The co-main event on Saturday night’s star-studded UFC 300 card is an all-Chinese clash between Weili Zhang and Yan Xiaonan for the UFC women’s strawweight title. It’s a landmark event for the UFC and promises to be an exciting contest with Zhang looking to once again defend her title against the strawweight division’s No. 1-ranked contender.

This marks a significant moment for Chinese MMA, and the UFC has seized on a perfect opportunity to elevate the sport in China’s massive market. There’s no question that fans have been looking forward to this bout ever since Yan's knockout victory over former champion Jessica Andrade at UFC 288 in May 2023.

This co-main event looks exciting, so let's share our best UFC picks for it.

Weili Zhang vs. Yan Xiaonan Odds, Moneyline, Over/Under – UFC 300 OddsMoneyline: Weili Zhang -500, Yan Xiaonan +350
Total Rounds: Over 3.5 (-150), Under 3.5 (+110)

Method of Victory:
Weili Zhang KO, TKO or Disqualification +140
Weili Zhang Decision or Technical Decision +162
Weili Zhang By Submission +500
Yan Xiaonan KO, TKO or Disqualification +1200
Yan Xiaonan Decision or Technical Decision +450
Yan Xiaonan By Submission +2500
Draw or Technical Draw +6600

Weili Zhang vs. Yan Xiaonan Prediction and Picks

A look at the odds for this UFC bout makes it clear that Weili Zhang is, understandably, a strong favorite to win. Only Bo Nickal has shorter odds to win on Saturday’s stacked UFC card. Weili is one of the most fearsome fighters not only in the strawweight division, but in all of women’s MMA. She is second behind only Alexa Grasso in the women’s pound-for-pound rankings.

Weili has only lost twice since she began competing in MMA, and both losses came against another female MMA legend, Rose Namajunas, in 2021. Apart from those two fights, she has been a consistent winner over the past five years, especially since she claimed the strawweight title by defeating Jessica Andrade on home soil in August 2019. 

That 42-second KO of Andrade demonstrated the knockout power Weili possesses, as she defeated the Brazilian with a tremendous flurry of offense from the opening bell. The win made her the first Chinese champion in UFC history.

Weili’s first title defense was arguably even more impressive, as she defended her belt against recent Hall of Fame inductee Joanna Jędrzejczyk in a split decision at UFC 248 in March 2020. That fight saw 25 minutes of ridiculous offensive output, with 768 significant strikes thrown over the course of the fight and both women taking an incredible amount of damage. 

The 2020 Zhang-Jedrzejczyk fight was awarded “Fight of the Year” by many MMA media outlets and was a clear demonstration for the fans of Weili’s pace and cardio, as well as her ability to take damage and keep moving forward.

Although Weili lost her title to Namajunas in April 2021, she regained it in November 2022 with a submission victory over Carla Esparza at UFC 281. She then defended it with a dominant unanimous decision over Amanda Lemos last August.

Right now, Weili is clearly the world’s No. 1 strawweight, but this next challenge on Saturday will not be an easy one for her. Many fans watching the UFC on ESPN this weekend might be unfamiliar with Yan Xiaonan, but she is unquestionably a force to be reckoned with in this fight.

Yan comes in with just as much experience as Weili, since these fighters have had 10 UFC fights apiece. Like Weili, Yan has only lost twice in the Octagon -- having suffered recent defeats at the hands of Marina Rodriguez and Esparza.

Those losses had derailed her path towards a title fight, but Yan rebounded well, and her underdog victory over Andrade last May was the best win of her career so far. The victory surprised a lot of people who had made UFC picks for that event.

All of Yan’s other UFC wins -- apart from the Andrade victory -- have been by unanimous decision. That is a testament to her ability to out-strike her opponents while supplying relentless pressure for three rounds.

Weili doesn’t go the distance quite as often as Yan, but five of her 10 UFC fights have gone to the judge’s scorecards, including her legendary bout with Jędrzejczyk.

Both Yan and Weili are difficult to finish, and they have suffered a total of just three losses by KO or submission in their 44 UFC fights combined. Strawweight matches often go the distance, and for my first prediction for UFC 300, I expect this fight to follow suit.

Look for five rounds of crisp, high-volume striking -- but without a crowning knockout blow.

The Pick: Will the Fight go the Distance – Yes (+105)

Yan has only had one five-round fight in her career so far -- a majority-decision victory over Mackenzie Dern. However, she clearly lost the final round of that one, with one judge scoring it 10-8.

As far as the championship rounds go here, it seems like Weili will have the advantage. That’s especially the case when one considers her ability to maintain high-volume striking for a full 25 minutes -- demonstrated notably in the Joanna Jędrzejczyk fight -- in a way we just haven’t seen from Yan.

Yan is not to be underestimated here, but Weili Zhang is the favorite for a reason, as  she is one of the top fighters in the world, male or female. This won’t be a totally one-sided affair, but I do expect Weili to have her hand raised -- and show everyone why she is the champion – by the end of this first ever all-Chinese UFC title fight.

The Pick: Weili Zhang to win (-500)

Odds are subject to change*

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