Zhang Weili delivered one of the greatest performances in a title fight, men’s or women’s, in UFC history. However, her undefeated opponent, Amanda Lemos was a big part of the story when the bout came to an end in the co-main event of UFC 292 at Boston’s TD Garden on Saturday.
Zhang won via unanimous decision by scores of 50-43, 50-44 and 49-45 as she retained her strawweight title in a stunning performance. Yahoo Sports got it 50-44 for Zhang. Zhang beat the Lemos 288-21, had six takedowns to nil, scored a knockdown and had 14:52—nearly three full rounds—of control time.
Lemos took a surprising amount of abuse, but nearly ended the fight in the first round when she caught Zhang in a D’Arce chokeslam late in the first. Zhang dominated the wrestling and was all over Lemos, working for submissions. As she dropped her elbows and whacked her with the hammer in a fierce ground and pound attack.
Lemos, though, never stopped trying to win and the few times she was on her feet, she landed some tough right hands. But Zhang capitalized on almost every mistake Lemos made, as she expected it to. Other times, Zhang has created her own openings.
“I’m not surprised because I have a great team,” Zhang said. “All the coaches gave me the technique to make the fight happen like this.”
Lemos never gave up and forced Zhang to continue working, and it worked. Her conditioning was flawless, considering her production, and after she slowed briefly in the fourth, she picked it up again in the fifth and was hitting Lemos.
Zhang made the case that she is now the Sterling Women’s Champion and it’s hard to argue with that given her overall dominance recently and sheer dominance during this fight.
The crowd gave her a hero’s welcome and chanted her name throughout the fight.
Few have done better in a title fight than Zhang did on Saturday. And few have taken punishment and gone more under their power than Lemos.
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