UFC 261 Prelim Breakout Star: Na Liang

UFC 261 Prelim Breakout Star: Na Liang

MMA Manifesto

UFC 261 Prelim Breakout Star: Na Liang


The Prelim Breakout Star is a once-per-event article that helps fans get to know those who will be entertaining them from the undercard. The intention of the article is not to bring attention to the most talented fighter on the preliminary card, but rather one that the common fan may have overlooked or underestimated.

Three title fights top this weekend’s card, including reigning champion Weili Zhang, who represents the first-ever champion out of her home country of China. However, the undercard is packed with some solid prospects who wouldn’t mind being the second to snag that accomplishment. The one we look to today is even in the same weight class.


Na Liang

Nickname – Dragon Girl
Affiliation – Longyun MMA Gym
From – Heilongjiang, China
Height – 5’8″
Weight – 115 lbs (Strawweight)
Record – 15-4 (0-0 UFC)


What makes her impressive

Na loves to take the fight to the ground. In fact, in an interview with SCMP’s John Hyon Ko, she likened the style she hopes to bring to Ronda Rousey’s. While there’s still a ways to go, she certainly brings elements of that style. She throws submissions up from seemingly any angle and gets a fair amount. She’s even bagged a couple of armbars in her last two fights. It’s worth noting that the level of her opponents has been low for those most recent fights, but the skills are very real.


Why she has been overlooked

WLF is what appears to be the top promotion in China. With that being said, there is very little access for those outside of China and not even particularly a lot of highlights on YouTube. Without much of a chance for people to see her prior to her debut, and the aforementioned low level of competition, it isn’t surprising that people aren’t singing her praises. If she’s able to duplicate some of that success and can do so in the same fashion, she’ll have fans pretty quickly.


What makes this a good match-up

Ariane Carnelossi has a brown belt in jiu-jitsu but is really from a Muay Thai background. She prefers to stand and trade and has a fair number of KOs as a result. Because she likes to swing it, I see a lot of opportunities for Na to get in on the legs with a surprisingly good double leg. If she does, she may be able to defend herself for a period of time, but I eventually think all of the attempts from Na will catch up with the Brazilian.


Prelim Breakout Star Record: 216-100-1 (2 NC) (13 DNF)

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