Who is Mingyang Zhang?

  • Mingyang Zhang will make his UFC debut at UFC 298
  • He will fight Brendson Ribeiro
  • Here's a brief bio on the new fighter

Mingyang Zhang
Mingyang Zhang / UFC

Mingyang Zhang is a UFC light heavyweight prospect debuting at UFC 298 on Feb. 17 live from the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. Zhang puts his 16-6 record and perfect finishing rate on the line against fellow debutante Brendson Ribeiro to open the night's preliminary card.

Zhang is the first fighter to earn a UFC contract through Road to UFC, doing so in the show's inaugural 2022 run. He finally gets his opportunity on the big stage after prior fights with Tyson Pedro and Ribeiro were canceled.

Zhang trains out of Xinjiang Fight Gym in Shandong, China, and has traveled the world honing his skills. Stints at famed gyms such as Thailand's Tiger Muay Thai and Albuquerque, New Mexico's Jackson Wink MMA have given the 25-year-old plenty of experience in his young career.

Fighting is Zhang's lifelong pursuit. He had his first professional MMA match at only 16 years old in 2014. Despite losing, Zhang returned to the cage in 2016. After trading wins and losses, he hit his stride in 2020 when he kicked off a nine-fight win streak. Most of his contests were in the heavyweight division while competing throughout China's regional promotions.

Strong showings in WLF, Kunlun Fight, and a one-night heavyweight tournament run in Huya FC bolstered his reputation.

It was only a matter of time till Zhang gained his UFC opportunity. He earned his contract after an impressive first-round knockout of George Tokkos on RTU. Zhang showed poise as Tokkos aggressively swung punches and landed his jab throughout the contest. Zhang proved the better counter-striker and beat Tokkos unconscious in one of the season's most brutal finishes.

Mingyang Zhang will fight Brendson Ribeiro on the UFC 298 prelims

Only one of Zhang's 22 fights has gone to a decision. He has 10 first-round knockouts and six submissions. Zhang brings an exciting finish or be-finished style to the Octagon. He fights well on the back foot and has landed heavy, fight-ending ground and pound after pinning opponents in vulnerable positions. Standing at 6'2" and holding 75" reach gives Zhang a solid light-heavyweight frame. This looks to be his proper division proceeding in the UFC.

Zhang will battle a worthy opponent because Ribeiro is also an exciting prospect. The 15-5 striker representing Evolução Thai MMA in Curitiba, Brazil, holds a 100 percent finishing rate. He is on a three-fight win streak and earned his UFC contract on Dana White's Contenders Series in 2023. This has fight-of-the-night potential as both competitors bring wild and exciting styles to every matchup.

Which of these two thrilling prospects will kick the UFC 298 prelims off with a win? Will it be the recent DWCS graduate Ribeiro? Or will China have a new light-heavyweight on the rise in Zhang?


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