Bengaluru, March 9: The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Tuesday (March 9) announced that UFC strawweight champion Zhang Weili will make her second title defense against #1 contender Rose Namajunas in the headliner of UFC 261, which is scheduled for April 24.
UFC strawweight champion Weili is the first woman in history from China and the broader Asia region to capture a UFC world title. She surged into title contention with wins over UFC veterans Jessica Aguilar and Tecia Torres, then took the belt from Jessica Andrade with a 42 second knockout in front of a hometown crowd at UFC Shenzhen in August of 2019.
In 2020, Zhang made her first successful title defense against the former five-time defending strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk in what was ultimately awarded Fight of the Year 2020. She rides a win streak of an incredible 20 fights going into her second title defense, with 11 first-round finishes, 10 KOs and 7 submissions.
#1 strawweight contender Namajunas has consistently delivered exceptional performances, including her submission of Michelle Waterson in 2017, followed by back-to-back victories against then champion Jedrzejczyk, winning by KO to capture the belt that same year, and then by decision to keep it in the 2018 rematch and title defense.
In 2019, the slam heard round the world saw Andrade take the strawweight title from Namajunas, but she took revenge with a Fight of the Night win over Andrade in 2020.
UFC strawweight champion Weili versus #1 challenger Namajunas has the potential to be an instant classic from two athletes who have repeatedly proven they are willing to give everything they have inside the Octagon.
As previously announced, the co-main event will feature UFC women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko, who will defend her title for the fifth time against former strawweight champion and now #1 flyweight contender Andrade.
Also announced for the event:
Middleweight bout: Chris Weidman vs. Uriah Hall
Light Heavyweight bout: Anthony Smith vs. Jimmy Crute
Bantamweight bout: Danaa Batgerel vs. Kevin Natividad
Middleweight bout: Brendan Allen vs. Karl Roberson
Flyweight bout: Jeff Molina vs. Qileng Aori
Bantamweight bout: Johnny Muñoz vs. Mark Striegl
Women's Strawweight: Ariane Carnelossi vs. Na Liang
The location of the event and more bout information will be announced over the coming weeks.