News

Xiong Vs. Nicolini, Atomweight GP Quarterfinals Set For ONE: EMPOWER

Mar 12, 2021

ONE Championship will make history once again when the promotion holds its first all-female card, ONE: EMPOWER, on Friday, 28 May.

This unique card is scheduled to feature an exciting World Title main event and the complete opening round of the biggest women’s mixed martial arts tournament in history.

Xiong Jing Nan fights Tiffany Teo in a ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title rematch at ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX on Friday, 30 October

ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan has been invincible in her weight class.

The Chinese star, who owns an 18-2 professional record, captured the inaugural gold by finishing Tiffany “No Chill” Teo via TKO in January 2018, and she’s successfully defended her belt four times since then.

For her fifth World Title defense, Xiong will meet #2-ranked strawweight contender Michelle Nicolini – and the talented Brazilian might have the tools to dethrone the queen.

Nicolini is an eight-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion who’s masterfully applied her grappling skills to mixed martial arts. The South American star owns a 6-2 professional record in the all-encompassing sport, with five of her victories coming via first-round submission.

Xiong is a well-rounded competitor and a devastating knockout artist, but her ground game will be pushed to the limit in the headline attraction.

Philippine mixed martial arts Denice Zamboanga trains at the Fairtex Training Center in Pattaya

On Thursday, ONE Championship also confirmed each quarterfinal matchup for the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix, with all four of them set to go down at ONE: EMPOWER.

The eventual tournament champion will earn the right to challenge reigning atomweight queen “Unstoppable” Angela Lee for the belt in November. 

In the opening round, undefeated Filipina and #1-ranked atomweight contender Denice “The Menace” Zamboanga will square off against South Korean powerhouse Seo Hee Ham.

Zamboanga has been flawless since making her professional debut, posting an 8-0 record. Three of those victories have come on the global stage against the likes of two-time ONE World Title challenger Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi and Malaysian rising star Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan.

However, the Filipina will face the toughest test in her career when she stands across the Circle from Ham.

The South Korean may be making her ONE debut in this contest, but she is one of Asia’s most decorated mixed martial artists. She comes into this contest with a 23-8 professional record and a six-bout winning streak.

Chinese MMA fighter Meng Bo throws a cross a Samara Santos

In the next quarterfinal matchup, Chinese knockout artist Meng Bo will meet unbeaten wrestling superstar Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat.

Meng, the #2-ranked atomweight contender, has quickly emerged as a dominant force in the division. The Changsha native owns a 17-5 slate – and like Ham, she is riding a six-bout winning steak.

What’s more, the Chinese star has racked up three big victories in The Home Of Martial Arts, including a pair of stunning first-round knockouts over Indonesian hero Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol and former ONE World Title challenger Laura “La Gladiadora” Balin.

On the other side, Phogat has also looked invincible during her time on the global stage. The Indian Wrestling Champion has made great use of her elite grappling skills en route to four decisive wins, including three by TKO.

The tournament will also see the return of Japanese rising star Itsuki “Strong Heart Fighter” Hirata, who will clash with American debutant Alyse “Lil’ Savage” Anderson.

Hirata has been perfect in her mixed martial arts career, compiling a 7-0 professional slate and a 100 percent finishing rate. She also holds some massive wins over the likes of Rika “Tiny Doll” Ishige and Nyrene “Neutron Bomb” Crowley.

But while the judoka has yet to be threatened in competition, Anderson could be the woman to torpedo her opponent’s spotless record.

“Lil’ Savage” is one of the most highly regarded atomweight fighters from the United States, posting a 5-1 record and capturing titles throughout the region. Moreover, her only career loss was a razor-thin split decision.

Photos from Stamp Fairtex and Alyona Rassohyna's MMA fight at ONE: UNBREAKABLE III on 5 February 2021

Finally, former two-sport ONE World Champion Stamp Fairtex will get her chance for redemption when she faces Ukraine’s Alyona Rassohyna.

After reaching the pinnacle of the atomweight division in both Muay Thai and kickboxing, Stamp began her march toward three-sport glory. But after compiling five decisive wins in mixed martial arts, the Thai megastar met Rassohyna at ONE: UNBREAKABLE III in January – and their three-round matchup ended in controversy.

With Stamp seemingly headed toward a decision victory, the Ukrainian took down the Fairtex representative and secured a guillotine choke. The Thai appeared to tap out with just seconds remaining in the contest, though she immediately protested the stoppage and claimed it wasn’t her intention.

Nonetheless, Rassohyna was awarded her 13th professional victory, adding extra intrigue to her rematch with Stamp in the tournament quarterfinals.

Stay tuned to ONEFC.com for more details about the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix.

ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix Quarterfinal Matchups

  • Denice Zamboanga vs. Seo Hee Ham
  • Meng Bo vs. Ritu Phogat
  • Itsuki Hirata vs. Alyse Anderson
  • Stamp Fairtex vs. Alyona Rassohyna

Read more: Breaking Down Every Fighter In The ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix

Load More

Stay in the know

Take ONE Championship wherever you go! Sign up now to gain access to latest news, unlock special offers and get first access to the best seats to our live events.
By submitting this form, you are agreeing to our collection, use and disclosure of your information under our Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time.