“Champ Is Back” – Ronda Rousey, Khamzat Chimaev & Pros Awestruck by Zhang Weili’s Incredible Comeback at UFC 281 Against Carla Esparza

Published 11/13/2022, 12:24 AM EST

Zhang Weili submitted Carla Esparza to win the Women’s Strawweight title at UFC 281 in Madison Square Garden. ‘Magnum’ had the upper hand in the first round and maintained dominance in the second until the win. With the win, she has now won the title for the second time in her UFC career.

‘Magnum’ lost two out of her last three fights before UFC 281. She beat former champ Joanna Jędrzejczyk to earn the title shot. The 33-year-old capitalized on the opportunity and made quick work of the champion.

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Fans react to women’s strawweight title fight at UFC 281

Weili neutralized Esparza’s wrestling and dealt damage on the feet as well. She eventually managed to get the champion in a crucifix and transitioned into a rear naked choke to get the tap.

Carla Esparza was on a five-fight win streak, heading into the title defense against Zhang Weili at UFC 281, After a lack-luster win against Rose Namajunas to win the title, ‘The Cookie Monster’ has now lost the title in her first defense. Fans reacted to the title fight by giving their props to the new champion.

Former UFC welterweight Ben Askren gave his thoughts. A wrestler himself, Askren gave props to Weili’s takedown defense.

UFC fighters Aleksandar Rakic and Khamzat Chimaev also chimed in after the fight. While Rakic remained unsurprised, Chimaev congratulated Weili for her second title win.

Former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey also shared her appreciation for both fighters. The performance seemingly impressed the UFC’s first female champion.

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It will be interesting to see what direction the UFC will take for the women’s strawweight title picture. Namajunas already has two wins over the new champion. However, she lost twice to Esparza as well. This makes matchmaking a little tricky for the UFC.

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Esparza lost convincingly to Weili. So an immediate rematch may not be entirely justified. Namajunas remains a conundrum, having two wins over Weili and two losses to Esparza. The division also has former champion Jessica Andrade and rising contenders like Amanda Lemos chomping at the bits.

How do you think this triangle title story will play out? Who do you want to see face Zhang Weili for the title next? Let us know in the comments below.

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Yeswanth Praveen

370 articles

Yeswanth Praveen is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. His interests mainly lie in the realm of MMA, bodybuilding, and the fitness industry. He finished his Master's in English literature from EFLU, Hyderabad.

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