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Should everything come together, an upcoming
Ultimate Fighting Championship
will be bolstered by a duo of
major women’s championship matches.

On Friday, ESPN
broke the news that the promotion was aiming to book champ Weili Zhang
(21-1) against Rose
Namajunas
(9-4) for the strawweight belt on UFC 261. The fight
is not official at the moment, but it is in the works for the April
24 pay-per-view card. In addition to the matchup news, the
promotion appears to have abandoned its plans to stage the card in
Singapore, and will likely remain at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas
instead.

Zhang has looked practically unstoppable since dropping her first
career match to Meng Bo in
2013. Rattling off an impressive 21-fight win streak including five
victories inside the Octagon, the champ from China maintains a
stellar finish rate of 81 percent. This string includes a mauling
of Jessica
Aguilar
, a demolition of then-champ Jessica
Andrade
and her first title defense against former divisional
queen Joanna
Jedrzejczyk
. In their March 2020 meeting, both Zhang and
Jedrzejczyk engaged in unbelievable battle that easily captured

Sherdog’s 2020 “Fight of the Year” award
along with universal
accolades.

Ex-champ Namajunas rebounded from an emphatic 2019 loss where she
surrendered her title to the aforementioned Andrade with a rematch
in July 2020. In that three-round affair, “Thug Rose” threw down
with her rival for three hard rounds, and she picked up a split
decision win to earn another crack at her old belt. To get there,
Namajunas had to knock out Jedrzejczyk to win the strap, and then
defend in a five-round brawl to hold on to her gold.

This anticipated scrap, should it come to fruition on UFC 261, will
join a flyweight title tilt between Valentina
Shevchenko
and Andrade on April 24. Neither the
Shevchenko-Andrade tilt, nor the Zhang-Namajunas new offering, are
expected to headline the card. The UFC Apex-staged event will also
play host to a middleweight rematch pitting former champ Chris
Weidman
against the resurgent Uriah Hall,
while Anthony
Smith
comes to blows with Jimmy Crute
at light heavyweight as well.

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