When the women of ONE Championship enter the Circle, they are no less likely than their male counterparts to engage in the kind of grueling, all-action battles that get fans off their feet.
In fact, you could argue they are more likely to do so.
You would be hard-pressed to remember any women’s bouts on the global stage that have not delivered an electrifying finish or thrills from bell to bell – particularly when there is gold on the line.
These are the finest examples of the fairer sex stepping under the spotlight and stealing the show in The Home Of Martial Arts.
#5 Stamp Fairtex Vs. Alma Juniku
When Stamp Fairtex defended her ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Title for the first time against Alma Juniku at ONE: LEGENDARY QUEST, she faced more adversity than she ever had before on the global stage.
Luckily for fans, that meant they were treated to the most exciting victory of her ONE career.
At first, it seemed like this could be a routine win for the Thai superstar as she scored with red-hot counters, but her young, hungry Australian rival turned up the heat in the third and fourth rounds to make it anyone’s contest with just three minutes to go.
Before the bell signaled the start of the final stanza, it seemed like Stamp might not have any energy left, but she showed the heart of a true World Champion to draw upon her final reserves of energy to blast back and prove to the judges she wanted it more to retain her belt by unanimous decision.
#4 Angela Lee Vs. Mei Yamaguchi
This breathless, five-round war had twists and turns for all 25 minutes as both athletes threw caution to the wind in an attempt to make history. The kind of offense they threw at each other would usually result in a finish, but it was matched by some brilliant defensive work as strikes and submission attempts were met with some chaotic scrambles.
Lee looked like she was beginning to take charge after the end of round two, but the match was turned on its head when the Singaporean had a rare lapse in concentration, which allowed “V.V.” to land a massive right hand and drop her then-teenage rival.
Unfortunately for the Japanese veteran, “Unstoppable” lived up to her nickname, and actually seemed to get stronger after that, despite seeing the championship rounds for the first time in her career. Her reward was the belt and the honor of becoming the youngest World Champion in mixed martial arts history – a statistic that is unlikely to be beaten any time soon.
#3 Janet Todd Vs. Stamp Fairtex II
The first match between Stamp Fairtex and Janet “JT” Todd for the ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Title showcased the power and tenacity of the top two atomweight stand-up martial artists in the world, but their rematch was even better.
At ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE, Stamp’s ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Title was on the line and the contest was even closer, even more competitive, and even more exciting. That was partially down to Todd’s improvements as she wasted no time getting on the front foot.
Her aggression was matched by Stamp as both competitors continuously stepped into the pocket, stood their ground, and exchanged heavy strikes.
Despite the high output, the pace barely waned over five rounds, but that was no surprise to anyone who had watched these women got to battle before. Unlike before, “JT’s” insistence on taking the initiative seemed to make the difference as she claimed the victory by split decision.
#2 Xiong Jing Nan Vs. Angela Lee
There has never been a more dramatic swing in momentum in the history of ONE women’s World Title bouts. When Angela Lee stepped up a division to try and take “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan’s ONE Strawweight World Title, she came incredibly close to pulling off the upset at ONE: A NEW ERA.
Despite expectations that she may not match her opponent for strength, Lee weathered Xiong’s striking storm to get the match to the ground and dominate for long spells. In the fourth round, she got what she wanted by trapping an arm, which seemed to signal the beginning of the end and a changing of the guard.
However, the Chinese star showed legendary toughness to hang in there despite having her right arm wrenched, cranked, and torqued in every direction fro almost two minutes until she was saved by the bell.
Even more remarkably, that offense seemed to have zero effect on her as she came off her stool like a woman possessed. Lee’s attempts to finish had left her exhausted, but “The Panda” was still fresh, and her blitz of boxing and body kicks delivered a stunning TKO.
#1 Angela Lee Vs. Xiong Jing Nan II
It seemed unlikely that “Unstoppable” and “The Panda” could beat the drama of their first meeting, but somehow, they managed it on the grandest stage of all at ONE: CENTURY.
This time, it was even more of a back-and-forth affair, as Xiong came armed with improved takedown defense to fend off her rival’s grappling attack and stay in a position to dig heavy blows into her body and head. She got so confident, she even started to throw her spinning back kick without fear.
The Singaporean started to have some success in the middle of the match as she threatened “The Panda” with submissions and ground strikes, but the Chinese athlete hung tough, and came back in the championship rounds with more strikes.
However, this time, Lee was in her favored atomweight division and was more than ready to battle all the way to the final bell. Despite absorbing a ton of damage, she got a takedown halfway through the final round and patiently worked for a rear-naked choke while Xiong hung on for dear life.
As the time ticked away, it looked like she would come up short once again, but with just 12 seconds remaining, she secured the submission to force the tap and retain her ONE Women’s Atomweight World Title.