Weili Zhang got another hostile reception at UFC 268. But this time the Chinese strawweight was well prepared and did not wilt under the pressure, earning what should have been a hard fought decision win over Rose Namajunas at UFC 268.

Unfortunately the judges were not competent and did not award Zhang the win she had clearly earned. With one of them somehow scoring four rounds to Namajunas.

Zhang set about scoring with leg kicks in the opening round with audible chants of ‘USA’ ringing in the background before shooting for a takedown. Namajunas eventually got back to her feet and unbalanced her with a push kick but it was a strong start from the challenger.

Top position

In the second round Zhang was getting the better of the early exchanges and got the action down again after catching a high kick and sweeping Namajunas off her feet. She finished the round in top position and looked to be in control of the fight at this stage.

Zhang landed more low kicks at the start of the third round and finished it in mount although Namajunas did have her moments. It left the Chinese fighter in pole position heading into the championship rounds.

Zhang scored another takedown early in the fourth but Namajunas bounced back up. Following a scramble Namajunas found herself in top position after the challenger failed to get her hooks in for a rear naked choke.

Top position

Namajunas finished the round in top position but couldn’t capitalize with any strikes or submission attempts. She scored a takedown in the final round  and Zhang, who had to get naked at yesterday’s weigh ins to make 115lbs, spent the remainder of the round on her back.

Zhang appeared to have won at least three of the rounds and would have been feeling confident as the scorecards were tabulated. But incredibly won of the judges had Namajunas winning four every round but one.

One scorecard read 48-47 in Zhang’s favour while the other two were 48-47 and 49-46 for Namajunas. It was bitterly disappointing for the Chinese fighter with the judges apparently influenced by the vocal crowd.

Namajunas improves to 11-4 while Zhang drops to 21-3. It is unclear what comes next for the Chinese fighter who can consider herself extremely unlucky not to have earned the decision win.

Best of the rest

In the main event Kamaru Usman (20-1) scored a unanimous decision win over Colby Covington (16-3) in their welterweight title match. The scorecards read 48–47, 48–47 and 49–46 in favour of the champion who now holds two wins over the challenger.

UFC 268, New York, November 6th
Kamaru Usman (c) def. Colby Covington via Decision (Unanimous)
Rose Namajunas (c) def. Weili Zhang via Decision (Split)
Marlon Vera def. Frankie Edgar via KO (front kick) at 3:50 of R3
Shane Burgos def. Billy Quarantillo via Decision (Unanimous)
Justin Gaethje def. Michael Chandler via Decision (Unanimous)
Alex Pereira def. Andreas Michailids via TKO (Flying knee and punches) at 0:18 of R2
Bobby Green def. Al Iaquinta via TKO (Punches) at 2:25 of R1
Chris Curtis def. Phil Hawes via TKO (punches) at 4:27 of R1
Nassourdine Imavov def. Edmen Shahbazyan via TKO (Elbows) at 4:42 of R2
Ian Garry def. Jordan Williams via KO (punches) at 4:59 of R1
Chris Barnett def. Gian Villante via TKO (Kicks and punches) at 2:23 of R2
Dustin Jacoby def. John Allan via Decision (Unanimous)
Melsik Baghdasaryan def. Bruno Souza via Decision (Unanimous)
Ode Osbourne def. CJ Vergara via Decision (Unanimous)