Zhang Weili Narrowly emerge the split decision winner in an instant classic title fight encounter with Joanna Jedrzejczyk tonight at UFC 248.
The strawweight title fight co-main event is underway in Las Vegas.
Leg kick for Weili. Leg kick for Jedrzejczyk and one in return straight away from Weili. However, now Jedrzejczyk doubles up on the leg kick.
Punch for Weili and then an inside leg kick. Power punch from Weili misses. Nice straight punch lands for Jedrzejczyk.
Another straight for Jedrzejczyk and then a leg kick behind it. Leg kick again for Jedrzejczyk.
Flurry of punches followed by a leg kick for Jedrzejczyk. Now a big punch from Weili as they exchange again.
Both ladies exchanging punches and leg kicks here. Left hook just misses for Weili. Good straight right for Weili as Jedrzejczyk was going for a leg kick.
Side kick from Weili. Now a leg kick. Now another side kick. Solid right hand for Jedrzejczyk. Both ladies firing off rapid-fire punches.
Missed front kick upstairs from Jedrzejczyk and Weili responds with punches. Weili stalking Jedrzejczyk now. Jedrzejczyk lands pnches though as she looks to regain respect.
Spinning kick to the body from Jedrzejczyk misses. Body kick from Jedrzejczyk is partially caught and then she almost catches one in return from Weili.
Front kick upstairs almost lands for Jedrzejczyk and then a punch. Hard connection from Weili. They are both exchanging hard again as the round ends and Jedrzejczyk lands a punch well after the bell, but immediately apologizes.
Leg kick behind feeling punches from Weili. Two right hands land for Jedrzejczyk in a tense exchange. Leg kick for Jedrzejczyk.
Left hand connects for Weili, but Jedrzejczyk lands a leg kick counter. Both landing leg kicks here. A couple of punches from Jedrzejczyk and ducks a counter in the process.
They look to clinch up and Jedrzejczyk does well to press Weili into the cage on two occasions, but then Weili reverses the position and starts working hard for a takedown. Jedrzejczyk with good takedown defense though and then starts landing big knees to the body, while Weili throws elbows.
Back to striking range they go. leg kick for Weili. Right hand counter from Weili connects. Jedrzejczyk gets blasted by a big right hand and that backs her up for a moment.
Into the clinch they go in the center of the Octagon and Weili bundles Jedrzejczyk to the mat, but they are quickly back up.
Missed punches from both ladies, but Weili lands a leg kick in there. Solid jab for Weili. A kick is almost caught. Leg kick for Weili. Now a right hand.
Body kick from Jedrzejczyk. Body kick for Weili and a right hand counter from Jedrzejczyk. Nice counter leg kick for Jedrzejczyk now.
Jedrzejczyk with a kick upstairs that connects and then charges forward with a jumping knee, but Weili is dragging Jedrzejczyk to the mat as the round ends.
Right hand lands for Jedrzejczyk and tries to work a leg kick behind it. Jedrzejczyk looking to put together a big combination, but Weili has the bigger power and connects.
Punch for Jedrzejczyk, but a big left comes in return from Weili and snaps her head back. Quick one-two’s from Jedrzejczyk. Hard punch from Weili and a leg kick comes in return.
Leg kick for Weili and Jedrzejczyk lands a leg kick and then a punch to the head. Kick for Jedrzejczyk and then a solid one-two.
Head kick attempt misses from Jedrzejczyk. Inside leg kick now. Good leg kick for Weili now. Weili noticeably slowing down a little in this round.
One-two for Jedrzejczyk. Leg kick for Weili and one in return from Jedrzejczyk. Power punches still there at times from Weili.
Weili moves into the clinch now and presses Jedrzejczyk into the cage. Knee from Jedrzejczyk and then Weili trips her to the mat. Jedrzejczyk gets straight back up, but Weili takes her down again. Jedrzejczyk pops back up immediately and they are back to striking range.
