UFC 281 live blog: Carla Esparza vs. Zhang Weili – MMA Fighting

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This is the UFC 281 live blog for Carla Esparza vs. Zhang Weili, the strawweight title fight on Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
One of the most unexpected champions in recent history, Esparza etched her name into the history books by reclaiming the strawweight title seven years after first losing it, winning a split decision over Rose Namajunas in their rematch at UFC 274. Though Esparza won, that title bout is reviled as one of the worst fights of all time and so the newly crowned champion looks to solidify her claim to the championship with a more emphatic win over possibly her toughest test to date.
Zhang is also a former strawweight champion, claiming the title from Jessica Andrade in 2019 only to drop it to Namajunas two years later. After losing a close split decision to Namajunas in their rematch at UFC 268, Zhang looked like she could be in strawweight purgatory, until Esparza took the title back from Namajunas. Now Zhang hopes to reclaim the belt she lost, with a highlight reel win.
Check out the UFC 281 live blog below.
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