Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 40

Thread: Zhang Weili

Hybrid View

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,029

    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."
    THREADS
    Shaolin in the Ring and Cage
    China MMA
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,029

    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)
    THREADS
    China MMA
    You too could own a UFC Gym
    That MMA vs Taiji Fight Everyones Talking About
    UFC Performance Institute Shanghai
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,029

    Song

    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.
    Embedded video

    Niall McGrath

    @niallmcgrath4
    Here’s the finish from Yadong

    ��pic.twitter.com/G5lnX98R9h #UFC239

    27
    5:17 PM - Jul 6, 2019
    See Niall McGrath's other Tweets
    Twitter Ads info and privacy
    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.
    Embedded video

    Nick Baldwin
    @NickBaldwinMMA
    If you need pointers on how to pronounce Song Yadong's name, the UFC bantamweight prospect has you covered.

    12
    7:00 PM - Jul 6, 2019
    See Nick Baldwin's other Tweets
    Twitter Ads info and privacy
    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
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,029

    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
    #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
    32
    12:38 AM - Jul 16, 2019 · Phuket Top Team
    Twitter Ads info and privacy
    See Phuket Top Team's other Tweets
    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.
    THREADS
    China MMA
    Kung Fu (and other Martial Arts) Tattoos
    Song Yadong
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,029

    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
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,029

    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.

    ESPN MMA

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

    Embedded video
    5,533
    5:47 AM - Aug 31, 2019
    Twitter Ads info and privacy
    1,331 people are talking about this
    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
    @VonPreux
    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.



    Embedded video
    858
    5:49 AM - Aug 31, 2019
    Twitter Ads info and privacy
    265 people are talking about this
    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
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,029

    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
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,029

    42s

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

    UFC Canada

    Verified account

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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,029

    FEB 28 ONE fight in Singapore closed to fans

    Coronavirus forces One Championship to put Singapore MMA show behind closed doors
    ‘King of the Jungle’ will still be broadcast live on February 28 but tickets for Singapore Indoor Stadium will be refunded
    ‘My team and I had the option to cancel the event altogether, but we chose not to,’ says CEO Chatri Sityodtong
    Nick Atkin
    Published: 10:54am, 18 Feb, 2020


    Stamp Fairtex pummels Puja Tomar in Bangkok. She will headline the ‘King of the Jungle’ card in Singapore. Photos: One Championship

    One Championship has decided to press ahead with its “King of the Jungle” card in Singapore on February 28, but the event will play out behind closed doors because of the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.
    Chatri Sityodtong, CEO of the Asian MMA promotion, said all tickets bought for show at the 12,000-capacity Singapore Indoor Stadium would be refunded, after deciding against cancelling it altogether. The event, headlined by Stamp Fairtex defending her atomweight kick-boxing title against Janet Todd, will still be broadcast live on television and digital platforms.
    The Singapore government had already raised the DORSCON (Disease Outbreak Response System Condition) alert level to orange last week, with the Ministry of Health urging organisers to cancel or defer non-essential events.
    “My team and I had the option to cancel the event altogether, but we chose not to cancel it,” Sityodtong said in a statement.


    Demetrious Johnson will now get his One flyweight title shot in Jakarta, instead of Chongqing.

    “Let us unite as a country and let us show strength as a continent to conquer this coronavirus,” he added. “We will get through these tough times together. Majulah Singapura! Jiayou China!”
    There have been 77 reported cases of the coronavirus in Singapore, but no deaths. China’s health authorities on Tuesday reported 1,886 new coronavirus cases and 98 deaths on the mainland, taking the totals to 72,436 and 1,868 respectively, as of midnight on Monday.

    The coronavirus has already seen One relocate its April 10 show from Chongqing in China to Jakarta, Indonesia.

    One flyweight grand prix winner and former UFC champion Demetrious Johnson will aim to add more gold to his resume when he takes on flyweight champion Adriano Moraes, in the first of four bumper “One Infinity” cards in 2020.

    The UFC has also been affected by the outbreak of the coronavirus in Asia. Strawweight champion Zhang Weili has twice had to move her training camp, first from Beijing to Thailand, and then to Abu Dhabi, ahead of her UFC 248 title defence on March 7 against Joanna Jedrzejczyk.



