Two of the toughest mixed martial artists in the women’s strawweight division are just about ready to throw down inside the Circle.
This Friday, 14 January, reigning ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan defends her crown against #4-ranked contender Ayaka “Zombie” Miura in the main event of ONE: HEAVY HITTERS.
Since claiming the weight class’ inaugural belt in January 2018, Xiong has successfully defended it five times. What’s more, the Chinese superstar holds the record for most knockouts (4) across all the promotion’s female divisions.
Her accolades stand in direct opposition to Miura’s. She’s a third-degree judo black belt who owns the most submission wins (3) in the women’s strawweight division. And if given the chance, she’ll look to use her signature scarf-hold Americana – or what she calls the “Ayaka Lock” – to extend that record and bring the gold back to her native Tokyo, Japan.
Ahead of this headlining clash at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday, some of ONE Championship’s most beloved superstars make their picks. Here they are.
“For me, Xiong Jing Nan is already tested. She’s already fought Angela [Lee], [Michelle] Nicolini, and the like. Experience will certainly be on her side. Miura, on the other hand, will find ways to submit you especially if she controls you.
“However, I believe Xiong is the more well-rounded fighter, and if she can defend Miura’s attempts, then she’ll dominate this fight and maybe finish it around round three or four.”
“For me, I will give the edge to Xiong Jing Nan given that she is a well-rounded fighter, and she also has tasted and experienced championship fights. She knows how it feels to go a full five rounds. So for me, she will use that as an advantage to win the fight.
“[I have] no doubt that Ayaka will come in this fight fired up and hungry to win, but I see Xiong Jing Nan playing this smart, out-striking Ayaka, and defending Ayaka’s takedowns and submissions.”
“I’m always going with Xiong Jing Nan. Always, always. ‘Panda!’ ‘Panda!’ ‘Panda!’ [She’s going to use] her hands, her nasty hands. [She’ll be] putting them on the chin and putting that girl to sleep!
“It’s not just that [her hands are] crisp, it’s that ‘The Panda’ doesn’t care. In the fight world, in our sport, you have to be down to see. ‘Panda’s’ down to see. She’s down to throw hands and see what happens. And that is exciting. That’s what I want to see as a fan. And ‘Panda,’ she’s all about ‘let’s find out what happens.’”
“I think Xiong Jing Nan will win. Miura actually has nothing except wrestling, and her stand-up game is poor, so as long as her takedowns are defended, she should have no power left to wrestle after the first round.”
Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol
“For me, it’s going to be ‘and still.’ Jing Nan will defend her belt, but this will be interesting because both fighters have heart. I can see that Ayaka will go all out trying to end Jing Nan’s reign, and I personally hope that we will see a good fight.
“While I predict that Jing Nan will win, it’s not going to be easy for her. Ayaka will do whatever it takes to get the belt, even if it means that she will have to trade strikes. And when the fight goes to the ground, I feel that it will not be easy for Ayaka to get her trademark submission because Jing Nan is smart on the ground too.
“I think Jing Nan will get a knockout win, but personally, I would not mind seeing five rounds full of action.”
Eko Roni Saputra
“I think Xiong Jing Nan will [dominate] as usual because now, she is dangerous on the ground too. I predict she will get a dominant victory – a knockout within the first three rounds.
“Ayaka’s trademark submission is quite a template. She will do the judo throw and go from there to execute the [scarf-hold] Americana. We all know what she’ll do, but it remains dangerous.
“However, I think Jing Nan will be able to maintain the distance to neutralize it. I think this will be more interesting than Jing Nan’s last [championship] fight.”
“If the fight goes to the ground, I think Panda would be able to handle Ayaka’s submission attempts.
“I think I’ve seen ‘Panda’ fight against a few grapplers a few times, and when she gets taken down, she gets a sense of urgency to just pop back up immediately, so I think that’s very important for MMA fighters, especially in this matchup against Ayaka.
“So, early prediction, I’m leaning towards Panda, guessing via TKO or KO.”
“I think Xiong Jing Nan is a very tough fighter. [She is] somebody that’s been around for a while, has seen the highs, and has worked her way up. I’m very excited to see what kind of evolution has come during all this time, and [this is] definitely a fight I’ll be tuned in to.”