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Carla Esparza just benched Zhang Weili — ‘Let’s get some fresh blood in there’

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The Ultimate Fighter Finale: Esparza v Namajunas Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Former UFC strawweight champion Zhang Weili was unhappy with her stoppage in the UFC 261 pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event last April in Jacksonville and even more unhappy with the Florida boo birds, which is why she’s demanding an immediate rematch.

Not happening.

Not if former 115-pound titleholder Carla Esparza has anything to say about it. “Cookie Monster” will try to secure her rematch against reigning champion Rose Namajunas by tuning away Yan Xiaonan in the UFC Vegas 27 co-main event this Sat. night (May 22, 2021) inside APEX in Las Vegas.

“I’m definitely thinking this is a No. 1 contender fight,” Esparza recently told MMA Junkie. “I think most people are, especially the way the title fight mixed up recently. Let’s get some fresh blood in there.”

Esparza, 33, submitted Namajunas to win the 115-pound title as part of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 20 Finale back in late 2014, before promptly dropping the strap to Joanna Jedrzejczyk the following March.

“A lot can happen in seven years,” Esparza continued. “I think for both of us, we both developed a lot more skills, grown up a lot. Nothing but respect for how far she’s come since we fight and I think if we fought again it would be a very exciting fight.

Esparza (17-6), ranked No. 4, is the winner of four straight.