Weili Zhang continued her tremendous resurgence with a dominant unanimous decision victory at UFC 292. Amanda Lemos was second best from start to finish in the strawweight title match in Boston.
The Chinese fighter is now riding a three-fight winning streak and has turned her career around after the back to back defeats to Rose Namajunas. She also set a record for the most ever strikes landed in a women’s UFC fight.
The scorecards reflected just how one sided the fight had been with the champion dominating from start to finish against her #5 ranked opponent.That win marked an epic return to form for ‘Magnum’ who appears to have levelled-up significantly since dropping back-to-back losses to Rose Namajunas in 2021. There may not have been a finish for the 34 year-old here, but she remarkably outlanded Lemos 288 to 21 to set a new for the biggest striking differential in women’s UFC history.
Zhang scored an early takedown after catching a kick from Lemos and unleashing some vicious ground and pound. The challenger barely survived the opening round and the Chinese fighter continued to outclass her opponent in rounds two and three.
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The pace slowed to the frustration of the crowd but Lemos rallied in the fourth. She found a home for the right hand and unbalanced Zhang with one shot in what was clearly her best round of the fight.
Lemos came into the final round knowing she would need a finish. But it was Zhang who closes the show by cracking her with a right hand and uncorking some ground and pound. When the Brazilian got back up she was easily thrown back down.
The scorecards reflected just how dominant Zhang had been reading 50-43, 50-44 and 49-45 in her favour. She extended her record to 24-3 and retains the strawweight title while Lemos drops to 13-3-1.
She received a very hostile reception in Florida last year but seemed to enjoy fighting in Boston,
“Boston, I feel here is my home. I feel the energy you gave me. Thank you everybody, I’m so happy. I’m training everyday so hard for an easy fight. I’m not surprised because I have a great team.”
A DOMINANT performance to kick off her second reign! 😤
— UFC_Asia (@UFC_Asia) August 20, 2023
Best of the rest
In the main event there was a new UFC bantamweight champion crowned as Sean O’Malley stopped Aljamain Sterling in the second round to send the crowd in Boston wild.
A right hand did the damage and from there O’Malley showed no mercy. The referee allowed Sterling to continue despite being dropped hard but he was never going to recover and eventually gave up his back with the stoppage coming at the 0:51 mark.
O’Malley improves to 17-1 and looks like he could be the natural successor to Conor McGregor as the UFC’s most marketable star Sterling sees his nine fight winning streak snapped and his record drops to 23-4.