UFC 248 delivered a contender for fight of the year, as well as a colossal disappointment in the main event.
Women’s Strawweight Champion Zhang Weili defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk by split decision in a phenomenal fight that saw each fighter dish out and endure an unhealthy amount of punishment. Weili and Jedrzejczyk were straight-up traded shots. When one landed, the other landed harder.
Weili passed her first test as champion, going 25 minutes with “The Queen of Strawweights” and getting tougher as the fight extended. Weili showed off some of the fastest strikes in MMA, and her fists completely mangled Jedrzejczyk‘s face during the fight.
The Weili-Jedrzejczyk battle stood in direct contrast to the main event of Israel Adesanya against Yoel Romero.
Adesanya won the five-round fight by unanimous decision, but it was a contest that will be defined by its lack of action.
The fight was widely predicted to be one full of action. But Romero started the opening round with a game plan to intentionally slow the pace, which ultimately cost him the decision. Romero’s plan was to force Adesanya to come forward toward him, taking the notorious counter fighter out of his element. Ultimately, Adesanya did not bite, and did just enough to retain his title.
In the aftermath of the victory, Adesanya called out Paulo Costa, who was originally intended for a fight for the belt at UFC 248 until he suffered an arm injury.
None of the other fights moved their divisions forward, but they were certainly exciting.
“Brazilian Cowboy” Alex Oliveira opened the night with a split decision win against Max Griffin in a welterweight fight, and the Neil Magny-Li Jingliang welterweight fight also went the distance as Magny was victorious via unanimous decision.
Jingliang barely finishes the fight, as Magny dominated the final two rounds in an entirely one-sided affair. Beneil Dariush also made a statement in his Lightweight division win against Drakkar Klose, putting an exclamation point on the encounter with a knockout punch just a minute into the second round.
The key takeaways from the night are the brilliance of the women’s strawweight fight as well as the disappointment of the main event. While Adesanya and Romero failed to deliver a fight worth remembering, the championship fight between Weili against Jedrzejczyk will stand the test of time as one of the most remarkable fights in UFC history.