Two of the planet’s toughest female strawweights are ready to headline an unforgettable show in Shanghai, China, this weekend.
On Saturday, 8 September, reigning ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan (15-1) will defend the gold against Brazilian challenger Samara “Marituba” Santos (12-5-1) at ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON.
Before the blockbuster event at the Baoshan Arena, here is everything there is to know about this monumental clash.
The Road To Shanghai
Xiong has been an unstoppable force ever since she debuted in ONE Championship last December.
After spending the first three years of her mixed martial arts career ripping through the competition in her native China, “The Panda” joined the world’s largest martial arts organization and took over the women’s strawweight division.
She knocked out Team Lakay’s April Osenio in the opening round of her promotional debut, and then in January, she stopped unbeaten Singaporean Tiffany “No Chill” Teo in the fourth round to claim the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight World Championship.
In her first title defense in June, she dominated South American challenger Laura Balin for five whole rounds to decisively retain the belt.
Santos has been similarly dominant in competition, too.
The Brazilian, who stumbled upon martial arts five years ago, kicked off her professional career in April 2015. Having competed primarily in her homeland, she has amassed 12 victories – six by knockout, and another two via submission.
In May, she knocked out her most recent foe with kicks in less than two minutes. That helped pave the way to The Home Of Martial Arts, and an interesting stylistic match-up with “The Panda.”
Keys To Victory
Xiong is renowned for her striking, but she is always improving the other areas of her game.
She picked up boxing when she was 18, and soon became a member of China’s national team. Later, she studied Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and claimed the China Open BJJ Championship in 2017. She is currently refining her grappling and overall skill set at Bali MMA.
“The Panda” expressed her disappointment in not being able to finish Balin in June, which gives a hint about her intentions for this upcoming tilt.
Santos may be younger in her martial arts career, but she has come a long way in a short amount of time.
In 2013, she kicked off her journey with Muay Thai, and then transitioned to BJJ.
“Marituba” has a different striking style that could potentially foil “The Panda,” but she anticipates her grappling will be her golden ticket to success.
“She is very aggressive on top, so the strategy is to take her to the ground and go on top,” Santos explains. “I respect my opponent very much, but I am aiming for the victory, and for sure, I am going to bring the victory to Brazil.”
Michael Schiavello, ONE Championship Lead Commentator
“I am pumped to see Xiong compete on Chinese mainland soil for the very first time. She has become a hero to the Chinese people, and they will turn out in full force to support their first ever women’s mixed martial arts World Champion.
“Also, Xiong improves with every fight. I cannot wait to see what she adds to her bag of tricks.
“Xiong’s durability impressed me. She can take a hit, and give 10 back. Also, she is always coming forward and never takes a backward step. Her tenacity, her ferocity, and her willingness to engage excites me every time I see her. She is an utter wrecking ball.
“Santos is renowned as a fast starter, and I think she needs to catch Xiong early, catch her cold, and try to finish. Once Xiong establishes her rhythm, she is hard to stop — and as we have seen, the longer Xiong goes on, the stronger she gets.
“That said, Santos may want to stand in the pocket, go toe-to-toe with Xiong, and hope to blast her in the first. We are going to see a slug fest. It will be crazy!”
Mitch Chilson, Broadcast Commentator & Former ONE Athlete
“Xiong has always been an aggressive striker with show-stopping power. However, in her last match with Balin, she showed some improved wrestling ability, and the desire to win by submission.
“She needs to establish dominance in the stand-up immediately. She needs to make Santos feel her pressure and power. Once Santos has been hurt on the feet, look for Xiong to take her down, and fish for her first submission win in ONE.
“As for Santos, she has been thrown into the ring of fire in her debut. Not only does she have a shot at gold in her first match, but she also has to grab that gold in enemy territory.
“Pressure creates diamonds, and now it is time for Santos to shine. She will need to counter the big looping punches of Xiong with straight, tight jab-cross combos. She will also need to be light on her feet and stick and move, but also avoid the takedown.”
Shanghai | 8 September | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast