Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk Odds, UFC 275 Pick & Prediction: Back the Underdog in Close Decision (Saturday, June 10)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC fighters Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Weili Zhang.
- Joanna Jedrzejczyk returns to the octagon for the first time in two years for a rematch with Zhang Weili at UFC 275.
- Can the underdog Jedrzejczyk get a win and revenge after a long layoff?
- Sean Zerillo explains the two ways he's betting Saturday's matchup.
Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk Odds
Former UFC champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk returns to the Octagon for the first time in two years to face another former champion, Zhang Weili, on the main card of UFC 275.
This Strawweight title eliminator is a rematch of 2020’s Fight of the Year from UFC 248. It’s one of the best MMA fights of all time, and if you haven’t had a chance to watch the first matchup, do yourself a favor and check it out.
Below I break down the matchup and detail where to find betting value in Saturday’s fight. For more analysis on the rest of the card, you can check out my projections for the entire slate here.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||12:14||19:24|
|Weight (pounds)||115 lbs.||115 lbs.|
|Date of birth||8/13/1989||8/18/1987|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||5.47||6.30|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||4.13||3.08|
|Take Down Avg.||1.75||0.28|
Zhang won the first fight via split decision. Fan and media scorecards were about as close as it gets.
But that was a five-round bout and had it ended after three rounds, Joanna would have won the split. Ironically, most analysts consider a three-round fight more beneficial to Zhang. Still, the margins were about as close as it gets in nearly every round and the level of variance only increases in a three-round fight as opposed to a five-round fight.
In hindsight, Zhang likely won the bout with power, optics and damage. Joanna had a large hematoma by the time the fight ended. But the swelling got worse as the fight went on, which likely secured the final two rounds for Zhang on two of the three scorecards.
Jedrzejczyk’s biggest mistake was obliging Zhang’s desire to brawl. Jedrzejczyk is the superior technician and is much more responsible defensively (64% to 52% striking defense). Moreover, she’s faster, taller and longer — but at a significant power disadvantage on individual strikes.
Jedrzejczyk landed more strikes in three of the five rounds (tied in the other two), but the power differential was so significant that the fight felt closer to 49-46 Zhang than 48-47 Joanna.
If Jedrzejczyk fights a more calculated game plan, slows the tempo and utilizes her footwork and movement in a big cage, she could turn the tide in her favor.
The Polish fighter has taken a significant layoff since the first matchup to let her body heal, while Zhang has fought and trained for two Main Events against Rose Namajunas. Moreover, Zhang has likely improved her wrestling game while training with Henry Cejudo and the Fight Ready team.
That said, Jedrzejczyk has been training almost nonstop at American Top Team — who might prepare superior game plans to any other camp. And both her takedown defense (81%) and getup game have always been an asset.
Zhang vs. Jedrzejczyk Pick
If this plays out as a 15-minute striking battle, we’re essentially flipping a coin for three rounds and I would want to back whichever fighter has a plus sign next to their name. In particular, I’ll take technique over power in a shorter fight.
Jedrzejczyk is the superior striker (+3% accuracy, +12% defense, +3.28 to +1.34 strike differential) and I favor her to land more volume in each round. The question is whether that volume can outweigh Zhang’s power.
I projected Joanna around 42% in this matchup and I would bet her moneyline down to +140.
I expect another close decision to result and project the bout to go the distance 72% of the time (-258 implied). On top of the underdog moneyline, I bet the distance prop at -200 at WynnBET. You can play that prop up to -233.
The Pick: Joanna Jedrzejczyk (+145, 0.5u) | Fight goes to Decision (-200, 0.5u)
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