UFC 261: Zhang Weili vs Rose Namajunas- Main Card Prediction and Analysis

Published 04/22/2021, 11:59 PM EDT


The co-main event for UFC 261 in Jacksonville, Florida sees Zhang Weili put up her strawweight championship against Rose Namajunas. The former champion in Namajunas is one of the most accomplished fighters in the division, and fans are expecting a technical war. Both women have shown that they’re able to push a hard pace for the entire 25-minute duration.

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Zhang Weili will be looking to establish her dominance in the division as she’s already beaten two former 115-pound champions. Given the way Rose Namajunas has looked as of late, a win over ‘Thug’ Rose would be a crowning achievement. Fans have already earmarked the aforementioned contest as a potential ‘Fight of the Night’ candidate if things play out as expected.

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UFC 261: Zhang Weili vs Rose Namajunas

Magnum’ is coming off a ‘Fight of the Year’ performance in her last outing against former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Weili put her best foot forward and was not only able to dish out damage, but also take damage. Her performance against Jedrzejczyk showed a different side to her game and proved that she was as durable as they come.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 07: Zhang Weili of China prepares to fight Joanna Jedrzejczyk of Poland in their UFC strawweight championship fight during the UFC 248 event at T-Mobile Arena on March 07, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Zhang Weili applies forward pressure like very few can, especially in tight spaces. She uses hook combinations and can constantly inflict damage over the course of the entire fight. Her conditioning is another skill set that has been an asset in playing right into her pre-determined striking game. Namajunas will have to be willing to match her intensity in order to reign supreme.

‘Thug’ Rose!, ‘Thug’ Rose!

Thug’ Rose is coming off a hard-fought decision win in her last fight against a tough and durable former champion, Jessica Andrade. Namajunas’ championship mindset is also as sharp as ever and she’s motivated to pick up the belt. The way her striking has evolved under Trevor Wittman is sure to keep Weili on her toes.

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JULY 12: Rose Namajunas battles Jessica Andrade in their strawweight fight during the UFC 251 event at Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 12, 2020 on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Rose Namajunas not only possesses skills, but is also extremely powerful for the weight class. She’s able to mask her kicks behind a firewall of offensively orthodox techniques that are fundamentally solid. If she’s able to put things together, Namajunas has shown that she can be the very best strawweight fighter on the planet.

Prediction: Rose Namajunas to claim a split decision victory

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Darryl Pinto

1450 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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