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Thread: Zhang Weili

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    Song Yadong

    This looks promising.

    MMA: From Shaolin temple to MMA star - meet China's 'Monkey King'

    MMA star Song Yadong has recently replaced "The Terminator" as his fight name with "The Monkey King", in reference to the mythical Chinese hero Sun Wukong.PHOTO: AFP

    PUBLISHED NOV 23, 2018, 5:23 PM SGT

    BEIJING (AFP) - Song Yadong was so obsessed with Chinese martial arts that he convinced him mother to pack him up and send him off to learn at the feet of the famous kung fu masters of Shaolin.

    He was just nine years old at the time.

    "I had watched a lot of kung fu movies, so I wanted to be like my heroes, like Jet Li," said Song. "I went to Shaolin and I trained, getting up each day at 5am. It was harder than I ever expected."

    A decade later and Song's thirst for action has led him into the ranks of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and on to the biggest stage in mixed martial arts.

    "I left Shaolin after two years and then I learned about MMA," said the 20-year-old. "I like the action, I like the fact every fight tests you and that you always have to work to be the best fighter you can be."

    Song is at the forefront of the Las Vegas-based promotion's push into China, the country many consider the spiritual home of all martial arts, and the Tianjin-born fighter is among nine locals set to take part in the UFC's first fight card to be held in the Chinese capital.

    Saturday (Nov 24) night sees the UFC Fight Night 141 event at Beijing's Cadillac Arena headlined by a blockbuster bout between heavyweight contenders Cameroonian-Frenchman Francis "The Predator" Ngannou (11-3) and American Curtis "Razor" Blaydes.

    But there is little doubt where Chinese fans' attention - and hopes - will rest.

    "It will be the biggest chance for us Chinese fighters and for the sport to grow in China," said Song, who will face American Vince "Vandetta" Morales on Saturday night.

    Song's rise to the UFC has captured China's attention, as has the origin story he carries with him.

    When he was 15, Song was so focused on becoming a professional MMA fighter that he used a forged ID card to convince local promotions that he was 18, and legally allowed to fight.

    "I was super-aggressive back then," said Song. "I just wanted to fight so I used the fake ID. I looked strong enough so they believed me."

    After plying his trade in domestic and regional fight promotions - and racking up a fight record of 10 wins and three losses - Song received a surprise call last November, just weeks before the UFC was set to make its debut in mainland China.

    Called in to replace an injured fighter on the UFC Fight Night 122 card, Song needed just over four minutes to choke out India's Bharat Khandare. He has since backed up that performance with a second-round knockout of the Brazilian veteran Filipe Arantes in Singapore in June, and so comes to Beijing on a 2-0 run and with a 12-3 win-loss record overall.

    "There is still a lot of room for improvement in my skills," said Song. "I am focused on winning step by step, fight by fight. I have been training with (UFC Hall of Famer) Urijah Faber and his Team Alpha Male in California and I am learning.

    "Chinese fighters need more experience but soon we will be a force."

    The UFC currently has 11 Chinese fighters on its books, a mix of established stars such as the veteran welterweight Li "The Leech" Jingliang and rising stars such as Song and female strawweight Zhang Weili, with all three in action on Saturday.

    This week the organisation announced an investment of around US$13 million (S$17.8 million) in what it called the world's biggest MMA academy in Shanghai, designed to help Chinese fighters make the transition from smaller fight promotions to the UFC octagon.

    Song has recently replaced "The Terminator" as his fight name with "The Monkey King", in reference to the mythical Chinese hero Sun Wukong.

    He believes China's rich history in martial arts has the country - and its fighters - well positioned as MMA continues to take hold.

    "We have the history in China," said Song. "This is only the beginning."
    Shaolin in the Ring and Cage
    China MMA
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    UFC Performance Institute Shanghai

    UFC Wants to Turn Shanghai Into a Mixed Martial Arts Mecca
    The company says it’s going to build the world’s largest MMA training facility in the eastern Chinese megacity.
    Kenrick Davis
    Nov 29, 2018 5-min read

    SHANGHAI — It’s been a big month for mixed martial arts in China. On Nov. 20, the sport’s largest promotion company, Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, announced plans for a $13 million training center in China. The 93,000-square-foot UFC Performance Institute Shanghai will be the largest MMA training facility in the world and will feature a gym, sparring areas, recovery pools, and the sport’s iconic octagonal rings — one complete with stadium-style lighting and spectator seating.

    UFC said at a press conference in Shanghai last week that the center will help train China’s next generation of MMA fighters and spread the sport throughout the country. There are currently 11 Chinese fighters — eight men and three women — on UFC’s roster of 461 athletes from around the world, and the company hopes to triple this figure in 2019. In just the past year, the number of users on social app WeChat who follow UFC’s official account has increased by 60 percent.

    On Saturday, UFC held its 141st Fight Night event at Beijing’s Cadillac Arena to a crowd of over 10,000 — the second time an installment in the series had ever been staged in China. Although a faceoff between elite heavyweights Curtis Blaydes and Francis Ngannou was nominally the night’s main draw, two local fighters attracted the most attention from domestic media present at the event — and they did not disappoint their home crowd.

    UFC’s most experienced Chinese fighter, Li Jingliang — known as The Leech for his mastery of headlock submission holds — defeated his German opponent, David Zawada, by delivering a deft kick to the midsection. Meanwhile, 20-year-old rising star Song Yadong — dubbed The Kung Fu Monkey after the simian hero in the Chinese epic “Journey to the West” — won his fight against American Vince Morales in three rounds. The three female Chinese participants — all of whom won their matches — also turned heads, especially Zhang Weili, who “mauled” veteran Jessica Aguilar of the U.S. to claim her 18th straight victory.

