Fight fans react after Carla Esparza books first title defense opposite Weili Zhang: “Well, that reign didn’t last long”

By Harry Kettle - August 19, 2022

Fight fans have reacted to the news that Carla Esparza will defend the UFC strawweight championship against Weili Zhang.


Ever since her controversial win over Rose Namajunas earlier this year, fans have been wondering what the next step is going to be for Carla Esparza. The veteran, who was the first ever champion in the weight class, is a legend in the strawweight division and is now a two-time champ as a result of her second triumph against ‘Thug Rose’.

Weili Zhang, meanwhile, has been waiting for another crack at the belt ever since going down 2-0 in her own series with Namajunas. She was able to bounce back recently with a brutal knockout win over Joanna Jędrzejczyk, setting up a seemingly inevitable meeting with Esparza.

It was confirmed earlier this week that the contest will go down at UFC 281, likely serving as the co-main event to the middleweight title showdown between Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira.

Upon hearing of the booking, MMA fans have a few thoughts on how it’s going to go down.

There are definitely going to be a few split camps for this one but above all else, it does feel like we’re going to get fireworks of some description when these two collide at Madison Square Garden.

You’d have to imagine Namajunas will fancy getting on the card too given her past success at the world’s most famous arena, and if she can win her return bout emphatically, it’s almost a guaranteed certainty that she’ll get the chance to become a three-time champion.

How do you feel about the UFC booking Carla Esparza vs Weili Zhang? Is Zhang the clear favourite or are fans underestimating Esparza, as they’ve done since her resurgence began? Let us know your thoughts on this and UFC 281 as a whole down in the comments, BJPENN Nation!