hotel, 60 North Main Avenue in Atlantic City. The first bout Saturday will be at 7pm.