Lightweights Wensheng Zhang (46-6, 10 KO’s) and Lorawnt-t Nelson (7-1, 3 KO’s) locked horns on the GLORY 63 main card in Houston. The Denver-based South African Nelson welcomed China’s Zhang to U.S. soil for the first time.
Nelson’s size advantage was evident from the staredown. He opened with a combination and pressured Zhang against the ropes. Zhang showed good footwork to angle away from the longer Nelson.
Nelson caught Zhang with a right hand and followed with a head kick that Zhang narrowly avoided. Zhang landed a big knee to the body of Nelson, who temporarily froze in his tracks. Nelson recovered and fired a knee of his own. Zhang finished the round with a crisp left hand.
The speed of Zhang continued to cause problems for Nelson. He landed a straight right hand that sent Nelson to the mat and earned a count from the referee.
Nelson opted to clinch and land knees. He looked for a flying knee, but Zhang timed it and landed a heavy left hand. Nelson’s output slowed late in round two.
Nelson landed a right straight to open round three. The referee warned both men for clinching shortly thereafter.
Sensing Zhang was hurt, Nelson turned up his offense. A big uppercut hurt Zhang and Nelson went for broke. He unleashed a series of punches and knees along the ropes, but Zhang somehow weathered the onslaught.
When the judges’ scores were announced, one judge gave the three-round war to Nelson, but the other two judges dissented, handing Zhang the split decision nod.
Wensheng Zhang def. Lorawnt-t Nelson by split decision (27-28, 29-27, 29-27)