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Zhang Weili vs. Amanda Lemos full fight preview | UFC 292

UFC 281: Adesanya v Pereira Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Strawweight finishers Zhang Weili and Amanda Lemos will collide this weekend (Sat., Aug. 19, 2023) at UFC 292 inside TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

Weili 2.0 is a big problem for the Strawweight division. Her pair of losses to Rose Namajunas inspired “Magnum” to double down on her wrestling skill, and the results have been spectacular. She pummeled her last two opponents to regain the belt, looking more dangerous in every area as a result of her new offensive options. Whenever an underdog goes against a top-tier champion, having great finishing ability helps inspire some hope. Lemos has that gift in spades, bolstered by vicious punching power and great timing that could be just the ticket to disrupting Weili’s dominance.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each woman:

LIVE! Watch UFC 293 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

MASSIVE MIDDLEWEIGHT MATCH! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its highly anticipated return to Sydney, Australia, for the first time in five years on Sat., Sept. 9, 2023, with a 185-pound world title fight inside Qudos Bank Arena. In the ESPN+-streamed pay-per-view (PPV) main event, Middleweight roost-ruler, Israel Adesanya, plans to silence No. 5-seeded contender, Sean Strickland. In UFC 293’s hard-hitting Heavyweight co-main event, No-6-ranked fan favorite, Tai Tuivasa, locks horns with towering Russian, Alexander Volkov (No. 8).

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

Zhang Weili

Record: 23-3
Key Wins: Joanna Jedrzejczyk (UFC 275, UFC 248), Jessica Andrade (UFC Fight Night 157), Carla Esparza (UFC 281), Tecia Torres (UFC 235), Jessica Aguilar (UFC Fight Night 141), Danielle Taylor (UFC 227)
Key Losses: Rose Namajunas (UFC 261, UFC 268)
Keys to Victory: Zhang is one of the most athletic fighters in UFC history. It’s not just that she’s exceptionally quick, conditioned, and powerful, but Zhang also has a unique ability to grow and learn at a much better rate than almost anyone else. She improves drastically between camps, which is really saying something for an already elite fighter.

All the skill in the world doesn’t matter if she gets clipped, however. Lemos is a sharp counter puncher with real power, the kind that could topple an aggressive champion accustomed to being the hammer.

Fortunately, Zhang has skills beyond the pocket. I’d like to see Zhang implement her wrestling here. Historically, Lemos has slowed down in fights — most notably versus Angela Hill — and that’s a huge advantage for Zhang in a 25-minute contest. Lemos’ hands won’t appear so fast after some wrestling exchanges and a few side kicks to the gut.

Once Lemos isn’t at her sharpest, Zhang can feel more confident stepping into the pocket and trading.

Amanda Lemos

Record: 13-2-1
Key Wins: Marina Rodriguez (UFC Vegas 64), Michelle Waterson (UFC Long Island), Angela Hill (UFC Vegas 45), Montserrat Ruiz (UFC Vegas 31), Livia Renata Souza (UFC 259)
Key Losses: Jessica Andrade (UFC Vegas 52), Leslie Smith (UFC Fight Night 113).
Keys to Victory: I keep using Deiveson Figueiredo as my go-to comparison to Lemos, because it fits! She stands with her base wide, enabling her to move forward quickly with power kicks or lead straights, and her ability to generate power is extra deadly on the back foot.

If Lemos is to score the upset, it’s probably off a counter shot. “Magnum” throws herself into exchanges with the kind of vicious confident that only comes from athletes accustomed to dominating their foes physically. It’s not easy to deal with, but it’s also an opportunity for Lemos. Any time Lemos times a counter shot as Zhang steps into the pocket, she’s effectively doubling her already considerable power by using Zhang’s speed against her.

That’s easier said than done, of course. To help bait Zhang, I’d like to see Lemos stalking forward and firing power kicks. No fighter likes getting backed into a corner or being blasted by kicks to the mid-section, particularly an aggressive athlete like Zhang.

It should prove the perfect bait for a trap.

Bottom Line

The Strawweight title is on the line.

Actually, this is a pretty great time for the 115-pound division! Tatiana Suarez has returned to mix in stellar fashion, finally returning from injury to live up to her potential. Xiaonan Yan is in the immediate title hunt as well, thanks to her remarkable knockout win over Jessica Andrade. Either could serve as the next contender for the belt, and the latest version of Mackenzie Dern seems more dangerous than ever too.

Neither Weili nor Lemos has fought any of those women, which promises exciting new match ups in the future. In particular, there’s a clear path for a Weili vs. Yan title fight in China if “Magnum” is victorious here, which could be a simply huge fight for the division and sport.

Beyond future match ups, Weili is fighting to really establish her second reign and move ahead in all-time Strawweight discussions. Lemos, meanwhile, is 36 years of age. This is her moment to become a champion, or it probably never happens given the talent-rich status of the division.

At UFC 292, Zhang Weili will attempt to defend her belt opposite Amanda Lemos. Who leaves the cage strapped with gold?

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 292 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard 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 292: “Sterling vs. O’Malley” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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