Women’s MMA will take centre stage on Friday, September 3 when ONE Championship hosts ONE: Empower at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
The event features a battle for the ONE women’s strawweight title in the main event, with the remainder of the main card filled with quarter-final bouts of the promotion’s women’s atomweight Grand Prix.
The headline bout features hard-hitting Chinese champion Xiong Jing Nan, who will put her strawweight title on the line against Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace and No. 2-ranked strawweight contender Michelle Nicolini.
Nicolini earned her shot at the strawweight title with a unanimous decision victory over atomweight champ Angela Lee back in July 2019, but has been out of action due in large part to the COVID pandemic.
Now the 39-year-old Brazilian will take on Xiong, whose only defeat in seven ONE Championship bouts came when she dropped a weight class to challenge for Lee’s atomweight title.
‘The Panda” has been perfect at her natural weight class, however, and has registered four title defences so far.
However, she’ll face arguably the most dangerous opponent of her career, with stand-up fighter Xiong set to face elite grappler Nicolini in her latest title defence.
It’ll come down to who dictates where the fight goes. Xiong will want it on the feet where she can make her power punches pay. But if the bout goes to the canvas, Nicolini’s jiu-jitsu skills could turn the bout on its head.
The ONE Women’s Atomweight Grand Prix features eight of the best 115-pound fighters on the Asian promotion’s roster.
With the reigning champion Angela Lee currently out of action after becoming a mother earlier this year, the race is on to find a Grand Prix champion, who will move on to face Lee in a huge champion versus champion clash in the months ahead.
The promotion’s No. 1-ranked contender, Filipina Denice Zamboanga, will take on one of Asia’s most seasoned world-class fighters, as South Korea’s 31-fight veteran and former RIZIN FF atomweight champion Seo Hee Ham joins ONE Championship in search of tournament glory.
The No. 2 contender, China’s Meng Bo, will take on Indian contender Rityu Phogat, while former ONE Muay Thai and Kickboxing champion, two-sport queen Stamp Fairtex, will take on Ukrainian contender Alyona Rassohyna in a mouthwatering rematch of the bout that saw the latter claim a majority decision victory in January.
Now, with Stamp ranked fourth and Rassohyna third, they will face off again with a place in the tournament semi-finals up for grabs.
The final quarter-final bout sees Japanese rising star Itsuki Hirata take on the debuting Alyse Anderson.
The undefeated 21-year-old from Tokyo has been earmarked as a future female superstar for the promotion. But, as the youngest, least experienced fighter in the tournament, she faces a steep learning curve as she looks to make an impact against the promotion’s very best.
“Strong Heart Fighter” will take on American Anderson, who previously fought four times for US-based all-female organisation Invicta FC.
The card also features a pair of ONE Super Series bouts, with Anissa Meksen taking on Cristina Morales under kickboxing rules, while Jackie Buntan faces Daniela Lopez in a Muay Thai matchup.
There’s also a pair of Grand Prix alternate bouts, with former title challenger Mei Yamaguchi taking on Brazil’s Julie Mezabarba, while American Grace Cleveland will face the winner of the upcoming Bi Nguyen vs. Jenelyn Olsim bout, which will be aired on ONE: Battleground III on August 27.
ONE: EMPOWER – FIGHT CARD
- Xiong Jing Nan (c) vs. Michelle Nicolini – ONE Women’s Strawweight title
- Denice Zamboanga vs. Seo Hee Ham – ONE Atomweight Grand Prix quarter-final
- Stamp Fairtex vs. Alyona Rassohyna – ONE Atomweight Grand Prix quarter-final
- Meng Bo vs. Ritu Phogat – ONE Atomweight Grand Prix quarter-final
- Itsuki Hirata vs. Alyse Anderson – ONE Atomweight Grand Prix
- Anissa Meksen vs. Cristina Morales – ONE Super Series Kickboxing
- Jackie Buntan vs. Daniela Lopez – ONE Super Series Muay Thai
- Mei Yamaguchi vs. Julie Mezabarba – ONE Atomweight Grand Prix alternate bout
- Grace Cleveland vs. Bi Nguyen or Jenelyn Olsim – ONE Atomweight Grand Prix alternate bout