UFC 268: Rose Namajunas vs. Zhang Weili 2: Prediction and Analysis

Published 11/02/2021, 8:16 AM EDT


Rose Namajunas and Zhang Weili will be in the co-main event of UFC 268. This is a rematch of their fight at UFC 261.

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‘Thug Rose’ entered the previous fight on the back of a win over the former UFC strawweight champion, Jessica Andrade. Namajunas had dropped her title earlier to the same opponent, in a fight which she was dominating.

After the loss at UFC 237, the former champ even contemplated retirement. She said that she was happy to be out of there and didn’t know what was in the future. However, after a lay-off of 14 months, she came and fought Andrade. After winning the fight via split decision; she challenged Weili.

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At UFC 261, Namajunas made quick work of the Chinese fighter. She knocked her out in the first round to win the title again.

Zhang Weili was on a dominant run before she fought Namajunas. She was undefeated in her previous 21 fights and went up against the biggest names in the strawweight division.

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Magnum‘ became the champion after dominating Jessica Andrade. She won via TKO in the first round. Weili then went head-to-head with the former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, in what became an instant classic. Both went at each other for five rounds, with the Chinese fighter winning via a split decision. This led to a clash with ‘Thug Rose,’ which ended with Weili getting knocked out.

UFC 268: Rose Namajunas vs. Zhang Weili 2

The champion, in the buildup to the fight, is not downplaying her opponent. She knows Weili might be her most dangerous opponent ever and is prepared for that. Namajunas might not have the power of her opponent, but as seen in her previous fights, her technique is great.

‘Thug’ Rose can fight in the clinch and also knows how to fight from a distance. Striking at 41 percent, she keeps constant pressure on her opponent and is great at landing takedowns. Her takedown accuracy is 53 percent, and she also stuffs 50 percent of the opponent’s takedown attempts.

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Zhang Weili is a brutal striker, who hits with a lot of power. She is even capable on the ground and can submit her opponents, having won seven of her fights via submission. ‘Magnum’ also has great cardio, and can go the full five rounds if required.

However, with all her skills and abilities, Namajunas just looks like a slightly better fighter. In the previous fight, Weili got knocked out from a distance and might try to get in close, but her takedown accuracy is not much to boast about. The fact that she has landed just one takedown in the UFC might make things difficult for her.

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To prepare for the title fight, Weili has been training with former two-division UFC champion, Henry Cejudo. Training with him will definitely help her grappling game, but Namajunas still looks like a superior fighter. She can hold her own on the ground, and can surely beat her Chinese opponent on the feet.

Prediction: Rose Namajunas to win via TKO in the third round

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Arunaditya Aima

268 articles

Arunaditya is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. Having completed his Post Graduate Diploma in Multimedia Journalism from IIJNM, Arunaditya aspires to be an important voice in the world of MMA and interview the likes of Jon Jones, Conor McGregor, Amanda Nunes, and other such superstars of the sport. He has followed the sport for over a decade and is an ardent fan of Georges St-Pierre, who he believes is the greatest of all time.

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