    Chinese mixed martial artist Zhang Weili celebrates after her victory at UFC’s first-ever event in Beijing, Nov. 24, 2018. Courtesy of UFC

    The MMA training facility coming to Shanghai represents a major investment in developing the sport in China, where it was little-known just a decade ago, Kevin Chang, the Asia-Pacific vice president of UFC, told Sixth Tone during last week’s press conference. When the company entered the Chinese market in 2011, there were myriad misconceptions about MMA — like whether it was real fighting or merely a testosterone-fueled performance akin to a World Wrestling Entertainment event.

    Over the past few years, the sport has gradually found a foothold in China thanks to UFC, local promoters, and the Singapore-based ONE Championship, with specialized MMA gyms popping up across the country. For its part, UFC has cultivated a Chinese fan base by inking broadcasting deals, expanding its social media presence, and grooming local stars like Li, who has over half a million followers on microblogging platform Weibo.

    But the sport has also courted its fair share of controversy. In April 2017, MMA fighter and promoter Xu Xiaodong attempted to demonstrate the superiority of his craft by pummelling an older, portlier tai chi master in a heavily criticized fight. More recently, a brawl that ensued on the sidelines of a high-profile Las Vegas showdown between MMA stars Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov — known among Chinese fans by their respective nicknames, Mouth Cannon and Little Eagle — was widely reported and commented on in China.

    Reputation management remains an ongoing challenge for such an inherently violent pastime, said Chang. “We’re not a bloodless sport,” he said candidly, adding that lax standards at local, non-UFC events — many of which don’t have the resources to test athletes for doping — have led to incidents that tarnish the sport’s reputation. “When something quote-unquote ‘bad’ happens in MMA, it affects all of us, and it affects that perception which we’re trying so hard to correct,” Chang said, noting that conditions at domestically organized fights seem to be improving at least.

    American mixed martial artist Vince Morales protects himself from a punch thrown by his Chinese opponent, Song Yadong, at a UFC Fight Night event in Beijing, Nov. 24, 2018. Courtesy of UFC

    American Ramsey Dewey, a former MMA fighter who now runs a gym in Shanghai, describes some of the hassles he experienced in the sport’s early days in China on his popular YouTube channel: a fighter covering himself in oil to slip out of holds, promoters vanishing without making payments, trainers supplying banned materials to bind fighters’ hands, and competitors kicking the heads of their fallen opponents. According to Dewey, his MMA career ended after a bout with a Chinese fighter who had wrapped his fingers with a dangerous kind of tape provided by event organizers. “One single punch shattered my skull,” Dewey says in one of his videos, explaining how certain wrapping materials can pack a harder punch.

    Although most injuries are superficial and not life-threatening, local authorities can be nervous about events taking place under their watch, UFC fighter Wang Guan told Sixth Tone at last week’s press conference. Wang — or The Dongbei Tiger, as he’s sometimes known — competed in China’s first Fight Night event a year ago. He’s also the man Dewey says forced him into early retirement, though Wang maintains that his hand bindings were legitimate. According to the Chinese fighter, officials are afraid of competitors suffering severe injuries and have been known to shut events down early. Nevertheless, Wang said MMA in China has come a long way in recent years — particularly with respect to the quality of referees, whose split-second decisions can prevent curtailed careers — and he’s bullish about its continued growth.

    “Judging by how things are developing in China, I think MMA will be the dominant fighting sport here in the future,” he said.

    For now, though, Chinese fans are holding out for a champion and remain only slightly bitter that local fighters seem to have such a hard time getting matched up against the world’s leading competitors. Li, for example, has had 11 UFC fights, but none were against top-40 opponents. But according to Chang, UFC’s Asia-Pacific vice president, it’s only a matter of time before Chinese fighters will have the chance to prove themselves against elite competition.

    “Even before the establishment of the Shanghai Performance Institute, some of our [Chinese fighters] could already hang with the best of the best — it takes years to get a title shot,” Chang said. “I don’t think it’s unrealistic to expect that we’ll have some contenders in the next couple years.”

    Editor: David Paulk.

    (Header image: Li Jingliang of China lands a kick against David Zawada of Germany during the UFC Fight Night in Beijing, Nov. 24, 2018. Greg Baker/VCG)
    China MMA
    You too could own a UFC Gym
    That MMA vs Taiji Fight Everyones Talking About
    UFC Performance Institute Shanghai
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.


    I know he's just got two posts as of this one, but I'm giving Song Yadong is own thread beyond just Shaolin in the Ring and Cage & China MMA. I'm also copying this to our Monkey King thread for cross-ref.

    UFC 239: China’s Song Yadong – inspired by Jet Li and the Monkey King – is out to conquer the world

    The 21-year-old Chinese phenom blows veteran fighter away in Las Vegas and sets his sights on UFC Shenzhen
    ‘Kung Fu Monkey’ trained outside Shaolin Temple as a child before turning up at Team Alpha Male – and Hall of Famer Urijah Faber is his biggest fan
    Mathew Scott
    Published: 7:59pm, 7 Jul, 2019

    Song Yadong celebrates a win at UFC Singapore. Photo: Handout

    If Alejandro “Turbo” Perez had managed to eye the clock just before his head hit the canvas he might have seen that 2:04 of the first round had elapsed in his bout against Song “Kung Fu Monkey” Yadong.
    What’s more likely, though, is that Mexican’s lights were already out, and that he woke seconds later simply wondering what the hell had hit him.
    Fans across North America were left pondering the very same thing.
    Not much had been known, stateside, about the 21-year-old bantamweight (14-3, two no contests) before Sunday’s heroics at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and a huge right hand ended the night for a Perez who was eight years older and of considerable more experience, in UFC terms at least, at 21-8-1.
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    Hall of Famer Urijah Faber had been preaching from the MMA pulpit ever since Song turned up at his Team Alpha Male gym in Sacramento asking for his skill set to be fine-tuned.
    In Vegas over the past week Faber had been telling all who listened what Song was all about, continuing a sermon that started in Singapore back in June last year, not too long after he’d started working with the Chinese fighter.

