Zhang defends title over Jedrzejczyk in thriller

MMA

LAS VEGAS — A chaotic training camp and a superb effort from one of the most decorated champions in UFC history was still not enough to topple Zhang Weili.

Zhang (21-1) recorded the first defense of her 115-pound title on Saturday, as she defeated former five-time defending champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (16-4) via split decision in a five-round fight that will go down as one of the greatest in the division’s history. The bout co-headlined UFC 248 at T-Mobile Arena.

Two judges scored the bout 48-47 in favor of Zhang, while the third saw it 48-47 Jedrzejczyk. ESPN scored it for Zhang, 48-47.

“I was pretty sure I got it,” said Zhang, through a translator. “It was a great performance. We are all martial artists here. We don’t want trash talking. We want mutual respect.”

Jedrzejczyk, 32, who suffered a massive hematoma across her entire forehead from the third round on did not contest the scorecards and applauded Zhang after the bout. It was Jedrzejczyk’s first attempt at reclaiming the title since April 2018.

“She did a great job, I felt her punches,” Jedrzejczyk said. “The swelling was bothering me. I felt it more and more, but we’re good. Congrats champ. I’m very happy we gave a good fight.”

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