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Rose Namajunas UFC 261 results highlights stuns Weili Zhang

Valentina Shevchenko, Weili Zhang, Zhang Weili

Rose Namajunas UFC 261 results highlights stuns Weili Zhang

Rose Namajunas Rose Namajunas results, Zhang Weili highlights: 261 … UFC stuns

Sat, 24 Apr 2021 19:00:00 -0700

As Rose Namajunas and her team had echoed throughout fight week regarding just how great she can be when she's dialed in and at her very best, Saturday's 

As Rose Namajunas and her team had echoed throughout fight week regarding just how great she can be when she’s dialed in and at her very best, Saturday’s UFC 261 co-main event was a scary representation of what she’s capable of. 

Namajunas (10-4) captured the UFC women’s strawweight title for the second time by delivering a lead-leg head kick to floor Weili Zhang before finishing her off just 78 seconds into Round 1 inside VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. 

The stunning result produced wildly different reactions from both fighters as Namajunas, 28, fell to her knees in tears of joy. Zhang (21-2), meanwhile, vehemently protested the stoppage of referee Keith Peterson and didn’t let up during the post-fight interview. 

“I feel I can come back real quick. This was not what I planned to say,” Zhang said through a translator. “I am still conscious. The referee stoppage was a little bit early.”

Despite the protest of the UFC’s first Chinese-born champion, Namajunas’ left kick appeared to shake Zhang’s consciousness before a trio of hammer strikes produced the stoppage. 

The victory concluded an emotional journey for Namajunas, which began with a violent 2019 loss to Jessica Andrade to end her first title reign after Namajunas was slammed on her head and knocked out. After openly contemplating retirement, “Thug” Rose returned last July to outlast Andrade in a bloody rematch via split decision. 

Namajunas nervously voiced “I’m the best” to herself in repetition during Octagon announcer Bruce Buffer’s pre-fight introductions. After the fight, she repeated phrase after longtime fiancee and coach Pat Barry played the role of hype man by telling her she’s the greatest of all-time. 

“I am the best!” Namajunas said. “I did it again. I really just had to have faith in [God] and that’s what got me through.”

Zhang, 31, entered the Octagon for the first time in 13 months since edging former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk in a brutal five-round thriller. It was clear in the early going against Namajunas that Zhang’s plan was to slow down her lateral movement by constantly working inside calf kicks. 

TOO EASY. THUG ROSE IS BACK. #UFC261 pic.twitter.com/oBHQTJWykt

https://t.co/WAqFhXbaJl pic.twitter.com/j05DGjCdm5

Namajunas boxed well in the opening minute and stung Zhang with a stiff jab. She followed up with a feint that a leg kick of her own might be coming before lifting her lead left leg and catching Zhang on the side of the neck. 

“I didn’t see her move and I wasn’t sure if she was going to come back from that. Just a couple of hammer fists and I feel like she was out,” Namajunas said. 

The two-time champion also made sure to put to bed the negative reactions she received during fight week to anti-communism remarks regarding Zhang’s native country.

“All that stuff that was in the media, that was not my intent to personally attack her as a person,” Namajunas said. “That is just my history and my past, and that’s it.”

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Images by Getty Images and US Presswire

Rose Namajunas

Sat, 24 Apr 2021 19:00:00 -0700

Rose Namajunas is once again the UFC women's strawweight champion with a first-round knockout win over Zhang Weili in the co-main event of UFC 261 from 

Rose Namajunas is once again the UFC women's strawweight champion with a first-round knockout win over Zhang Weili in the co-main event of UFC 261 from VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. 

One well-timed head kick was all it took for Namajunas to put the champion down and reclaim her belt. 

Zhang was left stunned by what happened, arguing to the ref about the finish despite wobbling on her feet even after the fight. 

TOO EASY. THUG ROSE IS BACK. #UFC261 https://t.co/oBHQTJWykt

The win vaults Namajunas into the record books. She's the first woman fighter to reclaim a belt. 

Rose Namajunas is the first woman in UFC history to win the same title on two separate occassions. Absolutely beautiful left headkick.

Her finishing time of just over a minute is also among the quickest finishes in the history of the division. She didn't quite beat Zhang in that regard but she'll probably take the title over the record. 

Rose Namajunas now has the most finishes in SW history with five. FASTEST STRAWWEIGHT KNOCKOUTS – UFC History 0:33 – Poliana Botelho 0:42 – Zhang Weili 1:18 – Rose Namajunas #UFC261

The win completes Namajunas' journey back to being a champion in the UFC. The 28-year-old captured the belt April 2018 but lost it when she was beaten by TKO to Jessica Andrade by slam. 

Back then, losing the belt brought a sense of relief for Namajunas. Holding the championship brought the weight of defending the crown. However, this time around, she has a different perspective on her success. 

“I just had a lack of vision,” Namajunas said of her first reign, per McKenzie Pavacich of UFC.com. “I think becoming the champ was the final destination, but I didn’t really have a clear vision as to what to do with it once I got it. I sort of got lost in that and sort of got anxious for things to be what they weren’t, and I got impatient and didn’t maintain gratitude.”

Maintaining her focus will certainly be required to hold on to the belt. Zhang isn't going anywhere. Namajunas may have ended her 21-fight win streak, but she's still among the best fighters in the division, and Zhang's fellow countrywoman Yan Xiaonan is waiting in the wings. 

The 31-year-old has put together a six-fight streak of her own in the UFC and has the look of a title challenger.

For now, Thug Rose has reclaimed her status as top of the food chain at 115 pounds.  

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– April 25, 2021
Valentina Shevchenko, Weili Zhang, Zhang Weili