    Song Yadong at UFC Shanghai. Photo: Handout

    “All this kid wants to do is learn,” Faber said back then. “You teach him something and he wants to practise again and again. You almost have to force him out of the gym.”
    But Asia – and China in particular – has over the past 18 months taken the rising star from Tianjin to heart, as has the world’s premier promotion as it spreads its reach through the region, and into the Middle Kingdom.
    As the second-youngest fighter on the UFC’s books Song stood smiling, once his arm had been raised and his record in the promotion had been stretched to a 4-0 that now includes two performance of the night bonuses. Song just keeps stepping up.

    “I was practising that punch. My coach made that call for me to train that specific technique,” Yadong said. “I was prepared to fight all three rounds. I didn’t expect to finish the fight so fast. I’m very happy with the win. I want to fight a top 10 opponent next.”
    He’s certainly earned it and the UFC certainly know they’re on to a good thing.
    There’s the Song origin story, for starters.

    Song Yadong poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at the Mandarin Oriental on in Singapore in June 2018. Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

    So keen was the young Song on finding a career as a fighter that his family agreed to send him to the kung fu schools that line the walls of the famed Shaolin Temple when he was just nine years old. It was a tough life, long hours of training and chores.
    But Song says that it still wasn’t enough. He wanted not so much to train but to fight.
    “I had watched a lot of kung fu movies, so I wanted to be like my heroes, like Jet Li,” Song said last year. “I went to Shaolin and I trained, getting up each day at 5am. It was harder than I ever expected. I left Shaolin after two years and then I learned about MMA. I like the action, I like the fact every fight tests you and that you always have to work to be the best fighter you can be.”

    Song Yadong (right) in action at UFC Singapore. Photo: Handout

    And so the journey shifted to MMA and to a fake ID that had Song inside the MMA cage at the age of 15. He drifted through the regional promotions while still a wide-eyed teen – from One Championship, through Kunlun Fight and Wu Lin Feng. But then came a late call-up as the UFC made its debut in Shanghai in November 2017.
    Little, again, was known about Song until, that is, he demolished India’s Bharat “Daring” Khandare (5-3) and looked for all the world that he was born to fight among the world’s best, despite the fact he was still 19.
    After Sunday’s fight, and after hardly raising a sweat, Song called on the UFC also to throw him back into the fray as part of its Shenzhen card on August 31.

    Song Yadong is now 4-0 in the UFC. Photo: Handout

    That event features a first for China as Zhang “Magnum” Weili (19-1), who faces Brazilian champ Jessica Andrade (20-6) for her strawweight belt and looks to be crowned the first UFC champion from her nation.
    Last month, the UFC opened the doors on its multimillion dollar Performance Institute in Shanghai, with boss Dana White declaring it’ll be a “game-changer” for local fighters.
    Song will no doubt see what’s on offer there, as will his good friend and Team Alpha Male gym pal Liu Pingyuan (13-5), the fellow bantamweight who’s up next for China, against American Jonathan Martinez (10-2) on the UFC Fight Night 155 card in Sacramento on July 13.
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    Chinese fighters are on a 15-6 UFC record since the start of 2018, and Song for one believes things are only just getting started.
    “I will be working towards the belt,” he told the media after Sunday’s win. “I don’t know when it will happen but I’ll be working hard, waiting for the chance to happen.”
    ****, this weekend in Sacto, but I'm already booked for the ITKFA Championships.
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    no tats

    The Takedown by Nicolas Atkin
    Has China banned tattoos in MMA? Reports of crackdown on fighters but it’s complicated
    ‘If you have tattoos, they don’t want you competing,’ says Thailand’s Phuket Top Team
    The famed gym claims government has tightened rules for local promoters – but the issue appears to be muddy
    Nicolas Atkin
    Published: 10:12am, 20 Jul, 2019

    Song Yadong’s tattoo on his left leg. The fighter poses (right) before his win against Renato Moicano. Photos: Instagram/@songyadong

    Chinese MMA took a huge step forward with the opening of the state-of-the-art UFC Performance Institute in Shanghai last month. But there were concerns this week it might have taken a strange step backwards.
    Last year, China’s top media regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, decreed that media programmes “should not feature actors with tattoos [or depict] hip hop culture, subculture and dispirited culture”, according to a report in Chinese news outlet Sina.
    This later widened to televised sport, with footballers in China’s three professional leagues told by the Chinese Football Association to cover up tattoos with athletic tape – “no visible ink” was the word from the top.
    The issue has also appeared to touch MMA and other combat sports with rules said to be in place across CCTV and other major state broadcasters.
    “The new bosses of CCTV have introduced laws to stamp out crime, so there’s no bad officials, no bad police and no more bad influencers on society in the media. This includes people with tattoos,” a senior official who works closely with the government told Asian MMA website The Fight Nation.
    Chinese fighters have been able to get away with covering up any tattoos with rash guards or tape, just like their footballing counterparts – but one of the top Muay Thai/MMA crossover gyms in Thailand claimed this week the rules have recently become even stricter.
    “MMA in China has made another strange step … No tattoos allowed,” Phuket Top Team tweeted. “Fighters are having to wear rash guards or tape over tattoos. Promoters are getting bored of that and now just saying NO fighters with tattoos allowed. That sure does take out a large pool of pro fighters.”
    Phuket Top Team claimed the no tattoos rule was “direct from the Chinese government” and combat sport representatives.
    “If you have tattoos, they don’t want you competing in MMA/kick-boxing,Sanda/Muay Thai or boxing in China,” it said. “Combat sports have been BOOMING in China! Now the government has banned tattoos from being streamed or televised.”

    Phuket Top Team
    #phukettopteam welcome @ufc No.5 Ranked featherweight@zabeast_mma 💪🏼
    Sharpening his #muaythai in Thailand at PTT 🇹🇭

    Riding a 13 fight win streak.
    5-0 undefeated in the UFC

    Zabit is a DANGEROUS man inside the Octagon@joerogan @TheFightNation @UFC_Asia @UFCRussia

    View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
    12:38 AM - Jul 16, 2019 · Phuket Top Team
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    Phuket Top Team has several UFC veterans and stars on its roster – featherweight Zabit Magomedsharipov and welterweight Zelim Imadaev are both there right now sharpening their Muay Thai skills in camp – so their voice clearly carries some weight.
    The gym claimed that in the past two weeks, every local promotion in China had contacted them asking if they had any tattoo-free fighters, while a few said fighters can have tattoos but only ones small enough to be covered up with patches or wraps. Many Chinese fight promotions are broadcast on state television or streamed within China, such as WLF, Kunlun and Glory of Heroes.
    “This will rapidly decline the fight scene in China. A huge shame for all of the top fighters who were embracing the fight scene there,” Phuket Top Team added in a reply to another tweet. “UFC and One Championship are two major [organisations] that have been hitting the Chinese MMA market. Now they need tattoo-free athletes to fill cards.”

    Jessica Andrade and Zhang Weili (right) will compete in the main event of UFC Shenzhen. Photo: UFC

    Of course, the UFC has a big Shenzhen show coming up on August 31, where Zhang Weili will be the first Chinese fighter to challenge for a UFC title when she takes on Brazilian straw weight champion (and heavily tattooed) Jessica Andrade. The UFC signed a five-year exclusive rights agreement in China with PPTV Sports, the nation’s leading online sports platform, in 2016.
    None of the UFC’s nine other Chinese fighters have been announced for the card yet, though only Song Yadong has tattoos, on his left leg.
    In the only other announced fight for the card, neither New Zealand’s Kai-Kara France nor American Mark De La Rosa have visible tattoos. The Post reached out to UFC China for clarification on the rules – and received no response.
    One Championship told the Post there is no issue with foreign athletes who have tattoos competing on their fight cards in China.
    For Chinese athletes with tattoos, One always asks the fighters to cover them up whenever they do promotional material such as interviews – but not for fights – on Chinese shows.
    Officially, the Chinese government has not sanctioned a law on the matter, however, One said, adding that the rule applies more for football players and less so combat sports, with the reports of new changes to the rule just a rumour.

    Tattooed American fighter Troy Worthen fights against China’s Chen Rui. Photo: One Championship

    China is not the only Asian country, though, that has a problem with tattoos. Japan will host two of the world’s biggest sporting events – the Rugby World Cup and the Olympics – in the next 14 months. World Rugby has warned players and fans to cover their ink later this year, in a bid not to offend their host where body art is associated with criminal gangs.
    Rugby players and fans are one thing but MMA and its followers are a different beast. Tattoos and combat sports go hand in hand, and are a way of life.
    “You can imagine how many of the world’s best fighters they have eliminated from being able to fight in China,” Phuket Top Team tweeted, presuming that the no tattoo rule would also apply to foreign fighters.
    The issue is certainly unclear, and one to keep an eye on.
    China MMA
    Kung Fu (and other Martial Arts) Tattoos
    Song Yadong
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    New indie thread for Zhang Weili

    I copied the posts above mostly from what evolved into Song Yadong's thread.

    Five (of the many) things you didn't know about the UFC's Zhang Weili
    Aug 28, 2019
    Brett Okamoto
    ESPN Staff Writer

    There will be a piece of MMA history made this weekend at UFC Fight Night in Shenzhen, China, as strawweight Zhang Weili will become the first Chinese fighter to vie for a UFC championship.

    In just her fourth UFC appearance, Zhang (19-1) will challenge Jessica Andrade (20-6) on Saturday for the 115-pound title. In her three previous bouts, according to UFC Stats research, Zhang has outlanded her opponents 185-73. Overall, the 30-year-old has won 19 fights in a row after losing in her pro debut in 2013.

    The UFC's return to China features a strawweight division championship fight, one that fans in Shenzhen have been anticipating for several months.
    Zhang Weili, who is 19-1 and fights out of Beijing, will look to take the title from Jessica Andrade in Saturday's main event.

    UFC Fight Night: Andrade vs. Zhang
    • Saturday, Shenzhen, China
    • Prelims: ESPN, 3 a.m. ET
    • Main card: ESPN+, 6 a.m. ET
    When the title fight was announced, the matchup felt as if it came out of nowhere. But it makes sense why the UFC chose Zhang. The promotion is expanding into China, having opened a 93,000-square-foot UFC Performance Institute in Shanghai earlier this summer. The event in Shenzhen is the UFC's third in China in three years, and the promotion wanted Zhang on the card. Considering her win streak, Zhang is worthy of the title shot.

    Andrade was willing to defend her belt on the road -- after all, she had won the belt in her homeland of Brazil because then-champ Rose Namajunas was willing to do the same. Thus, here we are. It will be a huge deal for Chinese MMA should Zhang get the job done.

    The big question still unanswered: Who is Zhang Weili? She has done little media outside China, and despite her social media accounts being in English, she relies on an interpreter during interviews. So very little is known about Zhang, particularly in the United States, where she has fought only once.

    Here are five things you probably didn't know about the UFC's strawweight title challenger:

    A passion for kung fu

    Zhang was born in Hebei, a coastal province in northern China. There is a strong kung fu presence in her hometown of Handan, which is how Zhang was introduced to combat sports. "When I was 6 years old, I started kung fu," Zhang told ESPN, through an interpreter. "Everybody practices kung fu. It's a hobby. The first insight I got into kung fu was a movie. I wanted to fly and hop between trees like they did. So, the first day I went to learn kung fu, the first question I asked my master was, 'When can I learn how to fly?'"

    Zhang Weili began her UFC career a year ago with a victory over Danielle Taylor. Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

    Where she gets her strength

    Zhang's father is a retired mine digger. Her mother is a housewife whom Zhang credits for teaching her about strength and toughness. She has one older brother, who quit his job as a gold trader to support Zhang's athletic career. He now works at the Beijing gym in which she trains, Black Tiger Fight Club.

    Zhang credits former UFC champion Ronda Rousey as the inspiration for starting her MMA training. She knew of Chinese fighter Guangyou Ning, winner of "The Ultimate Fighter: China" in 2014, and followed his UFC career. "But then I heard there was going to be a female fight," Zhang said. "I watched with one of my co-workers, and I was so impressed. It made me feel, 'Wow, women can be so powerful.' I wanted to show this power, just like [Rousey]. Generally, women are thought of as soft in China. Weak. Ronda impressed me and showed me a woman can be strong and powerful."

    The admiration is apparently mutual. Rousey recently posted on Instagram, "I feel like a proud mama watching how women's MMA has grown. Women from all walks of life, from all over the world are rising to the challenge and showing the world what it means to fight like a girl. Weili Zhang @zhangweilimma is a prime example of overcoming adversity -- fighting not just through the ranks, but to also get noticed and stand out. I've definitely taken notice, and so should you."

    Her favorite Wing Chun fighter?

    Zhang's favorite fighter currently in the UFC is lightweight Tony Ferguson. "Stylewise, he's really unique," she said. "I've watched some of his training videos, and he uses [the kung fu technique] Wing Chun. He uses it in the Octagon. He's so relaxed and composed when he throws knees, kicks, punches. He is a real warrior."

    When she's not training ...

    Zhang likes to cook and go to the movies. Her favorite movies are the Marvel series, and her favorite superhero is Spider-Man. She considers herself a fine chef. Hebei cuisine is typically based on wheat, mutton and beans, but Zhang's signature dish is sautéed lamb.
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    I had a feeling...

    ... I should've done more than just make Zhang's indie thread based on my intuition about her and this fight. I shoulda bet some money. :

    Zhang Weili named China's first UFC champion after defeating Jessica Andrade in just 42 seconds
    By Alaa Elassar, CNN
    Updated 2:00 PM ET, Sat August 31, 2019

    Zhang Weili of China celebrates her victory over Jessica Andrade on Saturday in Shenzhen, China.

    (CNN)In 42 seconds, Zhang Weili made history.

    Weili on Saturday became China's first UFC champion after a technical knockout of Brazilian Jessica Andrade in less than one minute.
    Weili's rapid win earned her the UFC Strawweight title with the second fastest finish in strawweight history.
    "I am so happy for this moment! My name is Zhang Weili and I am from China! Remember me!" Weili told CNN.


    It took less than a minute for Zhang Weili to make history and become China's first UFC champion #UFCShenzhen

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    She claimed her victory at a UFC Fight Night at Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre in Shenzhen, China.
    Seconds into the fight, Weili delivered a punch to Andrade's chin, quickly immobilizing the Brazilian. Weili immediately unleashed a series of elbows, knees and punches before the referee intervened and ended the fight, crowning her champion.

    Kyle Johnson
    Zhang Weili (20-1)
    - Unbeaten since her pro debut (4-0 in the UFC)
    - Former Kunlun Fight champ and first UFC champ from East Asia
    - 17 career finishes / 11 first-round finishes / 10 knockouts
    - Starched Jéssica Andrade in 42 seconds!

    This woman is something else.

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    Along with her victory, Weili said she was proud to represent China as well as young women all over the world.
    "I am very happy and have worked very hard to get this platform. And I hope that through my personality, I can inspire the next generation of young women to be strong and follow their dreams, not just in China, but all over the world," Weili told CNN.
    Congrats to Zhang. What's more, she's carrying the Kung Fu banner, waving it proudly.
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    Zhang is lit

    I'm not posting all her instagram links but you can just follow her gram at zhangweilimma.

    I'm surprised the CMA community hasn't jumped all over her as finally getting some vindication for Kung Fu in the octogon. I'm not surprised that the first Chinese UFC champ is a woman however. I've been anticipating a PRC UFC champ - they've been needing that to break through the bamboo curtain.

