Latin America, like China before it, is becoming an untapped MMA market The Athletic

Latin America
When Weili Zhang captured the UFC women’s strawweight title on Aug. 31, she instantly became the most famous mixed martial artist from China.

A breakout performance like Zhang’s 42-second finish of Brazilian Jessica Andrade is the sort of result that promoters dream of when prospects from underdeveloped parts of the world have opportunities to make a name for themselves.

By putting Zhang (20-1) in position to become known by large swaths of the 1.4 billion men, women, boys and girls currently living in her homeland, the UFC’s formula for finding, grooming and elevating talent into attractions that the public will want to watch doesn’t have to hit every time — so long as when it does, it hits big.

Taking place in a part of the world that is considered crucial to the growth of the UFC and MMA, Zhang’s knockout win over Andrade marked a lightning-in-a-bottle moment. When the UFC revisited its strategy last year to chart an updated…

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