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UFC women's strawweight champion Carla Esparza vs. Zhang Weili is being targeted for UFC 281. The promotion is on track to present two title fights for its return to Madison Square Garden in New York City on Nov. 12.

Esparza confirmed plans for the fight in an Instagram post published on Thursday. This comes after a report from Ariel Helwani regarding the booking. The fight will slot into the co-main event underneath UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira.

"It's official!" Esparza wrote.

Esparza (19-6) dethroned Rose Namajunas to become UFC women's strawweight champion in a fight that ranks among the worst in UFC history. Despite the lack of action, it was a full circle moment for Esparza. "Cookie Monster" was crowned the inaugural women's strawweight champion by defeating Namajunas in the finals of "The Ultimate Fighter 20" tournament in December 2014. A painful loss to Joanna Jedrzejczyk in her first title defense expelled Esparza from the title race for more than seven years.

Zhang (22-3) is a juggernaut with 18 finishes on her professional record. The former UFC women's strawweight champion bounced back from consecutive losses to Namajunas, sending Jedrzejczyk into retirement with a walk-off spinning backfist KO at UFC 275. She first captured the title in 2019 with a first-round TKO of Jessica Andrade in Zhang's home nation of China.