Tecia Torres and Weili Zhang were on different ends of the mixed martial arts (MMA) spectrum heading into their women’s Strawweight bout tonight (Sat., March 2, 2019) at UFC 235, which took place inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. “Tiny Tornado” was on a two-fight losing skid, while “Magnum” was on an 18-fight tear dating back to 2014.
Make that 19 after Zhang was able to dominate Torres en route to a unanimous decision victory after three rounds of action.
Zhang opened up the action with a fancy spinning attack, which she followed up with a high kick, but neither of which were able to get through Torres’ defenses. Zhang landed a nice overhand left, but Torres countered with a right hand of her own. Zhang landed two more spinning back kicks and a nice shot upstairs, triggering a scramble that Torres was able to escape with a quickness. Zhang struggled for a takedown with two minutes remaining in the round, which Torres fought off well, but the Chinese fighter managed to circle behind her and jump on her back. Torres was eventually able to spin her off and clipped her with a nice, hard right hand on the break. Torres scored her own takedown with a few seconds remaining in the round, but Zhang pulled off a nice reversal as the clock expired.
Round two opened with both ladies bouncing back-and-forth, with Zhang scoring first with a flush spinning backfist. It took about two minutes for things to heat up, with both fighters trading hard shots in the center of the Octagon. Zhang attempted to throw Torres, but she stood her ground and used the fence to remain upright. Zhang eventually got her to the ground and dished out a little ground-and-pound before Torres flipped her over and landed on top in her guard. Torres was unable to do anything with the dominant position, though, with Zhang landing a nice upkick at the buzzer.
Torres started the third and final frame with a nice front kick to Zhang’s belly, then an effective sidekick that also found its mark. Zhang responded by charging in with a wild combination, but it was Torres who scored with the harder shots as she was trying to retreat. Torres caught a spinning back kick, but then ate an elbow to the face as both her hands were occupied. Zhang scored a big takedown along the cage, but was unable to land anything significant as Torres hid her face in Zhang’s mid-section. Zhang eventually was able to land some hard elbows to Torres’ face — she was unable to get out from underneath her Chinese opponent.
And that ultimately is what did her in, as Zhang controlled her for the duration of the round. She was also the more dynamic and dominant fighter throughout all three rounds, earning a unanimous decision nod from all three judges who were sitting ringside.
Zhang is on her way up, while Torres is on her way down. Indeed, a 19-fight win streak in MMA is impressive. And she was able to accomplish it at the expense of the No. 7-ranked female in the division.
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