Report – Tentative plans for Zhang Weili to return at UFC Singapore event in April

Weili
Mandatory Credit: AP

While an opponent for incumbent UFC strawweight champion, Zhang ‘Magnum’ Weili has yet to be nailed down, it seems at least, that the promotion is honing in on a location and date for the reigning champion’s second attempted title defence.

Linked continously with a tie against former 115-pound titleholder, ‘Thug’ Rose Namajunas ever since the latter’s rematch success over another former gold holder, Jessica ‘Bate Estaca’ Andrade in July — it appears the UFC and Team Namajunas have their respective wires crossed in regards to a potential title clash with Weili.

UFC president, Dana White detailed how he wasn’t sure if Namajunas was entirely sold on the prospect of another title challenge under the promotion’s banner, while Pat Barry, Namajunas’ partner and coach absolutely refuted those claims and told how if the organization had some confusion regarding the situation, they should get into contact with them.

An option reportedly explored by the UFC according to White would be a championship matchup of Weili and inaugural UFC and Invicta FC strawweight gold holder, Carla ‘Cookie Monster’ Esparza — who extended her winning streak to four-fights in July last as she grabbed a close split decision win over recent UFC 257 big winner, Marina Rodriguez, also on ‘Fight Island’ in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

According to a report from SCMP MMA and Asian MMA reporter, John Hyon Ko recently, the promotion are tentatively planning on an April outing to Singapore on either the 17th. or 24th. — with a strawweight title matchup between Weili and an as of yet unknown challenger floated to take main event honours. 

A trip to Singapore for the UFC would mark the first occasion the promotion travelled internationally besides their trio of journeys to the Middle East since July — with its only other international outing coming at UFC Fight Night Brasilia in March last year, where streaking lightweight contender, Charles ‘Do Bronx’ Oliveira stopped former interim title challenger, Kevin ‘The Mo’Town Phenom’ Lee with a third-round guillotine in a main event clash.

Restricted to events in Jacksonville, Florida at the Vystar Veteran’s Memorial Arena, and the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada — a visit to Singapore, which recently welcomed the return of hometown promotion, Chatri Sityodtong’s ONE Championship — would mark an international return for the UFC.

Involved in the consensus 2020 Fight of the Year back in March at UFC 248 — Weili took co-main event status against former dominant champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, battling over five gruelling rounds to nab a close split decision triumph and notch the first successful title knockback in her belt. 

Weili most recently featured in Asia back in August of 2019 where she dethroned then-champion, Andrade with a quickfire knockout at the fence in the headliner of UFC Fight Night Shenzhen on home soil. 

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