The quarterback was making an Instagram live appearance with UFC president Dana White, who asked him for a prediction on the co-main event rather than the Israel Adesanya–Yoel Romero main event because the UFC president knows that Zhang is a fan of the longtime Patriots quarterback.
Zhang wore a Brady jersey during a photo shoot in China that was part of the buildup to last August’s challenge of then-champ Jessica Andrade. Brady later sent Zhang a good luck message via social media, and the fighter responded: “Thank you my idol! This means a lot to me!”
Zhang knocked out Andrade in 42 seconds to claim the title.
And Brady believes she will retain it on Saturday night.
“It’s a great fight, especially if the old Joanna shows up. She’s an amazing fighter. She’s gone the distance a bunch of times. She’s got great height, reach, and she’s relentless,” Brady told White. “But Weili [has] been unbelievable. And I think she’s been overlooked for a while.
“And not to mention, I’m a big fan of hers. Been watching her for a long time. She’s got the ability to stand up, so strong and, skill for skill, is one of the best in the world. So it’s a great matchup. You guys picked a good one.”
Brady’s prediction: “In the end — and I usually don’t make predictions, but on this I will, ’cause you asked me to — I think Weili wins just because I think she’s got a few more ways to win.”
Pressed by White for a more specific result, Brady added: “Man, I think it’s a KO.”
Zhang was told about Brady’s pick after her open workout in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
“He made a good option, a good choice,” she said. “I’m a big fan of him. He’s a great athlete.”
Zhang explained she has a friend who is a big Patriots fan and exposed her to the NFL.
“I feel like it’s really combative,” she said. “It’s just like a war in a peace time. So, I really enjoy this.”
Contributing: Marc Raimondi