Weili Zhang suffered a shock knockout loss to Rose Namajunas at UFC 261. It was a defeat that capped a miserable night for the Chinese contingent as they went 0-4.

Having not lost an MMA fight since her pro debut in 2013, Zhang came into this one as the favourite. But Namajunas had other ideas.

The American produced a stunning left head kick in the first round to leave the champion on her back. With Zhang lying flat on the canvas, Namajunas wasted no time in pouncing to land a flurry of hammer fists that finished the fight at the 1:18 mark.

Coming back

Zhang relinquishes the belt having successfully defended it on just one occasion, against Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248. This time she came up short against the former champion, and the 31-year-old believed it was an early stoppage, saying,

“I feel I can come back real big. I was still conscious and thought the referee stopped the fight early.”

Zhang drops to 21-2 after seeing her incredible 21 fight, eight year winning streak snapped. Namajunas improves to 10-4 with her second straight UFC win.

Night to remember

While the Chinese fighters were all beaten it was a night to remember for Mongolian bantamweight Danaa Batgerel (9-2). He needed less than a minute to finish Kevin Natividad (9-3), making it back to back first round stoppage wins.

As Natividad charged forwards Batgerel countered with a front kick and a right hook. Neither found their mark but he followed it up with a left hook that knocked the American out cold at the 0:50 mark.

Decision defeat

Lightweight veteran Kazula Vargas (12-4) scored a unanimous decision over Rong Zhu (17-4). The Chinese fighter was the youngest of the three UFC Performance Institute in Shanghai representatives making their promotional debuts on the card.

The 21-year-old was on the end of a tight guillotine in the second round but managed to survive. The youngster looked confident throughout and even decided to showboat on occasion, but he was ultimately outclassed by the veteran who did enough to convince all three judges.

Fight of the Night

Qileng Aori (18-8) dropped a unanimous decision to Jeff Molina (9-2). The only consolation for the Chinese flyweight was an action-packed affair that was awarded ‘Fight of the Night’ honours.

‘The Mongolian Murderer’ showed solid wrestling but got dropped twice in the second round. Molina stepped up the pace in the third and landed with volume. Aori responded by rocking the American with a right hand but it wasn’t enough to earn him the decision win.

Disappointing night

It was a disappointing start for Na Liang (13-5) who was knocked out in the second round by Ariane Carnelossi (13-2) on her UFC debut. The Chinese fighter had a noticeable height advantage but it was Carnelossi who ended the first round in top position and firing off the ground and pound.

It was a sign of things to come from the 28-year-old who swept Na in the second stanza and went to work again with punches from the top position. Na was unable to defend herself as Carnelossi secured the TKO.

UFC 261, Jacksonville, Saturday 24th April 34th
Kamaru Usman (c) def. Jorge Masvidal via TKO (Punches) at 1:02 of Round 2
Rose Namajunas (c) def. Weili Zhang via KO (Head kick) at 1:18 of Round 1
Valentina Shevchenko (c) def. Jessica Andrade via TKO (Punches) at 3:19 of Round 2
Uriah Hall def. Chris Weidman via first-round TKO (Leg injury) at 0:17 of Round 1
Anthony Smith def. Jimmy Crute via first-round TKO (Doctor stoppage) at 5:00 of Round 1
Randy Brown def. Alex Oliveira via Submission (Rear naked choke) at 2:50 of Round 1
Dwight Grant def. Stefan Sekulic via Decision (Split)
Brendan Allen def. Karl Roberson via Submission (Heel hook) at 4:55 of Round 1
Patrick Sabatini def. Tristan Connelly via Decision (Unanimous)
Danaa Batgerel def. Kevin Natividad via TKO (Punches) at 0:50 of Round 1
Kazula Vargas def. Rong Zhu via Decision (Unanimous)
Jeffrey Molina def. Aoriqileng via Decision (Unanimous)
Ariane Carnelossi def. Na Liang via second-round TKO (Punches) at 1:28 of Round 2