11 Jun - 
Andrade vs. Zhang title fight nearly set for UFC Shenzhen

The UFC’s return to China is expected to feature a Chinese fighter challenging for the strawweight title.

Jessica Andrade’s first defense of her UFC strawweight title is apparently going to be in enemy territory.

ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reports that a bout between Andrade and Weili Zhang is expected to serve as the main event for UFC Shenzhen in mainland China. It’ll be the first time that a Chinese athlete has ever challenged for a UFC title, and it comes at a time that the UFC is intending to build a Performance Institute as part of its aggressive expansion in that country.

Andrade (20-6) captured the 115 lbs crown with a dramatic slam KO of Rose Namajunas at last month’s UFC 237 in Rio de Janeiro. The powerful Brazilian has only lost once at strawweight, when she lost a decision to then-champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk in May 2017. She’s currently on a four-fight winning streak, with her last two wins coming by knockout.

Zhang (19-1) lost her MMA debut back in 2013, but is undefeated since then. Her 3-0 record in the UFC consists of a decision win over Danielle Taylor, an armbar finish of former WSOF champion Jessica Aguilar, and most recently a competitive, hard-fought decision over Tecia Torres at UFC 235. She’s currently ranked #6 in the strawweight division, one ahead of Michelle Waterson, whom Dana White scoffed at as the next contender.

UFC Shenzhen takes place on August 31st and streams live on ESPN+.