    Nick Atkin

    Nick is a production editor on the South China Morning Post’s sport desk, where he covers mixed martial arts (MMA). He was previously a sports writer and editor for ESPN.
    THREADS
    ONE Championship
    COVID-19
    Zhang Weili
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,029

    visas

    They were smart to get out quickly.
    Zhang Weili granted U.S. visa, Yan Xiaonan lands in Auckland for UFC fight
    By Guilherme Cruz@guicruzzz Feb 19, 2020, 10:00am EST


    Zhang Weili puts her title on the line against former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk in March. Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

    In the end, despite several scary roadblocks along the way, Chinese strawweights Zhang Weili and Yan Xiaonan are one step closer to making it to the Octagon.

    Along with welterweight Li Jingliang, the fighters decided to leave their home country for Thailand after the novel coronavirus outbreak hit Beijing in January. Zhang and her team chose to fly to Abu Dhabi a few days later while waiting for clearance to enter the United States.

    There have been more than 75,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus with over 2,000 deaths. All but six of the deaths come from China.

    Zhang’s jiu-jitsu coach Pedro Jordao told MMA Fighting the fighter received her United States visa on Tuesday, clearing the path for the UFC champion and her team to travel to Las Vegas for her upcoming title defense opposite Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248 on March 7. Zhang is expected to leave Abu Dhabi on Feb. 21.

    Yan, who meets Karolina Kowalkiewicz at this weekend’s UFC Fight Night card in Auckland, finally landed in New Zealand on Tuesday night, her jiu-jitsu coach Ruy Menezes told MMA Fighting.

    Yan arrived with four kilograms (8.8 pounds) left to cut before the official weigh-ins, where she has to hit the 116-pound mark, but Menezes doesn’t expect it to be an issue. UFC Auckland goes down Sunday morning local time.

    Jingliang, currently booked to face Neil Magny on March 7, expects to be given a visa to enter the United States soon to compete in Las Vegas. “I don’t think there will be any problem,” Menezes said.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,029

    UFC 248 Countdown: Zhang vs Joanna

    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Philadelphia, Pa
    Posts
    1,076
    Anatomy of a Fighter is just one guy doing behind the scenes stuff to help promote fighters (usually before their next fight) because he felt like the UFC does a poor job of it.

    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.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    CA, USA
    Posts
    4,881
    TBH, Zhang Weili is the only MMA fighter whose fights I have any interest in anymore. I gave up watching UFC/MMA sometime ago, but I’m really hoping that she wins her upcoming fight.

    She’s very easy to cheer for.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 03-03-2020 at 01:46 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,029

    Iron Man & Magnum

    I wonder if Robert met Weili. That would be a cool photo op.

    Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr. attends UFC 248, big fan of Chinese martial art Wing Chun
    Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/10 17:33:43 1


    Robert Downey Jr. Photo: VCG

    It seems Iron Man is a big fan of Chinese martial art Wing Chun. Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr. was caught on camera showing off some of his Wing Chun moves during the bout between UFC Women's Strawweight champion Zhang Weili and former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248 on Saturday when he showed off some of his Wing Chun moves. On Monday Downey posted a video of himself at the event on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo along with a post in which he called the battle between the two a classic and congratulated both fighters. Chinese netizens were surprised to see that Downey has studied Wing Chun, which is based on traditional Southern Chinese martial arts. "Iron Man knows Wing Chun! If he had used Wing Chun to fight Thanos, it would have been much easier to beat the enemy," one netizen commented on Sina Weibo. Some netizens speculated that the star became interested in Chinese martial arts due to the release of this year's Ip Man 4: The Finale, a film about the legendary Win Chun master Yip Man. But actually, Downey has been studying Wing Chun for more than 10 years. He started practicing the martial art in 2003. According to a report from sohu.com, his teacher is one of the students of Zhang Zhuoqing, Yip's favorite pupil. According to the report, Downey practices Wing Chun three to five times each week and says that it successfully diverted his attention from drugs and helped him develop healthy habits. "Wing Chun cannot only help maintain your physique, but can make you more stable, more modest and more relaxed with others," he said. Zhang, who had successfully defended her title against Jedrzejczyk, replied to Downey on Sina Weibo, saying she hopes that he enjoyed the competition.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,029

    Here's another pre-fight article...

    ...the 'official' one from UFC.



    ZHANG WEILI FOUND HER VOICE IN MIXED MARTIAL ARTS
    A pair of epiphanies led Zhang Weili to UFC gold and her first title defense against Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
    BY THOMAS GERBASI, ON TWITTER @TGERBASI • MAR. 5, 2020

    Zhang Weili calls it “an epiphany,” and oh, what a time it was to have one.

