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Coach: ‘Technical’ Weili Zhang not afraid of ground game against ‘talented’ Rose Namajunas

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UFC 248: Open Workouts Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) strawweight champion Rose Namajunas already had one opportunity to face reigning 115-pound titleholder Weili Zhang, but turned the fight down after struggling with her mental health.

No word yet from the promotion on what the latest hang up is, but UFC President Dana White has been working on it for the last couple of months. According to jiu-jitsu coach Pedro Jordao, the fight will likely take place in first quarter 2021.

“People say (Weili) is very strong, but we’ve seen how technical she is, too,” Jordao told MMA Fighting. “I trust Weili and think she will be able to defeat Rose. I know how powerful her strikes are, her technique on the ground, how strong is her guillotine and rear-naked choke, her armbar. She’s very confident on the ground. She’s not afraid to go to the ground.”

The 31 year-old Zhang (21-1) captured the division crown with a first-round thrashing of Brazilian bruiser Jessica Andrade, then made her first successful title defense in a “Fight of the Year” candidate opposite ex-champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

As for Namajunas, 28, her record improved to 9-4 with last July’s split-decision victory over Andrade at UFC 251, avenging her championship loss to “Bate Estaca” in the process. Zhang is now the only thing standing between “Thug” and the strawweight title.