UFC Fight Night 157 Squared Up | Zhang vs Andrade: Fight Analysis & Predictions

Jason Paglia

Thursday, August 29, 2019 6:39 AM UTC

Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019 6:39 AM UTC

Jessica Andrade fresh off her UFC Strawweight championship win goes into to enemy territory to fight Weili Zhang in China this Saturday. Who wins the strap? OddsMarket MMA team has you covered.

<div><p>The UFC invades China for UFC Fight Night 157. It goes down Saturday morning at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre in Shenzhen, China. The main event features one fighter who just reached the pinnacle of her career and another fighter ascending up the mountain faster than most expected. Can the challenger Weili Zhang continue her momentum when she squares off against newly crowned strawweight champion Jessica Andrade? Can Andrade solidify herself and vindicate the championship she just won with another winning effort? IT’S TIME!!! Let’s get after it.</p><h2><strong>JESSICA ANDRADE (20-6) vs Weili Zhang (19-1)</strong></h2><div> </div><div style="text-align:center"><strong><img alt src="https://sportshub.cbsistatic.com/i/r/2018/09/09/a24c32fb-f87e-41b3-83e0-df2ec9557e17/thumbnail/770x433/09fbec50598732a0edee3d8f8c4b2bf4/jessica-andrade.jpg" style="width:700px;height:394px" /></strong></div><div style="text-align:center"><b>Jessica Andrade</b></div><div> </div><div><p>Jessica Andrade stands all of 5’ 2” tall and has done nothing but wreak havoc in multiple divisions for the better part of four years. Now she goes into enemy territory to make people realize it wasn’t a fluke that she won the strawweight championship against Rose Namajunas. She has never looked better than she does right now. Andrade has won 4 of her last 5 fights, but it was her last fight that left some open questions. She was losing her fight against Rose Namajunas, right up until she won. She was getting dismantled on the feet and when she finally got her hands on Namajunas, she picked her up and slammed Namajunas on her head so hard, that she knocked her out instantaneously and won the strawweight championship. Now Andrade will walk to the Octagon Saturday with a ton of confidence and that makes her dangerous. Can she get it done? Will she prove to the doubters that it wasn’t a fluke? Let's take a look at Andrade by the numbers.</p><p><strong><u>― STATS ―</u></strong></p><p>•<strong>Method of Victory •Significant Strikes </strong>(per/min)<strong> •Takedowns </strong></p><p>▪7 wins by TKO ▪ 6.55 Landed ▪ 58.33% Accuracy</p><p>▪6 wins by Decision ▪ 5.13 Absorbed ▪ 76.19% Defended</p><p>▪7 wins by Submission</p><p><strong><u>― PROS ―</u></strong></p><p>• <strong>Striking</strong> When prepping for this fight, I was very surprised to see that Andrade lands 6.55 significant strikes per minute on her opponents. That is way more than I expected, so I gave her striking the nod and threw it in the PROS column.</p><p>• <strong>Strength </strong>One thing that shocks all of Andrade’s opponents is her freakish strength. If the Hulk wasn’t green, was 5’ 2” and was a female that lived in Brazil, he would be Jessica Andrade.</p><p>• <strong>Stamina </strong>Stamina is usually an issue for fighters that are very muscular because their muscles eat up oxygen faster then lean fighters, but Andrade doesn’t have that problem. She is so small in stature that it gives her the ability to have cardio for days. This will suit her well if and when she gets to the championship rounds.</p><p><strong><u>― CONS ―</u></strong></p><p>• <strong>Predictability </strong>Jessica Andrade’s style works for her. It’s basically move-forward slowly and hulk smash. The problem is, this will work for her until it doesn’t. You are at a disadvantage in fights when your opponent knows what you will do before you do it. Zhang will know what she is going to do before she does it.</p><p>• <b>Size </b>Saturday night Andrade will give up height and reach in this fight and that is a problem. Zhang is taller, bigger, and at the very least as strong. She also uses range beautifully darting in and out which makes her fight longer than she really is. That is a problem for Andrade.</p><p>• <b>Movement </b>Andrade’s style is not fast. She moves forward always but it’s a slow and plodding pressure. Zhang will be able to get out of trouble when striking, because Andrade’s movement is not traditional.</p><div style="text-align:center"><img alt src="https://radiichina.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/zhang-weili-torres-ufc.jpg" style="width:700px;height:394px" /></div><div style="text-align:center"><b>Weili Zhang</b></div><div> </div><div><p>Born in Hebei, China, Weili Zhang has only been fighting as a professional mixed martial artist since 2013. Growing up she began training in different practices from a young age. She started practicing in Sanda and Shuai Jiao. A few years later she began training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and finally in 2013 she made her pro debut. Although she started on the regional scene, she fought most of her professional fights for Kunlan Fight MMA. In 14 fights for Kunlan Fight MMA, she won 14 times. The only fight she has ever lost was the first fight of her MMA career. With a record of 16-1 the UFC took notice and signed her to a multi fight contract.