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Joanna Jedrzejczyk: Zhang Weili is ‘not the same’ after epic first fight

UFC 248: Zhang v Jedrzejczyk Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

UFC 248 in March 2020 hosted one of the greatest mixed martial arts (MMA) fights of all time. This Saturday night (June 11, 2022) at UFC 275 in Singapore, fans will get to see it run back.

Then-Strawweight queenpin out of China, Zhang Weili, went to war with the division’s all-time best and former long-time reigning champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk. After a grueling five rounds that saw the record set for most significant strikes landed in a female fight, Zhang walked away “and still” via split decision (watch highlights).

Jedrzejczyk hasn’t fought since.

In the meantime, “Magnum” has dropped her title, suffering two setbacks to Rose Namajunas. changing up her training camp throughout the series.

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BLOCKBUSTER CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLEHEADER! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) International Fight Week returns to T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sat., July 2, 2022, capped by a stacked card headlined by a blockbuster championship double header. In UFC 276’s pay-per-view (PPV) main event, reigning Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, defends his crown against No. 2-ranked contender, Jared Cannonier. In the co-main event, Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, has his sights set on successfully defending his title once again against No. 1-seeded contender, Max Holloway, for the third (and likely final) time.

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“I don’t know. I think that she’s not the same after our first fight,” Jedrzejczyk told MMA Junkie, when asked her thoughts on Zhang’s changeups since their first fight. “Of course, I lost, but she’s not the same, but she’s still one of the most dangerous in the division and it’s going to be a hell of a fight.

“I don’t know why she’s changing camps,” she added. “Ah, also because of the restrictions in China we can’t put the blame on her. I’m very happy that she’s here, I’m here, in a few days we’re going to step into the Octagon because I know how hard it is for her — for Chinese people — to travel, leave the country [right now].”

Going into Zhang’s instant rematch with Namajunas in Nov. 2021, she trained at Fight Ready in Scottsdale, Ariz., as opposed to her usual gym, Black Tiger MMA, in her home of Beijing. Aside from wanting to hone her skills in new areas, Zhang was also affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

For the Jedrzejczyk rematch, Zhang has done a portion of her camp in Thailand at Bangtao Muay Thai.

“It’s not Weili’s fault,” Jedrzejczyk said. “It must be difficult for her to change this all the time but I believe she has people who have been with her for a longer time that she doesn’t have to worry about changing teams, camps, people all the time and she doesn’t know what to do. She’s ready, I know she’s ready.

“It’s going to be a medical procedure,” she concluded. “I’m going to be the best surgeon and I will pick the right tools and use them at the right time. Sharp.”

Despite both fighters coming off losses, UFC President, Dana White, stated Tuesday (June 7, 2022) when speaking to The Underground that the winner of this rematch will “definitely” be next in line to face the champion, Carla Esparza.

Poll

Who wins this weekend?

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    Zhang Weili
    (448 votes)
  • 40%
    Joanna Jedrzejczyk
    (300 votes)
748 votes total Vote Now

Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 275 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN2/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 275: “Teixeira vs. Prochazka” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.