UFC returns to China with August event in Shenzhen

The UFC is investing a lot in China, which they call their “most important growth market.”

The UFC has announced their next event in Asia, with the promotion returning to China on August 31. The event will be held in Shenzhen, at the Universiade Sports Centre.

The event will be broadcast on ESPN+, and while no bouts have been announced just yet, it is expected to feature the #6 ranked strawweight Weili Zhang. The 29-year-old Chinese fighter has gone 3-0 in the UFC, and most recently defeated contender Tecia Torres last March.

The event is also likely to feature the bulk of the Chinese fighters in the UFC roster such as Li Jingliang and Song Yadong, along with some of their other fighters from the Asian region.

This marks the UFC’s third event in Mainland China in as many years, with the previous two being in Beijing in 2018 and Shanghai in 2017. Prior to breaking into the mainland, the UFC hosted three shows in Macau from 2012-2014.

Apart from these yearly events, the UFC has also been investing a lot in the country, and is set to open their second UFC Performance Institute this June, in Shanghai.

“China is the most important growth market for UFC,” UFC Senior VP for Asia-Pacific, Kevin Chang said. “Our ongoing success is a testament to the loyalty of our passionate fans, the on-going support from our partners, and the work we are doing to fast-track the development of UFC ready athletes in this region.”

UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs. Lee – Review

UFC Rochester delivered in terms of entertainment. It was an exciting card throughout, and all it needed was for the main event to cap it off.

And the main delivered — as Kevin Lee’s welterweight debut was spoiled by Rafael Dos Anjos, who with this victory made his return to the win column after a two-fight losing slump.

Lee is the latest victim of the grueling 155 weight cut, and fellow former lightweight in RDA obliged to give him his first dance in the welterweight division.

The bout lived up to the hype. Both fighters built up some bad blood in the days prior to the fight, and the product we were sold was more than satisfactory.

This was a huge victory for RDA, who desperately needed to get back to winning ways in order to stay in the top five of the division. And he did just that, despite looking a little shaky in the first round, the Brazilian never looked to be in too much trouble before securing a fourth-round submission victory.

Lee, as expected, came storming out of the gates. “The Motown Phenom” was very lively in the first round, and utilized a mix of his striking and wrestling to gain an advantage in the first round. But unfortunately for the 170 debutant, it was too little too early to get a savvy veteran like RDA out of there.

Despite looking ever so good at this weight class, Lee’s conditioning issues remained. His exhaustion was more visible with every takedown attempt, and RDA proceeded to take full advantage.

The 34-year-old Brazilian continued to look light on his feet throughout the rounds, as he teed off on his opponent, while also securing multiple takedowns over the rounds.

In the fourth round, the conditioning levels seemed like night and day between the two fighters, and it was time for RDA to start asserting his dominance in this bout. With about two minutes left in the round, Lee shot for what looked like a desperation single leg, only to end up at the feet of RDA, and hoping for mercy.

From there on, Dos Anjos’ BJJ black belt came out to play. The former lightweight champ almost instantly gained top position following Lee’s failed takedown attempt, and smoothly transitioned into an arm triangle — with Lee having nothing but a tap left to give.

An impressive, and important victory for Rafael Dos Anjos, who’s quest for welterweight gold is not over just yet.

As for Kevin Lee, the issue that haunted him in the lightweight division followed him up to 170. And while the potential of the 26-year-old is evident, the next step for the Michigan native should be to master patience and preserving his energy beyond the first round.