    Bruce Lee fan Zhang Weili becomes China’s first UFC champion – and shows her martial arts devotion on Instagram
    Chinese traditions, cuisine and kung fu rank highly in the fighter’s hobbies and interests – as does a robust workout routine
    Jacqueline Tsang
    Published: 11:24am, 3 Sep, 2019

    UFC fighter Zhang Weili is a fan of Bruce Lee.

    In 42 seconds, Zhang Weili became China’s first UFC champion.
    At the fight against Jessica Andrade on Saturday, August 31, Zhang beat the Brazilian strawweight in under a minute in a technical knockout.
    “Last time in Beijing, I said I was going to be the first Chinese champion, and I made it,” Zhang said during the post-fight news conference.

    The fighter, who has 78,700 followers on Instagram at the time of writing, often takes to her social media account to show her devotion to martial arts, Bruce Lee, and even hotpot. Here are some of our favourite posts.
    ‘Be water’

    Zhang is a big Bruce Lee fan. In addition to posting this video, which shows the famous kung fu icon and actor talking about one of his most famous philosophies – “Be water, my friend” – Zhang has also taken a picture in front of the Bruce Lee memorial in Foshan.
    Bruce Lee portrait artist Yan Pei-ming to exhibit at Petit Palais Paris
    She gives us gym-spiration

    Zhang posts a lot of her workout videos on Instagram, which show her doing everything from hula hoop twirling to kettlebell lunges and shoulder raises, to this crazy uphill treadmill climb that looks very, very painful.
    She can handle her spice

    The video here is of Sichuan hotpot, a highly popular meal that involves boiling food in a bubbling broth flavoured with Sichuan peppers, also known as hua jiao. These peppers are known for the numbing sensation they cause in the mouth, and rank between 50,000 to 75,000 heat units on the Scoville spiciness scale – similar to Thai peppers.
    The story of Sichuan food and the secret to its popularity
    She’s an animal-lover

    There are posts on her account professing her love for dogs, cats, elephants and, of course, pandas.
    Revealed: The 30 highest-paid tennis players of all time
    Those hands are made for fighting – but perhaps not writing

    Zhang has shared a video of her practising Chinese calligraphy and, well, her brush skills leave a little to be desired – although she seems to be having a great time! One of the comments on the above post was, “Although I can’t really decipher your writing, the way you write is certainly powerful!” Bless.
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.


    Click the link below to see Zhang's fight. It'll take you less than a minute and exemplifies 'steamroll'

    UFC Canada

    Verified account

    Follow Follow @UFC_CA
    HISTORY FOR CHINA!! 🇨🇳🏆 #UFCShenzhen
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  9. #9

  10. #10
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    Jun 2006
    I am talking function and utility but Zhang Weili would make a far better CMA just becaue of her 'ground and pound" conditioning, the reality of 2 person contact and the experience of touching hands with an opponent.
    That is how Xu excelled in the face of those stated to be 'lineage' or style representative of the arts he beat!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    No Visa

    UFC champ Weili Zhang denied U.S. visa; presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard offers help
    By: Nolan King | October 8, 2019 12:05 am

    UFC strawweight champion Weili Zhang’s latest battle isn’t taking place inside the cage.

    Zhang (20-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) became the first fighter from her native country of The People’s Republic of China to sport UFC gold when she ran through then-champion Jessica Andrade via first-round TKO in late August.

    Before her first title defense has even been scheduled, Zhang has found herself in the midst of another kind of fight. The 30-year-old has been unable to get a visa to the United States, she announced on her Instagram page Monday morning.

    The post from Zhang can be seen below:

    Liked by
    zhangweilimma's profile picture
    My American visa was refused again. I don't know why. Is it the wrong type of visa I should apply for? Or because I'm a single woman? Or is the visa officer in a bad mood at work today? I hope this can be resolved so I can visit and get to meet some of my new friends and fans in America. We are still working on it and hope to have good news in time for me to make the trip on Oct 15th 🙏🏼 🇺🇸 🇨🇳 ✌🏼
    Zhang’s post did not go unnoticed by the powers that be. United States Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd district and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard has reached out in an effort to get the UFC champion clearance to travel to the U.S., according to a comment by Zhang on her original post.

    “Wow!” Zhang wrote. “I just received news from my manager that miss @tulsigabbard contacted him to try and help us. Thank you thank you miss Tulsi”

    In a quote posted on by Zhang’s manager Brian Butler on his Instagram story, Gabbard told them the following, “We need more ties and partnerships between our two countries in spit of the differences. MMA is an amazing way to do that.”

    In a statement given to MMA Junkie, Butler clarified the recent sequence of events:

    “At this time we have been denied a visa to come here for the media tour next week. We believe that there was some miscommunication of some sort that caused red flags to raise to cause the denial. We are not quite sure what that is but we are working through the process as we speak. The UFC legal department is working on it and presidential candidate/congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard also responded to me and is trying to help on her end.”
    Gabbard just got my attention.
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  12. #12
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    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    I luv Zhang Weili

    All these years we've been crying out for a Kung Fu rooted champion. Now we have one. It was inevitable with UFC's move into China. I'm surprised the Kung Fu community isn't embracing her more.