Body kick from Weili. Weili lands a takedown in the center of the Octagon, but again Jedrzejczyk stands quickly. Jedrzejczyk now sporting a huge contusion on her forehead.
Kicks being exchanged now. Jedrzejczyk again with the leg kick and then a punch. Big left hand for Jedrzejczyk. Body kick for Jedrzejczyk and a counter punch in return from Weili.
Punch again for Weili and Jedrzejczyk loads up on a body kick. Intense action and both ladies are wearing it on their faces, with Jedrzejczyk in particular having a huge amount of swelling to her forehead.
Hard body kick from Weili. She fires off big punches but they miss. Again Weili throwing with big power and one does land.
Leg kick for Jedrzejczyk. Now a big counter punch from Jedrzejczyk. Weili responds with a huge punch of her own.
Jedrzejczyk connects with a punch. left hand for Weili. Right hand and then a crushing left hook from Weili as Jedrzejczyk connects with one of her own.
Another wild exchange in close and A big knee from Jedrzejczyk. Another knee goes upstairs from Jedrzejczyk.
Leg kick for Jedrzejczyk. Body punches and then upstairs from the former champion. High kick for her. Left hand for Weili, but Jedrzejczyk lands a counter hook.
Glancing left hook from Jedrzejczyk. Counter left for Weili. She lands that left hand again. Leg kick for Jedrzejczyk.
Glancing overhand right from Weili. Hard exchange of punches. Good right hand for Weili snaps Jedrzejczyk’s head back.
Jedrzejczyk returning fire now. Solid leg kick for Weili. Now one from Jedrzejczyk. This is a crazy fight.
As they move into the clinch Jedrzejczyk lands a nice elbow. She presses Weili into the cage. Weili able to reverse the position now.
AN elbow and a left hook from Jedrzejczyk as she backs out. Both exchange punches and Jedrzejczyk lands cleaner with the left hand.
Good left hook from Jedrzejczyk. She connects with another hook. She just misses a head kick and Weili lands a right hand counter. What a war this is.
They two fighters hug to start the round and who can blame them. Immediately there’s a hard exchange of punches and both fighters are landing.
Now they exchange leg kicks. Back to punches and it’s blow for blow. Solid leg kick for Jedrzejczyk. She lands a body kick too.
Nice right hand over the top from Jedrzejczyk. Big left hook from Weili and Jedrzejczyk did connect too.
Jedrzejczyk backing up a bit. Another good left for Weili. Jedrzejczyk lands and Weili counters. Jedrzejczyk’s nose may be broken now.
Knee misses from Weili and a big left from Jedrzejczyk stops Weili in her tracks for a moment. Another left lands.
Weili pressing forward again throwing heavy leather though. There’s just no quit in either fighter.
Left hook lands again for Weili and Jedrzejczyk goes into the clinch after that. They move away soon after though.
Front kick to the body from Jedrzejczyk. Nice counter left for Jedrzejczyk. Body kick for her. Leg kick from Weili. Weili catches a body kick from Jedrzejczyk but can’t do anything with that.
Leg kick for Weili. One in return from Jedrzejczyk. Left hand gets through for Weili. Leg kicks exchanged.
Counter leg kick for Jedrzejczyk. Weili with a big right hook. She misses with a spinning backfist. Jedrzejczyk lands a spinning backfist of her own and Weili is bleeding from a cut to her right eye. Both of these warriors going right to the final bell throwing everything they’ve got, but this one is heading to the judges.
This was unquestionably an instant-classic fight that was incredibly evenly matched and traded blow-for-blow all fight long, making the result very difficult to predict.
The verdict is in, it’s a split decision and it’s Zhang Weili who emerges with her hand raised (48-47 x2, 47-48) to retain her title.
It’s unfortunate that there has to be a loser here as that was just a spectacular display of skill and toughness from both ladies, and surely we’ll be seeing a rematch at some stage in the not so distant future.