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ONE: Empower results: Xiong Jing Nan retains; Atomweight Grand Prix final four set

c/o ONE FC

Xiong Jang Nan retains at ONE Empower

In Singapore on Friday, ONE Championship held its first-ever all-female card that featured the ONE atomweight grand prix quarterfinals, plus saw the ONE strawweight Xiong Jing Nan defeat 13-time ADCC champion and number-two ranked Michelle Nicolini in the main event.

Xiong Jing Nan defeated Michelle Nicolini (unanimous decision)

The styles clash here made is what really made this fight feel special. Jing Nan is something else. Niccolini was great but Jiang Nan overwhelmed her. One of the fastest current strikers on the scene right now. 


At 39, the 13-time ADCC World Champion Niccolini survived the full 25 minutes with Jing Nan and proved why she’s a young legend in the BJJ and submission grappling community across the world. Her open guard attacks probably would have earned her takedowns against most other fighters, but Jing Nan was able to finagle her way out of Niccolini’s ground game, always bringing the fight back to the champion’s comfort zone on the feet. 

Niccolini may have gassed early on after a Round 1 blitz where she tried plowing Jing Nan across the cage while going for a double-leg takedown. Jing Nan’s gas tank semed to have unlimited refills because I swear she was getting quicker and more explosive as the fight unfolded. Her frenetic style of boxing and kickboxing is a style most Western MMA fans are unfamiliar with. Niccolini didn’t have much of an answer to “Panda’s” high-volume, asymmetric flurries. By the end of the fight, Niccolini had a visible mouse above her eye, a result of Jing Nan’s relentless offense. 

In her post-match interview, the charismatic ONE World champion held back tears as she explained her most recent training troubles. Without going into detail, she explained that because of certain circumstances, she didn’t have access to a proper gym, and could only train in a small yoga studio that fit only two people at a time. It was almost shocking to see such a such an alpha hard-ass like Jing Nan tear up the way she did. Despite being a world champion, as well as China’s only champion in MMA at the moment, Xiong Jing Nan still battles uphill. 

Seo Hee Ham defeated Denice Zamboanga (split decision)

Zamboanga split her head open towards the end of the match when she collided with current RIZIN atomweight champion Ham. It was grisly and they had to pause the bout for a few moments. Ham scored the win despite showing a lot more defense than offense. How will she fare in the semi-finals? Her performance wasn’t indicative of how she’ll do in the next round. We didn’t see Ham in full force.

Stamp Fairtex defeated Alyona Rassohyna (split decision)

These two might be able to parlay this rivalry into something big based on their fight history. Stamp looked good here but so did Rassohyna, who I would have given the win to if I were in the judges’ position. It was really that close.


Ritu Phogat defeated Meng Bo (unanimous decision)

Unbelievable. What a comeback. Phogat, daughter of legendary wrestler and politician Mahavir Singh Phogat, whom the film Dangal was loosely based on, had an off-the-charts match against Meng Bo from China, coming back from what looked to be certain loss towards the end of Round 1.

What was so shocking about Phogat’s comeback wasn’t the fact that she survived Meng Bo’s Round 1 onslaught but that she returned the receipt in full and left a tip, too, finishing the match with an even more intense beating than Meng Bo served up earlier on.

Itsuki Hirata defeated Alyse Anderson (unanimous decision)

The recently re-nicknamed “Android 18” Itsuki Hirata looked good in her successful first round match, but not great. Her  but not great against Alyse Anderson. She showed holes in her game against Anderson, once flagrantly giving up her back when she dashed away from her American opponent when standing up from a scramble. Hirata was also caught with a blind shot from Anderson that connected with Hirata’s face, flush. Hirata survived and finished the last round in dominant fashion, but her inexperience was exposed tonight.

Hirata throws Anderson at ONE: Empower


Julie Mezabarba defeated Mei Yamaguchi (unanimous decision)

This was the Grand Prix alternate match. Mezabarba won without having to do much other than defend against Yamaguchi’s takedown attempts. Mezabarba landed lots of strikes with a few heavy ones, but Yamaguchi was the aggressor. That wasn’t reflected in the final decision, however.



Anissa Meksen defeated Cristina Morales (TKO, punches) – Round 2, 2:27

“The volume! The volume!” was what “The Voice” Michael Schaivello shouted on commentary as Meksen absolutely wrecked Morales in Round 1 of this Kickboxing rules bout. Representing both France and Algeria, Meksen thundered into this bout and served up heaping amounts of Savate power onto Morales, who fell in the first round after an exciting flurry from Meksen. 

Muay Thai

Buntan let her hands fly at ONE: Empower

Jackie Buntan defeated Daniela Lopez (unanimous decision)

Buntan tore Lopez apart over three rounds and was clearly the superior fighter, credit to Lopez who showed that she is really, really tough. She took some serious shots over the course of the match, but we never got a KO finish like many I’m sure were expecting. Buntan is always a highlight in ONE’s Muay Thai fights, and I look forward to seeing more of her this year.


Full results 

Xiong Jing Nan def. Michelle Nicolini via unanimous decision
Seo Hee Ham def. Denice Zamboanga via split decision
Stamp Fairtex def. Alyona Rassohyna via split decision
Ritu Phogat def. Meng Bo via unanimous decision
Itsuki Hirata def. Alyse Anderson via unanimous decision
Julie Mezabarba def. Mei Yamaguchi via unanimous decision

Anissa Meksen def. Cristina Morales via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 2:27

Muay Thai
Jackie Buntan def. Daniela Lopez via unanimous decision

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