Belts on The Line
Tape rankings @ Women’s Strawweight
Who won Esparza vs Zhang?
Weili Zhang beat Carla Esparza by submission in the 2nd round during the co-main event of UFC 281, on Saturday 12th November 2022 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The fight was scheduled to take place over 5 rounds in the Women’s Strawweight division, which meant the weight limit was 115 pounds (8.2 stone or 52.2 KG).
This contest was for the UFC women’s strawweight championship.
Esparza vs Zhang stats
Carla Esparza stepped into the octagon with a record of 19 wins, 6 loses and 0 draws, 4 of those wins coming by the way of knock out and 4 by submission.
Weili Zhang made her way to the cage with a record of 22 wins, 3 loses and 0 draws, with 11 of those wins by knock out and 7 by submission.
The stats suggested Zhang had a large advantage in power over Esparza, boosting at 50% knock out percentage over Esparza's 21%.
If the fight went to the ground, their records suggested Zhang had an advantage over Esparza, with a 32% submission rate over Esparza's 21%.
Carla Esparza was the older woman by 2 years, at 35 years old.
Zhang had a height advantage of 3 inches over Esparza. Despite this, both fighters had equal reach.
Esparza was the more experienced professional fighter, having had the same amount of fights, and made her debut in 2010, 3 years and 8 months earlier than Zhang, whose first professional fight was in 2013. She had fought 20 more professional rounds, 69 to Zhang's 49.
Esparza vs Zhang form
Esparza had won 5 of her most recent fights, stopping 1 of them, going to the judges 4 times.
In her last fight before this contest, she had defeated Rose Namajunas at UFC 274 on 7th May 2022 by split decision in their UFC Women’s Strawweight championship fight at Jeunesse Arena, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Previous to that, she had defeated Xiaonan Yan at UFC Vegas 27 on 22nd May 2021 by knockout in the 2nd round in the United States.
Going into that contest, she had beat Marina Rodriguez at UFC Fight Island 3 on 25th July 2020 by split decision in their 3 round contest at UFC Fight Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Before that, she had won against Alexa Grasso at UFC on ESPN+ 17 on 21st September 2019 by majority decision in their 3 round contest at Arena Ciudad de Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico.
She had beat Cynthia Calvillo at UFC 219 on 30th December 2017 by unanimous decision in their 3 round contest at T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, United States.
Zhang had beaten 3 of her last 5 opponents, stopping 2 of them, going the distance once.
In her last fight leading up to this contest, she had defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 275 on 11th June 2022 by knockout in the 2nd round at Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore.
Previous to that, she had been beaten by Rose Namajunas at UFC 268 on 6th November 2021 by split decision in their UFC Women’s Strawweight championship fight at Madison Square Garden, New York City, United States.
Going into that contest, she had lost to Rose Namajunas at UFC 261 on 24th April 2021 by knockout in the 1st round in their UFC Women’s Strawweight championship fight at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville.
Before that, she had defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248 on 7th March 2020 by split decision in their UFC Women’s Strawweight championship fight at T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas.
She had won against Jessica Andrade at UFC on ESPN+ 15 on 31st August 2019 by knockout in the 1st round in their UFC Women’s Strawweight championship fight at Universiade Sports Centre, Shenzhen, China.
In terms of activity leading into the fight, Weili Zhang had been fighting more than Carla Esparza.
Going to this contest, Carla Esparza had last fought 8 months and 27 days ago, while Weili Zhang's last outing had been 7 months and 23 days ago.
Esparza's last 5 fights had come over a period of 5 years, 1 month and 4 days, meaning she had been fighting on average every 1 year and 7 days. In those fights, she fought a total of 16 rounds, meaning that they had lasted 3.2 rounds on average.
Zhang's last 5 fights had come over a period of 3 years, 5 months and 3 days, meaning she had been fighting on average every 8 months and 7 days. In those fights, she fought a total of 14 rounds, meaning that they had lasted 2.8 rounds on average.
What were the odds on Esparza vs Zhang?
Carla Esparza was a 3/1 (+300) underdog going into the contest, while Weili Zhang made her way into the ring at 1/4 (-400) with oddsmakers.