Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk placed on an exhilarating struggle tied collectively by an emotional retirement. Jedrzejczyk introduced she was stepping away from combined martial arts after struggling a highlight-reel knockout loss to Zhang at UFC 275.
Zhang vs. Jedrzejczyk is a recipe for thrilling violence, easy as that. Their first struggle at UFC 248 ranks as one of many biggest fights in historical past no matter gender. Their rematch on Saturday evening was contested on the similar exceptional tempo.
Jedrzejczyk seemed sharp on the toes in Spherical 1, dropping Zhang with a leg kick early. Zhang took full management of the struggle as soon as she engaged in grappling, nevertheless. Zhang wrapped up Jedrzejczyk in opposition to the fence and mauled her with strikes. The Chinese language powerhouse scored a number of takedowns and punished Jedrzejczyk with ground-and-pound. It seemed momentarily just like the referee would possibly step in as Zhang reigned blows from full mount. Jedrzejczyk rejected the concept and scrambled to freedom. Jedrzejczyk landed an enormous blow within the closing seconds, however Zhang caught a kick and dumped Jedrzejczyk to cap off the frenetic first 5 minutes.
Zhang landed with impactful physique pictures early in Spherical 2 that had Jedrzejczyk sucking in wind. Jedrzejczyk shucked off a takedown try from Zhang however ate a stiff one-two mixture. Jedrzejczyk stepped in and Zhang clobbered her with a spinning backfist. Jedrzejczyk face planted and Zhang walked away, sending the gang right into a frenzy. The knockout end got here formally at 2:28 of Spherical 2, a extra definitive conclusion than Zhang’s break up choice win in 2020.
“I am very, very comfortable about this struggle. I instructed myself that I might use all my strategies to beat my opponent and I did,” Zhang, by way of an interpreter, instructed Daniel Cormier within the post-fight interview. “I used to be very, very calm and relaxed for this struggle. I instructed myself that I used to be not combating Joanna, I used to be combating myself.”
Zhang (22-3) challenged UFC ladies’s strawweight champion Carla Esparza to a title struggle in impartial territory in Abu Dhabi. Zhang additionally expressed her admiration for Jedrzejczyk, saying that Jedrzejczyk handed the torch to her and that someday Zhang would cross it on to another person.
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Jedrzejczyk (16-5) additionally spoke with Cormier post-fight. The previous strawweight champion confessed that her head was nonetheless ringing as she introduced her retirement from the game.
“Dana White, UFC, I am so sorry I allow you to down,” Jedrzejczyk stated in tears. “It has been 20 years. I am turning 35 this 12 months. I wish to be a mother. I wish to be a businesswoman. I have been coaching for 20 years. Greater than half of my life. I respect you all. I like you guys. I like you DC.”
UFC president White beforehand acknowledged that the winner of Zhang vs. Jedrzejczyk 2 will struggle Esparza for the strawweight title. Jedrzejczyk retires as an acclaimed former champion. She efficiently defended her strawweight crown 5 instances in opposition to Jessica Andrade, Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Claudia Gadehla, amongst others.