Demetrious Johnson has had a good first year in ONE Championship, to say the least. At ONE: Century, he was taking on Danny Kingad in the finals of the flyweight grand prix where he won by unanimous decision. The win improved Johnson to 3-0 in ONE Cham…
Demetrious Johnson has had a good first year in ONE Championship, to say the least. At ONE: Century, he was taking on Danny Kingad in the finals of the flyweight grand prix where he won by unanimous decision. The win improved Johnson to 3-0 in ONE Championship and he is now set to fight for […]
This weekend’s ONE atomweight title clash between reigning champion Angela Lee and China’s Xiong Jing Nan is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated bouts of ONE: Century. The pair previously met in March at ONE: A New Era when Lee challenged Xiong for the 31-year-old’s ONE strawweight title. Xiong stunned the world […]
This weekend’s ONE atomweight title clash between reigning champion Angela Lee and China’s Xiong Jing Nan is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated bouts of ONE: Century. The pair previously met in March at ONE: A New Era when Lee challenged Xiong for the 31-year-old’s ONE strawweight title.
Xiong stunned the world that night when she defeated Lee via fifth-round TKO in a pulsating bout that had the crowd on the edge of their seats. Now, Xiong has been given the opportunity to establish herself as the promotion’s premier female athlete by dropping down a division and challenging Lee in the Singaporean’s preferred weight class.
While Lee has lost her last two bouts, both contests were fought in the strawweight division. The 23-year-old has yet to lose a fight as an atomweight. After their previous encounter, Xiong, who has yet to lose a bout in ONE Championship, has been busy working on the areas of her game that she felt needed improvement.
“Based on our previous fight, I feel that I needed to focus on my grappling and my ground game. Angela was able to control me a lot during our first meeting, and while there wasn’t much danger there, it’s still a position that I would rather not be in,” Xiong said in an interview with LowKick MMA.
“Aside from that, I also sharpened my striking even more because that’s where I feel I have the advantage, and this time around, I don’t plan on making it last until the final round.”
This weekend’s bout will be the first time that Xiong has competed as an atomweight under the ONE banner, but while the weight cut is hard work, it appears she and her team have the situation well under control.
“Everything’s on track as expected, let’s wait for the weigh-in and hydration. Cutting weight is not easy for any athlete. Imagine being on a low-calorie diet and high-intensity training every day, but I do it for months,[its] guaranteed to make you grumpier.
“Strawweight is my original weight class while atomweight is Angela’s, however, everything looks good so far, and I’m ready for the fight!” Xiong said.
Xiong’s ascent from ONE newcomer to main-event star has been a rapid, but not wholly unexpected, rise. She made her promotional debut in December 2017 and immediately grabbed people’s attention by scoring a first-round stoppage win over the Philippine’s April Osenio.
One month later, she finished Singapore’s Tiffany Teo to become the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion. Since then, her career trajectory has been on a vertical incline, and she now finds herself headlining ONE’s United States primetime debut.
“It’s a huge honor for me. A couple of years ago, I was just a prospect coming out of China, and then I became the first MMA world champion from China, now I’m headlining ONE Championship’s biggest event ever, and it’s going to be on primetime television in the United States,” she said
“It’s an amazing feeling to be in the headliner, and I’m going to do my best and show the US fans and the world what I’m made of and what ONE Championship is all about.”
Xiong is quick to pay credit to her coaches and teammates at Bali MMA, for helping her develop as an athlete.
“Training in Bali MMA is amazing. We have a really good gym over there, an amazing, talented group of guys, and for me, it feels like home,” Xiong explained.
“Bali MMA has helped me become who I am today as a fighter, and I’ll always be grateful for how they’ve supported me and how they’ve molded me into the champion that I am Bali. There’s nothing better than being able to put in the work in the gym and then be able to relax in paradise afterward. “
If Xiong can add one more title to her trophy cabinet this weekend, she will undoubtedly be due an extended vacation.
The prelims for ONE: CENTURY PART I start on B/R Live at 8:00 pm (EST). The main card will start at 11:00 pm EST and will be screened on TNT and B/R Live on Saturday, 12 October.
For the last year, ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano Fernandes has been locked in a back-and-forth duel with Team Lakay’s Kevin Belingon. It’s a duel that traces its origins back to the pair’s initial meeting in 2016 at ONE: Dynasty of Champions when Fernandes submitted Belingon in the opening round. Following his loss to Fernandes, […]
For the last year, ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano Fernandes has been locked in a back-and-forth duel with Team Lakay’s Kevin Belingon. It’s a duel that traces its origins back to the pair’s initial meeting in 2016 at ONE: Dynasty of Champions when Fernandes submitted Belingon in the opening round.
Following his loss to Fernandes, Belingon went back to the drawing board. He worked on his game, and, after an eight-month layoff, returned with a vengeance.
After notching up six-straight victories, Belingon was given a second opportunity at Fernandes, who at the time was the longest-reigning ONE champion. The two men first rematched last November in Singapore at ONE: Heart Of The Lion. After a closely-fought five-round contest, Fernandes found himself on the wrong side of the judge’s scorecards. The split decision loss frustrated the Brazilian, who wanted and soon received, a rematch.
The pair next faced off in March at ONE: A New Era in Tokyo, Japan, where Belingon found himself disqualified in the third round for the use of illegal elbows. While Fernandes was awarded the belt, the manner of victory made the win somewhat hollow.
Now the 39-year-old MMA veteran has the chance to finally solidify his status as ONE’s top bantamweight when he meets his Filipino opponent for the fourth time this weekend at ONE: Century- Part II.
After having spent so much cage time with Belingon, Fernandes is confident he has his rival’s style fully figured out.
“I’ve been preparing for Kevin Belingon the same way that I always have. I’ve beaten him before, I believe I won the rematch, and I was definitely winning the third fight back in Japan,” Fernandes said to LowKickMMA.
“Having prepared and faced Kevin three times in my career, I have a pretty good grasp of what he does and what his tendencies are, where his weaknesses lie. I continue to improve my grappling because I know that will be my main weapon, but as I showed in the last fight, I can strike with him, so I have put attention to that as well. Come October 13th, wherever the fight goes, I know I can defeat him.”
Since making his promotional debut back in 2013, Fernandes has witnessed first-hand the growth and evolution of ONE Championship from a regional promotion to a global powerhouse. During that time Fernandes has racked up ten victories, including seven consecutive title defenses. There is little doubt that when the Manus native retires, he will have earned his spot in the company’s Hall Of Fame.
“I am very honored and very blessed to have been part of this amazing organization pretty much since the beginning. Seeing how much the landscape has changed now, from just a few shows a year to a show nearly every month and being able to break into new areas and new markets every year, it’s just great to watch. I’m really proud to have been part of the growth, and I’m proud to continue to be a part of its continuous development.” he said
For now, the only thought on Fernandes’s mind is defeating Belingon. The fact that this bout is happening in Tokyo, a city Fernandes has a strong connection with, due to his time with the now-defunct Dream promotion, is neither here nor there for the reigning champ.
“Tokyo will always hold a special place in my heart because of my MMA history there and all the time I’ve spent competing there. Tokyo feels like a home to me, so to say. But I really don’t mind where we fight. It can be in Singapore or Thailand, or Manila, for that matter.
“What matters is that I am the champion, and I will defend my belt against whoever is put in front of me. Against Kevin, specifically, I want to defeat him convincingly and without doubts to show that I am the rightful ONE Bantamweight World Champion.”
The prelims for ONE: CENTURY PART II start on B/R Live at 4:00 am (EST). The main card will start at 6:30 am EST on Sunday, 13 October.