What’s at Stake: UFC Shenzhen
Coming off the thrill and excitement of an event it’s easy to forget that two weeks later this fight night is being held with two fighters in the main event that may not have the most drawing power on the roster. It may also be easy to forget that the aforementioned card is being held in Shenzhen, China and may also be easy to forget that one of the aforementioned combatants is from China (Hebei, China to be exact).
Although the main event is one that is drooled over by the more hardcore fans, most casual, and or new fans may not be as excited, but I want to take the time to share with you my thoughts on why this card has the chance to change the sport we know and love forever.
Weili Zhang will be fighting for her first UFC title after stringing together 19 consecutive wins including 3 in the UFC, looking impressive most of the way. Standing across from here will be the newly crowned women’s strawweight champion Jessica Andrade, who won that title against fan-favourite Rose Namajunas at UFC 237 with an emphatic slam that sent shock waves across the sport.
Not only will we be treated to a main event that has fireworks written all over it, but we also have the potential to see history. If Weili Zhang can pull off the victory she would be the first-ever Chinese UFC Champion.
Some people may look at that and say “that’s cool, but not a big deal”, or “There are champions from many countries what makes this so special?”, well to satisfy these random people and these random questions that I just made up I’ll say this. China has over 1 billion people. Not only do they have that massive population, but the country also has the 2nd highest GDP in the world behind the USA.
With those numbers and history, we have to go on regarding how countries respond to their becoming world champion it should be no surprise what I’m going to say next. Weili Zhang has the potential to turn an entire country into MMA fans.
This fight, win, lose, or draw has the potential to shock the MMA world as a whole. Imagine the growth the industry would see with tens of millions of fans jumping on board with the sport overnight!
Now Zhang isn’t guaranteed to win and there’s always the chance that the card could be a complete disaster, but I like to be a bit more optimistic than that.
What’s at stake in this underrated card is potentially hyper-accelerating the growth of the fastest-growing sport in the world. This has the potential to affect things ranging from fan numbers to things like fighter pay and unionization, and everything in between.
Prediction: Zhang UD 48-47
Passionate MMA writer and personality, host of the Tony Takedown Challenge.