UFC 281: Adesanya vs. Pereira took place Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Former UFC champion Zhang Weili (23-3) took on UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza (19-7) in the co-main event on the night’s main card. The fight aired live on ESPN+ pay-per-view.
Catch the video highlights below.
For more on Weili vs. Esparza, check out the live blog from MMA Fighting’s Alexander K. Lee.
Both fighters keeping their distance. Zhang with a leg kick, but it’s Esparza who lands the first punch, a glancing right across Zhang’s chin. Esparza’s jab is keeping Zhang at bay. Zhang sticking with leg kicks as she tries to close the distance. Body kick by Zhang. Zhang tags Esparza with a counter left. She starts flicking out high kicks, but Esparza is staying out of range.
Esparza lands a right, her corner shouting at her to follow up. Zhang continues to open up with her offense and just misses with a head kick. Takedown by Esparza, but Zhang starts scrambling. She wants to take Esparza’s back and just muscles her way into position. Zhang briefly in mount throwing punches, Esparza scrambles well to get into Zhang’s guard. Elbow from the top by Esparza.
Zhang with an active guard, Esparza backs out and throws a few punches as Zhang stands. Zhang hits Esparza with a right hand. Single leg by Esparza, Zhang reverses and ends up in side control. Esparza tough to hold down, she gets Zhang into half guard. Zhang sneaking in punches as Esparza improves position. Zhang avoids an armbar and they’re back on the feet as the round comes to an end.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Zhang.
Zhang with a jab. Esparza comes forward but gets hit by a hard right. Power double by Esparza, Zhang scrambles out again. Zhang not letting Esparza reverse position easily, she has one arm trapped between her legs. Zhang’s arms under the chin and she locks in a choke, that is tight. Esparza taps!