Looking to kickstart her second reign atop the strawweight throne in August as she tackles Brazilian contender, Amanda Lemos, undisputed champion, Zhang Weili faces likely an uphill battle to remain gold holder, according to recent winner, Tabatha Ricci.
Weili, the current undisputed and two-time strawweight champion, managed to reclaim the divisional belt in blistering fashion at UFC 281 back in November of last year at Madison Square Garden – defeated two-time titleholder, Carla Esparza with a brutal second round rear-naked choke submission win.
As for Belém native, Lemos, the current number four ranked challenger has landed a series of victories en route to her premiere title outing under the banner of the UFC, most recently stopping compatriot, Marina Rodriguez with a slew of third round strikes in their November headliner at the UFC Apex facility.
Amanda Lemos backed to likely defeat Zhang Weili for gold at UFC 292
13-2 as a professional, Brazilian finisher, Lemos – who has scored eight career knockout wins to go with a further three submission stoppages, has been backed by her compatriot, Ricci to put up a stern and likely, mountable challenge to Zhang Weili in August at the TD Garden.
“I’m not surprised [at Amanda Lemos’ title shot with Zhang Weili),” Tabatah Ricci told SportsKeeda MMA. “She’s been doing really well. She’s been finishing fights, knocking people out. She deserves the shot, for sure.”
“I think she (Amanda Lemos) has a big chance,” Ricci explained. “I think she’s a more complete fighter. She has the ground game, too. So, I think it’s going to be very interesting.” (Transcribed by MMA News)
Landing in the Octagon with a stoppage loss to Leslie Smith, Lemos’ sole other defeat came in the form of a Submission of the Year contender against former strawweight champion, Jessica Andrade – with the Brazilian securing wins over Miranda Granger, Mizuki Inoue, Livia Renta Souza, Montserrat Ruiz, Angela Hill, and Michelle Waterson-Gomez.