This Friday, the longtime rivals will square off in a highly anticipated rubber match, with atomweight queen Lee challenging for Xiong’s ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title.
After sharing the Circle for more than 45 minutes of fight time already – each successfully defending their own belt – “The Panda” and “Unstoppable” are no strangers to one another.
They know the other’s strengths and weaknesses – and they plan to capitalize on them at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
The table is set for a dramatic ending to this epic rivalry. Here, we break down the keys to victory for both Xiong and Lee in front of a U.S. primetime audience in the main event of ONE on Prime Video 2.
In many ways, this clash of World Champions is a classic striker-versus-grappler matchup.
Lee will try to bring the action to the mat, where she can use the elite grappling skills that have earned her eight submissions in 11 career MMA wins.
A former Hawaii State Wrestling Champion, the atomweight queen showcased a variety of takedowns in her two bouts with Xiong, ranging from simple trips to massive belly-to-back suplexes.
For the Singaporean-American to become a two-division titleholder, she must implement her deep arsenal of wrestling techniques and create a grappling-based contest that favors her BJJ black belt abilities.
Xiong’s Punching Power
Just as “Unstoppable” wants this contest on the ground, the defending ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion will target a striking battle.
Known for her crafty boxing and heavy power, Xiong largely battered Lee on the feet throughout their first two fights. Obviously, she’ll want to repeat that success.
The Chinese superstar owns a thunderous left hook, which she landed time and time again. And while Lee showed a strong chin, Xiong’s power was enough to stop her forward pressure – and even put her on the floor in their second clash.
Any time both women are striking, look for “The Panda’s” power to be a difference-maker.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the first and second fights was Lee’s cardio.
In their first meeting, she slowed considerably down the stretch and suffered a TKO defeat. But in the second, she picked up the pace and overwhelmed Xiong to score a late submission victory.
As the natural atomweight, Lee will be the smaller woman on Friday, meaning she’ll need a deep gas tank to deal with the heavier, more powerful Xiong over the course of 25 possible minutes.
In the trilogy fight, pay close attention to the middle and late rounds, when “Unstoppable” will need to stay fresh and even push the pace.
Xiong’s Slick Submission Escapes
Other than the final 15 seconds of her epic rematch with Lee, “The Panda” appeared to be utterly impossible to finish, escaping absurdly deep submission attempts across 10 rounds up to that point.
The strawweight queen’s escapes will be important once again – not only because they allow her to keep fighting, but also because they often bring the fight back up to the feet.
In using “Unstoppable’s” aggression against her, Xiong appears to have an uncanny ability to scramble out of submissions and all the way back to standing.
Those escapes and scrambles will be critical in this battle of dominant World Champions.