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Rose Namajunas vs. Zhang Weili UFC 268 Co-Main Event Betting Odds, Pick, Preview

Rose Namajunas vs. Zhang Weili UFC 268 Co-Main Event Betting Odds, Pick, Preview article feature image

Alex Menendez/Getty Images. Pictured: UFC fighters Rose Namajunas (L) and Zhang Weili (R).

  • Zhang Weili is favored to regain the UFC Strawweight Championsihp at UFC 268 against Rose Namajunas.
  • Namajunas beat Weili for the belt via headkick back in April, winning the title for the second time.
  • Sean Zerillo breaks down the betting value in the fight and makes his betting pick below.

Rose Namajunas vs. Zhang Weili Odds

Namajunas Odds
Zhang Odds
4.5 (-115 / -105)
Madison Square Garden
Approx. 11:45 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute UFC odds here.

Saturday’s co-main event features a rematch between strawweight title holder Rose Namajunas and former champion Zhang Weili. Namajunas won the belt with perfect head kick that dropped Zhang in Round 1 of their first meeting. However, Weili is the slight favorite ahead of Saturday’s bout.

Below I preview how these fighters stack up and which side has betting value for this action-packed co-main event. For more analysis on the rest of the card, you can check out my projections for the entire slate here.

Tale of the Tape

Namajunas Zhang
Record 11-4 21-2
Avg. Fight Time 11:31 10:07
Height 5’5″ 5’4″
Weight (pounds) 115 lbs. 115 lbs.
Reach (inches) 65″ 63″
Stance Orthodox Switch
Date of birth 6/29/1992 8/13/1989
Sig Strikes Per Min 4.13 6.36
SS Accuracy 40% 45%
SS Absorbed Per Min 3.99 4.42
SS Defense 60% 53%
Take Down Avg 1.89 1.24
TD Acc 53% 23%
TD Def 50% 100%
Submission Avg 0.8 0.5

When I previewed the first fight in April, Zhang closed as a -200 favorite (66.7% implied), taking money right up until the opening bell.

The first fight didn’t last 90 seconds, and we seemingly learned nothing about the matchup between these two Strawweights, but Namajunas has moved more than 15% in implied probability for the rematch.

I liked Zhang the first time around. I projected her moneyline odds at 67% (-204 implied) and recommended her as a small parlay piece. However, my favorite angle was to wait to play Zhang live after Round 1 and/or Round 2.

Thankfully, I saved myself from eating some chalk, but If I liked Zhang at -150 Live, down a round in April, how could I not like her closer to even money in the rematch?

Namajunas’ output typically falls off after the first five to 10 minutes, and I expect Zhang’s pressure and power to win a war of attrition the longer the fight extends.

Rose’s success should be front loaded. She is the cleaner and more technical striker, but Zhang brings relentless pressure and uses powerful leg kicks to slow her opponents down.

Namajunas has shown questionable cardio in three-round fights, which could lead to a stoppage loss against a relentless pressure fighter in a five-round title fight. Rose’s footwork and movement could give Zhang problems early, but Weili has the power edge, and once Rose starts to wilt, she tends to stop moving and stand in front of her opponents.

The champion could use her grappling (53% takedown accuracy, 1.89 landed per 15 minutes) to win minutes, but Zhang (100% takedown defense) has proven challenging to control. Still, if Rose gets this fight to the mat, she should have the advantage.

MMA is a high-variance sport, but people tend to treat results as definitive. A 90-second victory via head kick — between two championship-level fighters — is utterly sensational. Still, it’s also the product of randomness and generally isn’t predictive.

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Namajunas vs. Zhang Pick

I saw Zhang as the better minute winner (+1.96 to +0.14 strike differential) before the first fight, and we have no new information to suggest that that wouldn’t be the case half a year later.

Perhaps you can upgrade Rose’s finishing upside to a degree, and I boosted her moneyline projection by more than 10% – but I still show value on the Zhang side.

I would bet Zhang Weili on the moneyline up to -115 (available at Caesars). I also bet on her odds to win inside the distance (projected +260) before the moneyline moved towards her side. Unfortunately, those odds have dropped closed to +200, but I would sprinkle her finish prop at +250 or better.

Additionally, I would look to bet Zhang live after Round 1 and/or Round 2, when Rose’s output should start to wane.

The Pick: Zhang Weili (-115, 0.5u) | Zhang Weili wins Inside the Distance (+285, 0.1u)

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