It was a rare early morning of UFC on the east, as the top MMA promotion travelled to Shenzhen, China for UFC on ESPN+ 15. In the main event of the card, Weili Zhang attempted to become the first-ever Chinese UFC Champion, facing Jessica Andrade, who got her belt by defeating Rose Namajunas at UFC 237 back in May. Also on the card is tons of Chinese and Asian MMA talent and a real focus on newcomers to the promotion on the undercard.

Bout 1: Lara Procopio (6-0) vs. Karol Rosa (11-3) (Bantamweight)

Kicking off the evening of fights was an all Brazilian competition between Lara Procopio and Karol Rosa. Rosa was landing good jabs early on. Procopio warmed up more in the later minutes of the first round, landing solid punches. Procopio shot for a takedown at the end of the first round but couldn’t secure it. Rosa continued to successfully defend takedowns through the second round. The pace of striking that they had in the first round carried through the whole fight. In the third round, Rosa landed a right hook which dropped Procopio. Rosa wasn’t able to finish the fight, standing back up shortly after. The fight went the distance, two of the scorecards giving Karol Rosa her 12th professional victory (29-28 Procopio, 30-27 Rosa & 29-28 Rosa)

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Procopio 10 9 9 28
Rosa 9 10 10 29

Bout 2: Danaa Batgerel (6-1) vs. Alatengheili (12-7-1) (Bantamweight)

Staying in the bantamweight class, two newcomers in Danaa Batgerel and Alatengheili battled. Both fighters had solid punches early on, although it was Alatengheili who was landing better combinations. Alatengheili had another great string of punches in the final minute of the first round, with Batgerel backpedalling. The second round saw Batgerel be the more aggressive fighter. Batgerel also had a good opening minute of the third round. Alatengheili landed the first takedown of the fight, grabbing onto a leg and not letting go, despite being kneed and punched on the way down. While having his opponent on his back, Batgerel continued to pour on strikes, throwing tons of elbows. Batgerel got the top position but lost it shortly after. Alatengheili threw punches until the round ran out of time. Going to the scorecards, it was Alatengheili who walked away with the win (29-27, 29-27 & 29-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Batgerel 9 10 10 29
Alatengheili 10 9 9 28

Bout 3: Thiago Moises (12-3) vs. Damir Ismagulov (18-2) (Lightweight)

The third bout of the evening was a lightweight clash between Thiago Moises and Damir Ismagulov. The first round was pretty even until Moises was dropped by punches in the final minute. Standing over a grounded Moises, Ismagulov threw some more punches before the round concluded. Moises tried for the first takedown of the fight in the second round but was refused. Moises had some good punches late in the second round. Ismagulov failed to get a takedown in the final minute of the second round. The final round was expectedly the slowest of the three, with no real huge moments from either fighter. After the fight ended, Ismagulov did push-ups in the octagon. All three judges saw Damir Ismagulov as the clear winner (30-26, 30-27 & 30-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Moises 9 9 9 27
Ismagulov 10 10 10 30

Bout 4: Khadis Ibragimov (8-0) vs. Da Un Jung (11-2)  (Light Heavyweight)

Continuing on the prelims, the next fight saw Khadis Ibragimov put his undefeated streak on the line against Da Un Jung. Ibragimov was coming forward with tons of punches in the first minute of the fight, with Jung not really answering back with anything. He laid off the pressure after the flurry which seemingly didn’t do much damage to Jung. Ibragimov would come forward with wailing punches many more times in the first round, completely out-striking Jung. Ibragimov got a bad cut around his nose as the first round was closing out. The fighters were quite fatigued come the second round but were still trading some hard punches. In the absence of Ibragimov’s crazy flurries of punches, Jung landed more punches in this round. The mouthpiece of Jung fell out many times in the second round. As the round was wrapping up, Ibragimov got top position on the ground. Ibragimov shot for a takedown early in the final round. Ibragimov landed a takedown. When they stood up against the cage, Jung put in a guillotine that made Ibragimov tap out. Da Un Jung brought his victory tally up to a dozen, also giving Ibragimov his first pro loss.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Ibragimov 10 9
Jung 8 10

Bout 5: Andre Soukhamthath (13-7) vs. Sumudaerji (10-4) (Bantamweight)

In the third bantamweight fight of the evening, Andre Soukhamthath fought Sumudaerji. Halfway through the first round, Soukhamthath shot for a takedown but instead stayed standing up against the cage. While in the position you could hear Soukhamthath try to tell the ref that his glove was being grabbed. Sumudaerji had solid punches throughout the round. In-between rounds, Soukhamthath claimed he broke his left hand. Staying in stand-up throughout the second round, with Sumudaerji showcasing his ability to come in with strikes then avoid a counter-punch. In the final round, Sumudaerji landed a big leg sweep to get the top position. While in the position he threw some elbows. The fight went the full three rounds, with the crowd giving quite the ovation as it ended. With some very decisive scorecards, Sumudarji walked away with the victory (30-26, 30-26 & 30-25).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Soukhamthath 9 9 8 26
Sumudaerji 10 10 10 30

Bout 6: Anthony Hernandez (7-1) vs. Jun Yong Park (10-3) (Middleweight)

