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UFC 248 live blog: Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk 
Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk will clash in the UFC 248 co-main event.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

This is the UFC 248 live blog for Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk, the strawweight championship co-main event on Saturday in Las Vegas.

Weili attempts the first defense of the strawweight title she won this past August with a first-round stoppage of Jessica Andrade. Jedrzejczyk, the former 115-pound champ, tries for a second time to recapture the title she lost to Rose Namajunas.

Check out the UFC 248 live blog below.

Round 1: Keith Peterson is the third person in the cage for this championship bout. Jedrzejczyk comes out and takes the center but there’s a definite feeling out process to start the bout. Jedrzejczyk lands the first good shot with a short left hand. Zhang comes in with a combination and Jedrzejczyk lands a sharp right hand that moves Zhang back a few steps. Jedrzejczyk is looking crisp to start and Zhang seems to be figuring out the range. Jedrzejczyk lands a good combination inside but Zhang is throwing HEAT back at her. If those start landing, Jedrzejczyk will be in trouble. Half way through the first, Jedrzejczyk is dictating the fight at range but Zhang is now starting to crowd more and starting to walk Jedrzejczyk down. Jedrzejczyk is now on the retreat as Zhang has decided to just walk through the fire and let her power be the difference maker. Zhang lands astrong right hand that has Jedrzejczyk in full retreat. Jedrzejczyk is landing combinations but Zhang is landing the bigger shots now. Will be interesting to see if Zhang can keep swinging hammers like this but she catches a kick from Jedrzejczyk and lands a thudding right hand. Jedrzejczyk is now sitting on her counters more to back Zhang off and she’s landing good leg kicks on the outside. This is a tremendous fight so far! But Jedrzejczyk lands a punch after the bell that gets a bad reaction from the crowd.

MMAFighting scores 10-9 Jedrzejczyk

Round 2: Stats show the first round was a dead even 28 strikes apiece. Round two starts with Jedrzejczyk on the offensive, landing a combination that gets Zhang’s attention. The dynamic is clear at this point, Jedrzejczyk has volume and Zhang has power. Jedrzejczyk is working leg kicks more effectively and now Zhang is coming forward with Jedrzejczyk on her bike. Zhang shoots the first takedown of the fight and Jedrzejczyk stuffs it. Now we have a clinch fight and it’s a back-and-forth for control. Good elbows in the clinch fom Zhang but good knees to the body from Jedrzejczyk. They’re back at range now with Zhang on the prowl again but Jedrzejczyk counters well. Zhang lands a monster right hand that has Jedrzejczyk stunned! Joanna is in retreat, a clinch occurs and Zhang scores a takedown. Jedrzejczyk stands back up and still looks a little gunshy. Zhang lands another great right hand. And another. This is an awesome fight. Another right hand from Zhang and it is just tattooing Jedrzejczyk at this point. Jedrzejczyk now coming forward with jabs and combinations. Big left high kick from Jedrzejczyk stuns Zhang! Jedrzejczyk rushes forward but the buzzer sounds. WHAT A FIGHT.

MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 Zhang (19-19 overall).

Round 3: Zhang’s coach carried her to her corner at the end of round three but she looks okay to start the third. A big exchange happens immediately and neither woman is backing down. Zhang seems to get the better of it though and she’s marching forward. Big left hook from Zhang snaps Jedrzejczyk’s head back. Whoever is coming forward is mostly winning and Jedrzejczyk lands a great left hand that has Zhang backing up now. Jedrzejczyk has switched to southpaw and it’s working wonders. Zhang is getting marked up with straight left hands. Zhang is still tring to figure out the southpaw and Jedrzejczyk is picking her sports well. Jedrzejczyk has Zhang backed up and is now flowing with the stick-and-move.Zhang has found leg kicks to be a good tool for her in this round though and she now forces a clinch and gets Jedrzejczyk to the canvas briefly. Jedrzejczyk reverses against the cage and separates. Good body kick from Zhang. Zhang catches a kick and drags Jedrzejczyk to the ground but Jedrzejczyk is right back up. Wow, Jedrzejczyk has a huge hemotoma on her forehead now, unclear from what. Zhang is pickign her sports now more and some power seems to have dropped off. Jedrzejczyk stuns Zhang with a big left hand! Zhang is now on the retreat. A head kick from Jedrzejczyk gets Zhang on the backfoot and the round ends.

MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 Jedrzejczyk (29-28 Jedrzejczyk overall).

Round 4: Apparently it was a right hand from Zhang that caused the hematoma. The fourth starts with Zhang landing a good body kick and looking rejuvenated. Great exhcnage but Jedrzejczyk wins and has Zhang backing up. Now Zhang stumbles Jedrzejczyk with a big left hand. Huge kick from Jedrzejczyk. Big exchange and Jedrzejczyk gets her head snapped back. Both women are showing it and Jedrzejczyk lands a pair fo good knees in the clinch. Zhang is still throwing hard but she looks like she’s fading. Jedrzejczyk lands a clean combo and is starting to come on. Heac kick glances from Jedrzejczyk and check hook as well. Now Jedrzejczyk is really playing the matador as Zhang is coming in on straight lines. Big left hook from Zhang gets Jedrzejczyk’s attention. Big right hand from Zhang. And another! But Jedrzejczyk seems to be eating the power now better. Jedrzejczyk firing back but Zhang is feeling it again. Exchanges! Huge elbow from Jedrzejczyk and Zhang is backed up against the fence! This is a phenomenal bout. Zhang reverses and lands good combination on the break. Zhang is backed up now but the pop is back on her punches. Jedrzejczyk’s forehead is a balloon. Big left hook from Jedrzejczyk. Zhang comes forward and the horn sounds on a razor close round.

MMAFighting score the round 10-9 Zhang (38-38 overall).

Round 5: The scores could be anywhere heading into the final round. Big exchange to start the round.The dynamic of power versus volume seems to have returned but Zhang is landing less than she did before. Big left hook snaps Jedrzejczyk’s head. Zhang is now on the prowl as Jedrzejczyk seems to have broken her nose. Another left hook and Zhang is starting to take this round. Jedrzejczyk stuns Zhang with a left hook. And another! Zhang returns fire. Exchanges! Zhang lands a left and Jedrzejczyk clinches. Great right hand from Jedrzejczyk on the break. TWo minutes left and this is anyone’s fight. Zhang on the offensive. Jedrzejczyk sticking and moving. Great right hand from Jedrzejczyk. Head kick from Jedrzejczyk but Zhang is coming in with power. Zhang catches a kick. Jedrzejczyk catches a kick. Both are fireing and Jedrzejczyk is on the offensive. Lots of keg kicks this round and a big right hand from Jedrzejczyk. Zhang misses a spinning attack. A spinning backfirst from Jedrzejczyk wobbles Zhang with seconds left and Zhang smashes her right back as the horn sounds. That may well be the greatest women’s fight in MMA history and it’s now the front-runner for Fight of the Year.

MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 Jedrzejczyk, 48-47 Jedrzejczyk overall.

Official decision Zhang Weili defeats Joanna Jedrzejczyk by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47).

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