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Li Jingliang of China celebrates after his TKO victory over David Zawada of Germany in their welterweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Cadillac Arena on November 24, 2018 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Emmanuel Wong/Getty Images)

Essential Leech | The Best Of Li Jingliang

Ahead Of His Return At UFC 287, Get Primed With Some Of The Greatest Hits Of "The Leech"

The man, the myth, the legend: Li Jingliang makes his triumphant return to the Octagon April 8 when he meets Michael Chiesa at UFC 287 in Miami. The fan favorite always delivers memorable moments, and while we wait patiently for "The Leech" to make his walk, get yourself hyped with five of his greatest hits.

Li Jingliang | Top Finishes
Li Jingliang | Top Finishes

Li Jingliang vs Santiago Ponzinibbio (Watch on UFC FIGHT PASS)

January 16, 2021

Despite being sidelined from the Octagon for over two years, “The Argentine Dagger” entered his Fight Island meeting Li Jingliang as a sizeable favorite. He even intoned to the press that it was a mistake for Li to accept the bout. Maybe it was ring rust, maybe it was an abundance of caution, but the fight belonged almost solely to “The Leech,” who got to work early and never took his foot off the gas. Perhaps it was because Ponzinibbio was on alert for Li’s trademark right hand that he took his eye off of his left, an explosive surprise that put him on his back.

Result: Li Jingliang by KO, Round 1, 4;25

Li Jingliang vs Bobby Nash (Watch on UFC FIGHT PASS)

January 28, 2017

Heading into this Denver fight night, Bobby Nash predicted a KO in less than two rounds. He ended up being correct, save for the fact it would be Li executing the finish before the second horn. A wild back-and-forth affair until its conclusion, Nash was successful in finding his target and unloading. But as announcer Jon Anik noted, Li was “absolutely fearless” when it came to getting hit. Both men threw with everything they had, but it was ultimately “The Leech” who proved more durable, ending Nash’s evening with the sneakiest of overhand rights.

Result: Li Jingliang by KO, Round 2, 4:45

Li Jingliang vs Dhiego Lima (Watch on UFC FIGHT PASS)

May 16, 2015

The first finish of Li’s UFC tenure was an emphatic premonition of the thunder that was coming when he dispatched a game Dhiego Lima in less than 90 seconds. Derided in his first two UFC outings as being linear and predictable, “The Leech” showed flashes of a deeper arsenal in this brief outing, namely some smart combinations and a lethal right uppercut that Lima had no answer for. This is the performance that made the welterweight division start to take notice.

Result: Li Jingliang by KO, Round 1, 1:25

Li Jingliang vs Anton Zafir (Watch on UFC FIGHT PASS)

July 8, 2016, Las Vegas, NV

A +250 underdog heading into the fight, Anton Zafir nonetheless took control of the fight early, dropping Li to the mat and controlling him in half-guard. It felt for a moment like the Australian might cruise to victory until Li dismantled a guillotine attempt and scored a takedown of his own. From there, "The Leech" needed just four swift punches to the face of his opponent to prompt referee Chris Tognoni to step in and end the onslaught.

Result: Li Jingliang by TKO, Round 1, 2;46

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 28:  (R-L) Li Jingliang of China celebrates his knockout victory over Bobby Nash in their welterweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at the Pepsi Center on January 28, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/
The KO of Bobby Nash January 28, 2017 in Denver, CO (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Li Jingliang vs Zak Ottow (Watch on UFC FIGHT PASS)

November 25, 2017

The perfectly timed right hand by now had become a recurring theme in Li’s work. He mastered it the way other artists might master sculpture or painting. Exhibit A: an absolute missile down the middle to fold the perennially tough Zak Ottow. To his credit, Ottow had the wherewithal following the strike to frantically attempt scrambling to his feet, but there was no escaping the barrage of right hands that kept him glued to the mat, and eventually, Herb Dean had seen enough.

Result: Li Jingliang by TKO, Round 1, 2;57

Order UFC 287: Pereira vs Adesanya 2

Li Jingliang vs David Zawada (Watch on UFC FIGHT PASS)

November 24, 2018

Of the opponents “The Leech” has finished over his extensive career, David Zawada hung around much longer than most, not succumbing to Li’s attack until the last minute of the final round. Described by the announcers as “a different proposition,” Zawada in fact fought at a very high level and had more than his share of big moments throughout. But a flurry of punches from Li at the end of the second round got the Beijing crowd to their feet, and their energy propelled through a beautiful Round 3 campaign, punctuated by a fight-ending kick to the solar plexus.

Result: Li Jingliang by KO (Body Kick), Round 3, 4:07

UFC 287: Pereira vs Adesanya 2 took place live from Kayesa Center in Miami, Florida on April 8, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass