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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)

UFC Beijing results: Zhang Weili submits Jessica Aguilar at Fight Night 141 to announce herself as title threat

  • Chinese strawweight wows Cadillac Arena with arm bar finish
  • Calls for top-five opponent next after submitting Aguilar
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 November, 2018, 7:38pm
UPDATED : Friday, 30 November, 2018, 9:00am

China’s Zhang “Magnum” Weili formally announced herself as a future title threat in the UFC’s strawweight division on Saturday night, throwing Mexican-American Jessica “Jag” Aguilar down, messing her up, then finishing her off with an arm bar all before the first-round bell has sounded.

“This is the true me. This is how I fight,” Zhang told a packed Cadillac Arena.

And didn’t the locals just love it.

When Aguilar (20-7) tapped out at 3.41 of the first, it made it win number 17 on the trot for Zhang (18-1), and two straight of those have now come inside the UFC’s Octagon.

What’s more impressive in terms of where this particular story is all headed is that fact that Aguilar was up until not too long ago considered the best strawweight on the planet.

UFC Beijing results: Francis Ngannou is back after blasting through Curtis Blaydes in 44 seconds

“Now I want to fight anyone, no matter how high they are ranked,” Zhang said after cooling down. “I started fighting to win, I became a professional to win, and I have come to the UFC to win. I’m ready to fight top five, I’m ready to fight top 10.”

First time out, back in August against American Danielle “Dynamite” Taylor (9-4), it had been a win via decision but a struggle for Zhang, over there in Los Angeles and seemingly out of her comfort zone.

“I couldn’t even watch the replays of that fight,” Zhang said. “That just wasn’t me. After three months of training tonight you saw who I really am. The fight went exactly the way I expected it to go.”

In her nation’s capital Zhang rose to the occasion as the UFC made its debut in Beijing, attacking Aguilar from the touch off, landing short, sharp combinations in close early and then dominating with elbows – and then that arm bar – when things went to ground.

Saturday night’s 12-bout card featured nine of the 11 Chinese fighters the UFC has so far added to its stable as the promotion looks to extend its reach across the nation. As action turned from the preliminaries and on to the main card, the scoreline read 4-3 to the locals.

It was another strawweight in Yan “Fury” Xiaonan (10-1, one no contest) who lit the fuse inside the arena early, standing toe-to-toe for pretty much the whole three rounds against Japan’s Syuri Kondo (6-2) and overpowering her Japanese opponent for a nod from the judges that was unanimous.

Three fights in to her UFC career, with three wins, and Yan is still very much a work in progress – for sure when it comes to a ground game that has yet to reveal itself outside the gym. But at the stand-up caper she’s a gem – she threw 283 shots at her opponent, with 104 bang on the money.

The only slight worry is that, despite all that punishment, the fearless Kondo just kept on coming forward – as you might expect of a warrior who has so far in her own fight career travelled as far afield as Mexico’s Lucha libre pro-wrestling circuit in search of a decent old scrap.

Add a little more weight to those Yan punches – maybe reveal a secret passion for the finer arts of Brazilian jiu-jitsu – and who knows where things might lead.

“I was going for the second-round knockout but it just didn’t work out,” was Yan’s appraisal. “I just felt like my energy tonight was endless.”