ONE Championship’s lead play-by-play commentator Michael “The Voice” Schiavello is enthralled by the World Title bout that is headlining ONE: CENTURY PART I in Tokyo, Japan on Sunday, 13 October.
Strawweight queen “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan will move down a weight class to challenge ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee for her coveted title in the main event of the evening.
Schiavello called the action when these two World Champions first met in the Circle six and a half months ago, and he will get to relive all the drama and excitement when they square off in a rematch at the Ryogoku Kokugikan next weekend.
“I think this is a terrific match-up,” he says. “The big question for me is, ‘How much is Xiong in Lee’s head having beaten her the last time?’ That’s got to give a mental advantage to Xiong.”
These two female warriors initially shared the Circle in the co-main event of ONE: A NEW ERA – also at the Ryogoku Kokugikan – on 31 March, but the roles were reversed.
Lee challenged Xiong for her ONE Women’s Strawweight World Championship and wanted the honor of becoming the first woman to hold ONE World Titles in separate weight classes.
For the better part of three rounds, “Unstoppable” worked hard to slow down her Chinese opponent and looked for a way to finish her rival. In the fourth round, Lee nearly succeeded when she locked up a deep armbar and reverse triangle choke.
“The Panda” refused to tap, however. She escaped the choke – and the round – and came back in the fifth stanza to knock the Singaporean out in dramatic fashion.
“Xiong proved to be bigger and more resilient than Angela expected,” Schiavello says.
“[But Lee is] going to bring a lot of new tricks into her game. She showed everything she could to Xiong the last time, and though she came agonizingly close to finishing Xiong, she couldn’t do it.”
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This time around, things will be a little different.
The match will be contested at atomweight, a division Lee has dominated since claiming the inaugural ONE Women’s Atomweight World Title in May 2016.
Although “The Panda” has not competed in this particular weight class since joining The Home Of Martial Arts in December 2017, Schiavello does not believe the drop in weight will affect the Chinese challenger.
“[Xiong’s] going to be powerful,” he states. “Her ground game has been improving leaps and bounds. She will be totally and utterly prepared for this.”
While Schiavello heaps praise on the ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion, he does see a way for the Singaporean to leave the Japanese capital with her belt and a slice of redemption.
“Angela’s got to bring something new to the table,” he offers. “[She needs] to bring something Xiong isn’t expecting or prepared for, or hasn’t seen before.”
For Lee, this is the biggest match of her mixed martial arts career. She will be defending her belt against the first woman to defeat her, and the only woman to finish her inside the Circle.
How the 23-year-old Singaporean reacts when she stands across from “The Panda” inside the Ryogoku Kokugikan could very well decide who leaves Tokyo with the gold.
“Will that affect her? Or can Lee put the past behind her, take out of the equation their first contest at strawweight, and do what she does best at atomweight,” Schiavello ponders.
“Angela’s undefeated at atomweight. This is where she is ‘Unstoppable.’ This is where she is the queen.”
- Watch PART I in USA on 12 October at 8pm EST and PART II on 13 October at 4am EST
- Watch PART I in India on 13 October at 5:30am IST and PART II at 1:30pm IST
- Watch PART I in Indonesia on 13 October at 7am WIB and PART II at 3pm WIB
- Watch PART I in Singapore on 13 October at 8am SGT and PART II at 4pm SGT
- Watch PART I in the Philippines on 13 October at 8am PHT and PART II at 4pm PHT
- Watch PART I in Japan on 13 October at 9am JST and PART II at 5pm JST
ONE: CENTURY is the biggest World Championship martial arts event in history with 28 World Champions featured across various martial arts. No organization has ever promoted two full-scale World Championship events on the same day.
The Home Of Martial Arts will break new ground as it brings multiple World Title bouts, a trio of World Grand Prix Championship Finals, and several World Champion versus World Champion matches to the famous Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on 13 October.