</p><p>At UFC 227 she made her UFC debut against Danielle Taylor and won that fight by unanimous decision. It was at UFC Fight Night 141 however, (where Zhang submitted Jessica Aguilar by armbar) that the MMA community started to take notice. In her last fight at UFC: 235, she took on one of the strawweight gate keepers. Tecia Torres was a solid UFC veteran that had beaten decorated strawweights up and down the roster. She had no chance. Weili Zhang avoided every takedown and manhandled Torres for three rounds, which earned her a chance to fight in front of her home country for a shot at immortality. Can Zhang reach the mountain top? Below is a look at Weili Zhang by the numbers.</p><p><strong><u>― STATS ―</u></strong></p><p>•<strong>Method of Victory •Significant Strikes </strong>(per/min)<strong> •Takedowns </strong></p><p>▪9 win by TKO ▪5.49 Landed ▪ 30.77% Accuracy</p><p>▪3 wins by Decision ▪2.17 Absorbed ▪ 100% Defended</p><p>▪7 wins by Submission</p><p><strong><u>― PROS ―</u></strong></p><p>•<strong>Striking </strong>She is a very technical striker that has good hand speed, great footwork and power in both hands. Many fighters forget that they can use their legs in a fight, Weili Zhang does not. Her legs strikes are almost as effective as her hands are.</p><p>• <strong>Movement/Range </strong>Zhang has phenomenal movement in the cage. She is always on her toes and never flat footed, unlike her opponent. She uses her range well, and darts in and out, giving damage while avoiding damage.</p><p>• <strong>Takedown Defense </strong>The UFC has her takedown defense at 100%. As in she has never been taken down in the UFC.</p><p>• <strong>Strength </strong>Jessica Andrade will fight someone that is as strong as her for the first time in years, maybe ever. Weili Zhang is built like a machine and at the very least is as strong as Andrade and at most stronger. THIS WILL BE HUGE!</p><p><strong><u>― CONS ―</u></strong></p><p>•<strong>Striking Defense </strong>I know the UFC has her listed as absorbing 2.17 strikes per minute, BUT she is open for a really good counter striker to take advantage. She hasn’t fought a good counter striker yet. Andrade is not a great counter striker, but she is better than what Zhang has faced thus far. Zhang’s movement will decide whether or not Andrade can take advantage of her openings.</p><p>•<b>Stamina </b>Although Zhang has fought through the adversity, she has looked gassed in multiple fights throughout her career. Andrade knows she will have to impose her will to win this fight. If Andrade starts chaining takedowns successfully, we will know that Zhang is fading.</p><p><a href="http://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=168&amp;a=4417b7df-a48f-47f3-9b45-f79858bc083a&amp;f=3" target="_blank"><img alt src="https://images-production-euw2-753931602578.s3.amazonaws.com/5d582dcf927b95968483da5f/original-10-bet-new-customer-welcome-bonus" style="width:100%" /></a></p><h2><strong>THE VERDICT</strong></h2><p><strong>So, who wins this fight? Well, I backed Rose Namajunas in Andrade’s last fight because of the advantage she had in movement and striking. If you remember, the one thing that worried me in that fight was the strength advantage that Andrade had over Namajunas. What did we see in that fight? Namajunas destroyed Andrade on the feet for 2 rounds. She would have been up 2 rounds to none until Andrade grabbed her and dropped her on her head, instantly knocking her out. That is how Andrade won her championship and that is why people think she has to vindicate herself on Saturday.</strong></p><p><strong>Here is the problem with the whole vindication thing, I think it’s a real possibility she loses this fight. That is not my angle. I think I found a better angle on this fight, but I do think Zhang has a great chance to win this fight. She has better movement than Andrade, she is as technical a striker as Andrade is, and most of all she is as strong as Andrade is. That might be the deciding factor in this fight. </strong></p><p><strong>She will be able to avoid the takedowns that Namajunas couldn’t. If she avoids being knocked out, she can absolutely win this fight. She has the great use of range that Namajunas had, she is more powerful a striker than Namajunas is, and she has the strength to match Andrade. Jessica Andrade will probably not be able to take her down so she will be head hunting for a knockout. If Zhang avoids that knockout power, she probably wins a really tough decision.</strong></p><p><strong>The angle I chose is this, Zhang has NEVER BEEN STOPPED. 20 fights, 1 loss by decision. At the same time, Jessica Andrade is extremely durable and will be very hard for Zhang to stop. Can this fight go into the championship rounds? YES it absolutely can, and I am counting on just that. </strong></p><h2><strong>THE PICK</strong></h2><p><strong><em>Fight to Start Round 4 at 20/31 (1.64)</em></strong></p></div></div></div>
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