On March 7, T-Mobile Arena will host UFC 248, a historic event pitting former strawweight world champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (16-3) against reigning 115-pound titleholder Weili Zhang (20-1) in the main event. Tickets go on sale to the public Jan. 24 with an AXS exclusive presale opening Jan. 23 (Tickets).
March 7 is shaping up to be a big night for combat sports fans, as the newly-crowned Zhang will look to defend her championship against "Joanna Violence," the former UFC strawweight champion who made five successful title defenses between 2015 and 2017. The fight is a must-see because the MMA community needs to find out if Jedrzejczyk is still in or close to her prime, after falling short in three of her past five. Now at 32 years old, the Poland native may or may not be at the tail end of her illustrious career. After back-to-back losses to Rose Namajunas, it was looking like the Muay Thai icon was nearing the end of the line.
Shockingly, she quieted the pens of her harshest critics with a spirited performance against Michelle "Karate Hottie" Waterson in her most recent outing -- a scrap at UFC Fight Night 161 that marked her return to 115 pounds. There's no question that Jedrzejczyk has looked sharp since dropping back down to strawweight, but will she be able to keep the momentum rolling against the upper echelon of the division as she continues to creep up in age?
Zhang is going to be a great indicator of where "Joanna Champion" is at this point in her career. The new champ, 30, holds an unblemished 4-0 record in her UFC career. She's coming off an impressive knockout victory over Jessica Andrade, which scored her the world strawweight championship. But facing off against Jedrzejczyk will be a whole different ballgame, a true test against a grizzled veteran and world-class striker. A successful title defense against Jedrzejczyk would prove to the world that Zhang's win over Andrade was no fluke.
In the co-main, Jared Cannonier is expected to compete at middleweight. The UFC is seeking a new opponent for him after his original adversary, Robert Whittaker, withdrew from the card for personal reasons.
UFC 248 Fight Card (Tickets)
Women Strawweight (Main event): Weili Zhang (20 - 1 - 0) vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (16 - 3 - 0)
Middleweight (Co-main): Robert Whittaker (20 - 5 - 0) vs. Jared Cannonier (13 - 4 - 0)
Women Strawweight: Emily Whitmire (4 - 3 - 0) vs. Polyana Viana (10 - 4 - 0)
Bantamweight: Danaa Batgerel (6 - 2 - 0) vs. GuidoCannetti (8 - 4 - 0)
Welterweight: Neil Magny (21 - 7 - 0) vs. Li Jingliang (17 - 5 - 0)
Middleweight: Rodolfo Vieira (6 - 0 - 0) vs. Saparbek Safarov (9 - 2 - 0)
Welterweight: Alex Oliveira (19 - 8 - 1, 2NC) vs. Max Griffin (15 - 7 - 0)