UFC strawweight contender Mackenzie Dern will be watching UFC 292 closely as a title fight in her division is scheduled to co-headline the event. Fresh off an impressive win over Angela Hill, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt wishes to keep on climbing the rankings to someday earn a title shot of her own, so any athletes in the mix are sure to raise the grappler’s interest.
Can the challenger KO the champion at UFC 292?
Such is the case of champion Zhang Weili and challenger Amanda Lemos, who are expected to square off at UFC 292, in August. While ‘Magnum’ did win back the title with a victory over Carla Esparza just last year, Dern believes her second reign will be short-lived.
In a conversation (transcribed by MMA Junkie) with former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping on his podcast ‘Believe You Me’, Dern explained she believes Amanda Lemos will be the one emerging victorious at UFC 292. Though the BJJ blackbelt acknowledges how dangerous a fighter Zhang is, she is unsure whether the champion can hold her own against the Brazilian’s power for 25 minutes.
“I think Amanda Lemos is going to knock her out,” Dern said. Amanda Lemos is a hard fight. She’s probably one of the last persons on my list that I want to fight right now.”
“From what I saw with Rose (Namajunas) catching her (Weili) on the chin with that kick and was just kind of like ‘boom,’ on the spot, precise, I can see Amanda Lemos like hanging on,” Dern explained. “She’s hard to knock out, she has a good base. I don’t see Weili like Jessica Andrade with big biceps and that style to submit her, even though I know Zhang has a ground game. I think in 25 minutes, she can land a shot that will knock her out.”
UFC 292 is set to feature two title fights
The win over Hill saw Mackenzie Dern (13-3) rebound from a unanimous decision loss to Yan Xiaonan, which happened in October 2022. In fact, the 30-year-old has been alternating wins and losses for while, having defeated Tecia Torres via split decision in April 2022 and losing to Marina Rodriguez just before that, in October 2021.
Meanwhile, Amanda Lemos’ (13-2-1) road to a title shot started all the way back in December 2019, when a submission win over Miranda Granger started what would turn into a 7-1 run. During this time, the 36-year-old defeated notable names such as Angela Hill, Michelle Waterson and most recently, in November 2022, Marina Rodriguez. The Brazilian’s sole loss took place in April 2022, when she got submitted by former champion Jessica Andrade.
Zhang Weili (23-3) will be looking for her third straight win after beating former champions Carla Esparza and Joanna Jedrzejczyk in her most recent outings. The 33-year-old’s last loss dates back to November 2021, when she dropped a split decision to Rose Namajunas in a rematch for the title at UFC 268.
Now, Zhang is expected to face Amanda Lemos for strawweight belt at UFC 292, in Boston, Massachusetts. The August 19 card is scheduled to be headlined by a bantamweight title fight between the champion Aljamain Sterling and challenger Sean O’Malley.
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