In the featured preliminary bout of the show, Jun Yong Park faced Anthony Hernandez in a middleweight contest. This was the debut fight for Park, while Hernandez attempted to bounce back from his debut loss. Park had Hernandez backed up against the cage and was landing good punches, but Hernandez shot for a takedown to stop the combination. Hernandez took down Park many times, but Park kept getting back up. Hernandez had a good series of punches as the first round ended. In the second round, Park was putting together some good punches. Hernandez scored a takedown, then but Park got up and tried for a standing guillotine. Hernandez fought out of it and then got a slam takedown, although they got up shortly after. Hernandez put together a combination of punches and a knee before getting a takedown and getting Park’s back. Hernandez landed tons of punches on the ground before putting in an anaconda choke which made Park tap out.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Hernandez 10
Park 9

Bout 7: Mizuki (13-5) vs. Wu Yanan (10-2) (Flyweight)

Kicking off the main card, Japanese fighter Mizuki made her UFC debut against Wu Yanan, who got her last in via a first-round armbar. When the fight started you could tell Wu had a clear height advantage. In the first round, Wu had some pretty solid punches. Mizuki seemed to be the more controlling fighter in the second round, although Wu was the only fighter utilizing leg kicks. In the third round, Mizuki defended a takedown attempt, keeping the fight in stand-up. While nobody was getting shook hard by punches, Wu was out-striking throughout the fight. The fight went all fifteen minutes, with Mizuki getting a split decision victory (29-28 Wu, 29-28 Mizuki & 29-28 Mizuki).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Mizuki 9 10 9 28
Wu 10 9 10 29

Bout 8: Derrick Krantz (24-11) vs. Song Kenan (14-5) (Welterweight)

Moving up to the welterweight division, two experienced UFC fighters in Derrick Krantz and Song Kenan fought. The crowd was on fire at this point, doing a chant as this fight was starting up. Kenan seemingly had better strikes in the first round. Kenan landed an amazing combination, faking a flying knee then landing a head kick right after. While Song had a guillotine choke on, Krantz landed a slam takedown. Krantz took side position, then transitioned into half guard. Song was able to flip the script on the ground, taking the back of Krantz, although it was short-lived. Krantz went back into the top position in half guard with over a minute left in the round. Krantz put in a guillotine when they stood up against the cage, although Song escaped. Krantz stayed mostly in control until the second round ended. Early in the final round, Krantz was in trouble as Song was putting on the pressure and coming forward with tons of punches. Stopping the momentum, Krantz got another takedown. Song was able to escape the position within a reasonable amount of time. In seemingly the same situation as before, Song landed clean strikes before Krantz got another takedown. They got back up with under two minutes left in the fight. Song was still putting on the pressure, although it was clear both fighters were quite tired. The fight turned to scorecards to find a winner, with Song Kenan earning the unanimous decision victory (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Krantz 9 10 9 28
Kenan 10 9 10 29

Bout 9: Mark De La Rosa (11-2) (#14) vs. Kai Kara-France (19-7 1 NC) (#10) (Flyweight)

The next bout included the first fight of the evening featuring ranked fighters. From the thin flyweight division, #14 ranked Mark De La Rosa faced #10 ranked Kai Kara-France. Mark De La Rosa’s corner was quite vocal throughout the fight, sometimes being the only voice on the broadcast. Halfway through the round, Kara-France landed a good slam takedown, but they did stand up moments after. Early in the second round, Kara-France landed a right cross which floored De La Rosa. When he got back up, De La Rosa failed to get a single leg takedown. In the third round, De La Rosa got a cut above his left eye. After three rounds of dominant performance, Kai Kara-France took home the W via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
De La Rosa 9 9 9 27
Kara-France 10 10 10 30

Bout 10: Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (21-5) (#14) vs. Li Jingliang (16-5) (Welterweight)

In the co-main event of the evening, China’s Li Jingliang faced Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos. The first round was pretty evenly matched until the final seconds, where Li dropped dos Santos with a punch. He was able to recover, putting Li in a standing clinch up against the cage until the round ended. Both fighters landed good strikes in the purely stand-up based second round. The third round was mostly like the two before, with Li out-striking although dos Santos was clearly still in the fight. This was the case at least until Li dropped dos Santos with an uppercut, and then dropped him a second time through more punches up against the cage, ending the fight in the final seconds of the fight. Li Jingliang got his third victory in a row, and will likely crash the welterweight rankings, defeated a ranked fighter.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Dos Santos 9 9
Li 10 10

Bout 11: Zhang Weili (19-1) (#6) vs. Jessica Andrade (20-6) © (UFC Strawweight Championship)

In the main event of the show, China’s Weili Zhang faced UFC Strawweight Champion, Jessica Andrade. From the very start, Zhang was landing tons of low kicks. They landed some punches, although a right hook for Zhang made Andrade lean over. Zhang got tons of knee strikes to the gut in a clinch up against the cage. Exiting clinch, Andrade was hit with two punches while retreating which dropped her. Zhang threw two more punches before the referee stepped in, ending the fight in under a minute. Zhang Weili became China’s first UFC Champion, and in the best location possible to do so. China finished the evening with an impressive record of 5-1 in all of their fights.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Total
Weili
Andrade

In a rare occasion of events, next week will have the second UFC event in a row with a Championship fight. Live from Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Khabib Nurmagomedov will attempt to defend his UFC Lightweight Championship against the interim champion, “Diamond” Dustin Poirier. The card will also include appearances from fellow Russian talent in Islam Makhachev, Mairbek Taisumov, Zubaira Tukhugov and many others. Being a PPV card, the show will also have very recognizable names in Paul Felder, Curtis Blaydes, Joanne Calderwood and others competing.