Rose Namajunas narrowly defeats Zhang Weili to retain UFC women’s strawweight title

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Rose Namajunas retained her strawweight title, defeating Zhang Weili in a split decision Saturday night. The contest served as a rematch of April’s UFC 261 fight, which Namajunas won via knockout.

Saturday’s affair was a much closer challenge, with two judges scoring it for Namajunas, 49-46 and 48-47, and another ruling in favor of Zhang, 48-47.

Zhang started the fight with some early momentum, landing several leg kicks to hold off Namajunas. Later into the match, Namajunas began to shine, securing crucial takedowns in the late rounds.

“I had a feeling it was going to be a way tougher fight and she improved a lot,” Namajunas said of Zhang. “I give her some props and I know what I have to work on now.”

The fight marks the second consecutive loss for Zhang after a 21-bout winning streak.