    How Bruce Lee fan Zhang Weili found inspiration in her martial arts hero to overcome ‘glorious failure’ and become UFC champion
    After losing her first professional MMA fight, China’s Zhang Weili used her fear of failure to win every bout since – defeating top-ranked Jéssica Andrade to claim the UFC Women's Strawweight Championship title in just 42 seconds
    Dan Williams
    Published: 2:00pm, 15 Oct, 2019

    Chinese fighter Zhang Weili poses before her UFC strawweight world title fight against Brazilian champion Jessica Andradem, in Shenzhen on August 31. She would win the bout in just 42 seconds. Photo: AFP

    Losing is a blow that injures and scars us, humiliates us, makes us hesitant to relive that pain. But without it, nothing would change, nothing would evolve and become a better version of itself. This is certainly true for Zhang “Magnum” Weili, the first Chinese champion in UFC history.
    Don’t fear failure. Not failure, but low aim, is the crime … it is glorious even to fail
    Bruce Lee
    When Zhang lost to Meng Bo, on a unanimous decision in her professional mixed martial arts (MMA) debut in 2013, maybe these words by the legendary Bruce Lee, who has been her inspiration for so long, galvanised and reshaped her.
    For the next six years, only winning would do for Zhang.
    She went on to win 11 straight fights, all submissions, technical knockouts (TKO’s) or knockouts (KO’s). Between April 17, 2014, and February 25, 2017, she was on a mission to become “the first Chinese champion, and I made it”, Zhang said after stunning the No 1-ranked Brazilian, Jéssica Andrade, with a 42-second TKO on August 31 to claim the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Women's Strawweight Championship title.

    UFC strawweight champion Jéssica Andrade (with belt) and Zhang Weili pose before their title fight in Shenzhen on August 31.

    Scrapes and schoolyard fights

    Zhang’s childhood in Hebei province was filled with scrapes, schoolyard fights, sports and training in martial arts – inspired by the success of pioneering former women’s world champion Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey.
    Zhang was a tough little girl and often defended her friends, who relied on her when bully boys pushed them around. “I would make them run,” Zhang said. “I loved to do that, to protect my friends. I wasn’t afraid of the bullies or of a fight.”

    China’s Zhang Weili celebrates her 42-second TKO of Brazilian Jéssica Andrade in Shenzhen on August 31, which claimed the UFC strawweight title.

    Zhang’s mother did not discourage her little girl’s pluckiness. Instead she fostered it. “My mother would dig a hole in the yard and get me to jump in and jump out,” Zhang said. “If I could jump out, she would just dig a deeper hole and make me try again. She always had a mind to make me stronger.”
    She would go on to train formally and become a stand-out talent in Chinese kick-boxing, or sanda. But, MMA held far more appeal to her. Zhang loved the challenge of mixing up all martial arts techniques, which brought her to her first professional bout in 2013 against Meng Bo. And her only loss.
    Following 11 straight wins, in May 2017, Zhang beat Simone Duarte with a second-round TKO for the Kunlun Fight strawweight championship, at Kunlun Fight MMA 11 in Jining, Shandong province. She defended her title with a unanimous decision against Aline Sattelmayer at Kunlun Fight MMA 12 two months later, in Yantai, Shandong province.
    She used her fear of failure, from her opening professional fight, to emerge triumphant in every subsequent fight.

    Weili Zhang celebrates her unanimous decision over American opponent Danielle Taylor at UFC 227 in Los Angeles on August 4, 2018. Photo: Getty Images/AFP

    Zhang knew that she had to continue winning for her MMA career to progress. A UFC title would show she was not another flash in the pan whose light flickered briefly before being extinguished.
    Zhang challenged South Korea’s Ye Dam Seo for the vacant Top FC strawweight championship at TOP FC 15 in Seoul on July 22, 2017, and she captured her second title via a second-round TKO.
    Something magical began to kick in for Zhang in the second round. The following month at Kunlun Fight MMA 14, against Marilia Santos in Yantai, Zhang found the magic again in the second round, as another TKO helped her defend her KLF title.
    Zhang would fight one more time for KLF, amassing a 16-1 record before getting a call from the UFC.
    Bianca Sattelmayer was her final stepping stone at MMA 15 in Seoul, and a win by submission.

    Onto the UFC
    The doubters said, “Man cannot fly”
    The doers said, “Maybe, but we’ll try”
    And finally soared in the morning glow
    While non-believers watched from below
    Bruce Lee

    Bruce Lee in the 1973 Hong Kong martial arts film Game of Death. Lee died during the making of the film which he directed, wrote, produced and starred in, which was later assembled posthumously and released in 1978.

    Zhang made an impressive UFC debut at UFC 227 in Los Angeles on August 4, 2018, claiming a unanimous decision against Danielle Taylor, an American mixed martial artist and strawweight King of the Cage (KOTC) champion.
    Mexican-American Jessica Aguilar, the reigning World Series of Fighting (WSOF) women’s strawweight champion, was her next opponent at UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs Ngannou 2 in Beijing in November 2018. It only took Zhang one round to win via a submission.
    Zhang was only two fights away from the UFC title as she started 2019, her sixth year as a professional fighter.
    She beat America’s Tecia Torres, ranked No 13 in the strawweight division, via unanimous decision at UFC 235 in Los Angeles on March 2.
    Zhang was now on the brink of making history as the first Chinese champion in UFC history.

    Zhang Weili (blue gloves) pins Tecia Torres (red gloves) down at UFC 235 in Las Vegas. Photo: USA TODAY

    Brazilian Andrade, the world’s top-ranked fighter, was now the only obstacle standing in her way of the UFC world title.
    In Shenzhen on August 31, did Zhang ever think back to the night she lost to Meng Bo, the only blemish on her professional record?

    42 Seconds and UFC strawweight champion

    China’s Zhang Weili celebrates with UFC strawweight champion Jéssica Andrade in a heap on the floor during their title fight in Shenzhen on August 31.

