With One Championships ground breaking all-women’s event just around the corner, MMA-Japan.net takes a closer look at the star studded line up. Fittingly titled “Empower,” One has united elite athletes from around the world, each representing their art for a truly sensational event. Details on how to watch the landmark show can be found here
The Straw-weight World title is on the line for the main event, which is bolstered by the highly anticipated Quarterfinals of the MMA Atom-weight GP. Striking aficionados can look forward to the world class Atom-weight Kickboxing and Straw-weight Thai Boxing bouts. Rounding out the card is an Atom-weight GP alternate match that could easily have made the cut for the tournament.
A Brazilian JuJitsu World Champion no less than 13 times, Michelle Nicolini has cemented her status as one of the grappling arts all time greats. Seeking new challenges the BJJ Phenom quickly climbed the One Championship rankings with 3 submission finishes, all in the opening round. A victory over current Atom-weight Champion and former Straw-weight challenger Angela Lee earned the grappling phenom her no.2 ranking and shot at the Straw-weight Belt.
Squaring off against Nicolini in the circular cage will be dominant Straw-weight Champion, “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan. As the first, and only, Champion in the history of the division the Knockout artist has reigned supreme. Dismantling Tiffany Teo in her last bout the Chinese star is set to make her 5th title defense. With ferocious striking and an endless gas tank this bout has the hallmarks of a quintessential grappler vs striker showdown!
Receiving co-main event honors, 31 fight veteran “Hamderlei Silva” Seo Hee Ham will clash with fellow striking specialist Denice “The Menace” Zamboanga. Ham has proven herself against the worlds very best and carries a 6 fight win streak going into her One Championship debut. With a Kickboxing background “Hamderlei Silva” hits with pin point precision and is especially deadly with her knee strikes.
In Sentoukaikan Karate stylist Zamboanga, the South Korean faces an undefeated heavy hitter who has amassed an intimidating 8-0 record. Ranked no.1 in the division, the Filipino has explosive power and cannot be counted out. Expect a war that could steal the show!
Nong Stamp, better known as Stamp Fairtex, quickly emerged as a One Championship superstar. The decorated Thai Boxing champion’s radiant character and addictive dancing in combination with world class striking won her fans from all over the globe. Securing the Atom-weight Thai Boxing World Championship Stamp made a run for the Kickboxing strap, falling short by split decision. The moment would mark the start of a rocky patch for the Thai native. After her Muay Thai title went up in flames Stamp’s undefeated MMA record took a hit. With just seconds left in the final round, the fan favorite succumbed to a modified guillotine choke from Ukrainian submission specialist Alyona Rassohyna.
A rematch was scheduled for the Atom-weight GP, offering Stamp a chance at redemption and Rassohyna an opportunity to prove that her first victory was not due to “luck.” The first battle was enthralling as both fighters went back and forth, with Stamp throwing heat on the feet and Rassohyna utilizing her refined, technical grappling in arguably the most anticipated bout of the event!
In another contrast of styles, heavy hitter Meng Bo of China tests her striking acumen against esteemed wrestler Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat. Boasting a 17-5 record with 11 finishes, Bo is currently riding a 7 fight win streak and has yet to be defeated in One competition. The Sanda champion has Taekwondo roots and is more than just a striker, her grappling is also top notch.
Coming from a family of wrestlers, Phogat claimed 3 Indian titles before taking gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2016. Turning down the Olympics in favor of MMA, “The Indian Tigress’s” dedication to the sport is unquestionable. A powerhouse takedown expert, Phogat has been rounding out her game at Evolve MMA and going from strength to strength as a Mixed Martial Artist. Bo has the experience and versatility but what Phogat does, she is exceptional at making this fight a tough one to call.
Itsuki “Strong Heart Fighter” Hirata takes on Alyse “Lil’ Savage” Anderson to mark the start of the Atom-weight GP bouts. Anderson is an accomplished striker who sports a 5-1 record, with her loss being a split decision. Having fought for, and won, an Atom-weight title “Lil’ Savage” knows what it takes to reach the top and has a tight game that is difficult to beat. Her opponent has been so dominant with her skill-set that question marks remain regarding her defence, something the American will look to test.
Hailing from Japan, Hirata rose to popularity thanks to Abema.TV’s “Fighting Agent War.” A reality show tournament for amateur fighters. With an unbreakable spirit and outstanding Judo, Hirata tore through the competition, winning all her bouts by submission to receive a lucrative One contract. Now 4-0 as a pro the “Strong Heart Fighter” has finished every opponent she has come across. The Judoka’s “Koshi Guruma” and other hip throws let her establish “Kesa Gatame” scarf hold position where she score some unusual submissions.
In a treat for Kickboxing connoisseurs 2 highly decorated strikers collide in a world class Atom-weight match. K-1 and ISKA World Champion, Spanish athlete Cristina Morales trades blows with possibly the top pound for pound female striker in the world, Frances Anissa “C18” Mekson. “C18’s” accolades include Glory and ISKA World titles in Kickboxing, WBC and WMC belts In Muay Thai and French, European, and World Championship titles in Savate. Both fighters are supremely conditioned, have extensive arsenals of techniques and possess KO power. Morales has little to lose in going for broke as she faces the queen of striking.
Under Muay Thai rules, Jackie Buntan will welcome newcomer Daniela Lopez to the One Championship arena. A rising star in the org, Buntan put herself in the spotlight with a sensational performance over Thai favorite Wondergirl Fairtex. The heavy handed Filipino American will have her hands full with Argentine’s Lopez who excels in the clinch. While Buntan aims to continue the momentum, Lopez will be motivated to cause an upset and carve out a name for herself.
In the opening match of the stacked event the stakes are high, as Japan’s Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi locks horns with Brazil’s Julie Mezabarba. The stalwart Yamaguchi has had a long and storied career, with 34 fights under her belt and 21 victories “V.V” has regularly competed against the best. Fighting from 105-135lbs the Japanese warhorse is accustomed to being undersized, bridging the gap with unwavering heart and perseverance. Despite her Karate base, Yamaguchi is known for an outstanding ground game with the majority of her finishes coming from submissions. The tenacious grappler has also never been finished. A perennial top ranker her entire career, “V.V” needs to get past a fearsome Brazilian foe to have a chance to enter the GP and get another shot at the Champion, Angela Lee.
Julie Mezabarba makes her One debut on the heels of a 7 fight unbeaten streak. In contrast to her opponent all of the Brazilians finishes have come via strikes, all in the first round. With only 2 losses on her record, both by decision, the Rio de Janeiro native is durable and dangerous. Mezabarba should provide a suitable challenge for the battle tested veteran as both fight tooth and nail for a spot as a GP alternate