Weili Zhang needed 42 seconds to knock out women’s strawweight champion Jessica Andrade and become the UFC’s first Chinese fighter to win a belt.
The victory came in the main event of UFC Fight Night 157 in Shenzhen, China, on Saturday.
“I felt so excited to win the title,” the 30-year-old said. “It is like a fantastic dream coming true.”
Zhang stunned Andrade as the champion came forward in the opening moments of the bout, quickly pouncing with a series of elbows and vicious knees before following up with punches and forcing the stoppage.
“I think the keys to my win were my calm mindset and the strategy defined by my coaches,” Zhang said. “All the strategies were practical, predicted each important point, and helped me seize every opportunity.
“Also, I did a great job in adjusting my mindset.”
It was the first time Andrade was knocked out since her UFC debut against Liz Carmouche in 2013, when Andrade was competing as a bantamweight.
Zhang has won 20 consecutive fights since dropping her professional debut. She becomes the fifth champion in the division’s history.
“I don’t have a name for a next opponent right now,” she said. “I will take whoever UFC gives to me. But personally, I will take a long sleep tonight and rest.”
Also on the card, welterweight Li Jingliang stopped Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos with just nine seconds remaining in the third and final round.
It was his third straight win overall and seventh in his last eight fights.