    Andrade vs Zhang was the biggest UFC bout to be held in China.
    For Zhang, it was another dramatic first-round win against a world champion. She became the new strawweight champion – gloriously on home soil. The vastly more experienced Brazilian, who came in the fight tied for the most wins by a woman in UFC history with 11, lasted only 42 seconds before falling to Zhang by technical knockout. The Chinese fighter became the new champion in addition to earning the Performance of the Night bonus award.
    “As a Chinese person, I feel so proud,” Zhang said after the fight. China is equally proud of its first UFC champion.
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    CA, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    All these years we've been crying out for a Kung Fu rooted champion. Now we have one. It was inevitable with UFC's move into China. I'm surprised the Kung Fu community isn't embracing her more.
    I haven’t watched any of Zheng Weili’s fights yet, but she’s certainly got my respect and admiration.

    Sadly, too many within the ‘Kung Fu Community’ (for the most part) can’t even accept and respect each other outside of (and sometimes even within) their own small cliques, let alone a professional fighter with a kung fu background.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Philadelphia, Pa
    Here's a 20-min interview with Zhang from last month on the Ariel Helwani show. It was two days after her title fight
    Quote Originally Posted by bawang View Post
    like that old japanese zen monk that grabs white woman student titties to awaken them to zen, i grab titties of kung fu people to awaken them to truth.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Canzonieri View Post
    You can discuss discrepancies and so on in people's posts without ripping them apart. So easy to do sitting behind a computer screen anonymously, but in person I'm sure you'd be very different, unless you're a total misanthrope without any friends.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    Joanna Jedrzejczyk

    UFC: Joanna Jedrzejczyk would ‘take a canoe to China’ to beat up Zhang Weili – ‘I know I’m better than her’
    Former strawweight champion says she’s waiting for a date and location for title shot against China’s Zhang
    ‘Anytime, anywhere … I see gaps in her game, I’m the more well-rounded fighter’
    Tom Taylor
    Published: 12:51pm, 15 Nov, 2019

    Joanna Jedrzejczyk in Bali, Indonesia. Photo: Instagram

    Not long ago, former UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk was sizzling under the tropical sun in Bali, Indonesia. Fighting was the ****hest thing from her mind.
    That’s changed now.
    Jedrzejczyk is back in her native Poland and, having nearly recovered from the injuries she sustained in her impressive October defeat of Michelle Waterson, will soon be ready to attempt to reclaim the strawweight title she once guarded so ferociously.
    It’s an opportunity she was promised.

    Joanna Jedrzejczyk at the hospital after beating Michelle Waterson. Photo: Instagram

    “I signed an agreement before the fight with Michelle Waterson,” Jedrzejczyk told the Post mere days after her holiday ended. “I knew that after I got the victory I was going to fight for the belt. This is what’s going to happen next, and I’m just waiting for the date and the location, and then we’re going to rock it.”
    The UFC strawweight title, which Jedrzejczyk defended a record-breaking five times before her reign ended, is currently guarded by Hebei’s Zhang Weili.

    Zhang Weili walks off after beating Jessica Andrade for the strawweight title at UFC Shenzhen. Photo: Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC

    Zhang swiped the title in August, cudgelling Jessica Andrade to a TKO victory in just 42 seconds.
    Jedrzejczyk is impressed by the current strawweight champ – and by anybody with the skill and hardihood to capture a UFC belt – but is fully confident she’s the better fighter of the two.
    “She’s the champ,” Jedrzejczyk said of Zhang. “There is more than 500 athletes in the UFC, and only 12 champions with the new divisions. If you can make it, good.

    Zhang Weili celebrates her UFC Shenzhen triumph. Photo: Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC

    “She made it. I was very impressed. Actually, the day before her fight [with Andrade], I said that she was going to win, that she was going to surprise, and she did. But I can see some gaps, I can see good and bad sides [of her game].”
    Jedrzejczyk is particularly complimentary of the champion’s power, but believes her own well-roundedness will propel her to victory in their fight.
    “She’s explosive, her punches are juicy, crispy, she has knockout power behind her punches,” she said. “She’s young, she’s hungry. But I know I’m better. I’m the more well-rounded fighter.”

    Zhang Weili is China’s first UFC champion. Photo: Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC

    As of yet, this widely anticipated title fight is unscheduled, but Jedrzejczyk is hoping it will soon be pencilled on to the calendar for early 2020. As for the setting of the fight? She doesn’t care.
    She’s even willing to fight Zhang in China.
    “Anywhere, anytime,” she said. “Bangkok, Sri Lanka, Warsaw, Toronto, it doesn’t matter where. For me, it doesn’t matter. I will make my way. Even if we have to take a canoe, I will make it to China and beat the s*** out of her.”

    Jessica Andrade gets kicked by Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 211. Photo: AFP

    Jedrzejczyk does not have a specific prediction for this fight with Zhang, but she is promising that we’ll see “the old JJ”.
    For those with short memories, the Jedrzejczyk of old was not only one of the UFC’s most dominant champions, but perhaps the most ferocious fighter in the sport, regardless of weight class or gender.
    Even after a laid-back holiday on the sun-dappled beaches of Bali, the former champ flaunts sniper-like focus. She’s already picturing the moment that the belt is wrapped around her waist again.
    “It’s gonna feel better than the first five [defences],” she said. “It’ll be different – bigger. It’s going to be a very special moment. It will cement my legacy.”
    Zhang Weili has reinvigorated my interest in UFC.

    Zhang Weili
    Michelle 'Karate Hottie' Waterson
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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