    One punch from UFC strawweight champion Jessica Andrade already came perilously close to her chin in their championship bout in Shenzhen last August, and another was on the way. It was in that moment that Zhang realized what her coaches had been telling her all along.

    “I had a very clear head in the Octagon,” she recalled. “When her first punch scraped my face, I realized my chin was a bit high, so on her second punch I lowered my chin. Then I had an epiphany: Your chin has to be low if you’re on an attack. If your chin is high, your body can’t attack.”

    Zhang lowered her chin. Then she attacked. And at 42 seconds of the first round, the 30-year-old native of Hebei became the first UFC champion from China. Then the madness began.

    UFC

    @ufc
    :4️⃣2️⃣

    All Zhang needed to become the first Chinese champion 🏆🇨🇳 #UFC248

    Embedded video
    4,067
    5:06 PM - Mar 3, 2020
    Twitter Ads info and privacy
    748 people are talking about this
    “The first month or so after I got my championship belt, I was super busy,” said Zhang, and that’s not surprising considering she comes from a nation of over 1.4 billion people. “It was the busiest month of my life. My schedule was filled with constant interviews and photoshoots for media, so many of them. At one point I had to speak non-stop from early morning until midnight. And I just couldn’t speak anymore. It was so much more exhausting than training. (Laughs) At that moment I realized that training is such a blessing.”

    It always has been for Zhang, a self-proclaimed “quiet kid” who found her voice in the gym, first in Sanda, then mixed martial arts.

    “It dawned on me that after training martial arts and MMA, I became more confident,” she said. “I found something that I was really passionate about, that I feel really strong about. When I watched movies about fighting, when I watched them training, I’d get excited. This is my passion.”

    That passion was expected to remain a hobby, though, as there were few opportunities on the big stage of MMA for male athletes in China, let alone women. And when an injury sidelined Zhang for five years, it looked like the end arrived before it began. It was an opinion supported by her parents.

    “At first they were (supportive),” said Zhang. “But then I got injured and retired, so I stopped training for five years. They were convinced that girls should go to school, since I got injured a lot. But after I got a job, I worked with MMA and my passion in this was ignited again. So I told my family to allow me three years. If I could make it, I will. If not, I won’t regret it. They agreed and they’re more than supportive right now.”

    UFC

    @ufc
    * MIC'D UP *

    🎤 Listen in as the champ and challenger bring the HEAT! #UFC248

    Embedded video
    2,422
    2:56 PM - Mar 5, 2020
    Twitter Ads info and privacy
    691 people are talking about this
    There was still a long way to go. Yet in 2013, six years before she struck gold in Shenzhen, Zhang had her first epiphany when Ronda Rousey defeated Liz Carmouche in the first women’s bout in UFC history. Now she had something concrete to shoot for and she let everybody know.

    “The moment I decided to go pro, I was aiming for the UFC,” said Zhang. “I was sure of it. Back in 2013, I posted on social media that as long as I hold on to my dream and keep challenging the great fighters, I will end up in the Octagon of the UFC. I had faith in myself even back then. And I had always aimed for the championship. When I told others about my dream, everyone assumed I was kidding. But ever since then, I’ve been working hard for my dream.”

    Last August, the dream became a reality, but Zhang hasn’t stopped dreaming. Now, it’s a quest to keep the belt, one that begins this weekend when she faces former 115-pound champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. It’s a fight Zhang was thinking of even before Jedrzejczyk knew who she was.

    “When Joanna was still the champion, I watched her fights when I was still fighting domestically, and I set my mind on fighting with her and taking the belt from her,” she said. “But now it’s the other way around. She’s trying to take the belt from me. And I’ve always thought that we’d meet in a fight. I think she’s an opponent who deserves to be respected.”

    That doesn’t mean Zhang will sit idly by for any trash talk from her opponent.

    “I know who she is,” said the champion of her challenger. “It’s all part of her tactic to curse and make you angry before going to the fight. I won’t take her seriously. I know she’s just acting. I won’t curse her. In Chinese culture, one does not curse to show her attitude. I will show her my attitude with my punches.”

    And by the time Saturday night turns into Sunday morning, Zhang expects to still have her title intact.

    “This championship belt is past tense for her,” said Zhang. “She should live with that.”
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •