ONE Championship: five storylines to watch after Prime Video 2 – including Angela Lee’s future
- Xiong Jingnan’s next move is also on the agenda – the Chinese strawweight champ could go after Lee’s atomweight built again
- Stamp Fairtex and Anissa Meksen begin trash talk ahead of January 14 clash, while there are two big new contenders in men’s MMA
ONE Championship on Prime Video 2 went down on Saturday morning in Singapore, and much like the promotion’s first event on the Amazon-owned streaming service, it was packed with memorable moments.
In the main event, China’s Xiong Jingnan defeated Angela Lee by unanimous decision, defending the strawweight title and settling a two-fight tie with the Canadian-American atomweight champion in the process.
In the event’s co-headlining attraction, Mikey Musumeci defeated Cleber Sousa by decision to win ONE’s first submission grappling title at flyweight.
Earlier in the morning, Thai MMA star Stamp Fairtex picked up a hard-fought decision win over rising Malaysian talent Jihin Radzuan, while a number of newcomers made big statements in their ONE debuts.
Here are five storylines to watch after the event.
Angela Lee’s future at strawweight
Had ONE atomweight champ Angela Lee (11-3 MMA) defeated strawweight champion Xiong Jingnan at ONE on Prime Video 2, she would have become the first female fighter in the promotion’s history to win titles in two weight classes. But it was not to be. Instead Lee is now 0-3 at strawweight, having lost twice to Xiong and once to Brazilian grappler Michelle Nicolini.
“This fight was a war, but I know that under any rules of any organisation, that I won that fight,” she said in an Instagram post on Sunday morning.
It is definitely possible we will see her compete at strawweight again in the future, but far more likely that she returns to atomweight to defend her title in her next fight, most likely against South Korea’s Ham Seo-hee, who is riding back-to-back decision wins over Denice Zamboanga.
Xiong Jingnan’s next move
Xiong Jingnan (18-2 MMA) got the result she wanted at ONE on Prime Video 2, defeating Angela Lee by decision to move to 2-1 in their three-fight rivalry. Unfortunately, her future is quite uncertain after the win.
There are simply no fresh challengers in her division at the moment – most likely a contributor to Lee’s getting a title shot despite having lost all of her previous fights in the weight class.
ONE could sign new strawweights to challenge Xiong, but giving title shots to debuting fighters is not a great look, particularly when legendary former UFC champ Demetrious Johnson had to win a Grand Prix before he got a title shot in the promotion.
Xiong could also drop back down to atomweight. She lost her lone fight in the division, tapping to a Lee submission in 2019, but has a strong case for a title shot given that she holds two victories over the champion. A non-title fight with a top atomweight contender, such as Stamp Fairtex or Denice Zamboanga, could also be exciting.
One way or the other, it will be interesting to see what is next for Xiong, who has cemented herself among the top fighters in ONE.
ONE on Prime Video 2 was by all accounts a blockbuster card, but it was originally supposed to be even bigger. Until fight week, it was set to include the latest appearance from featherweight kickboxing champion Superbon Singha Mawynn.
Superbon was originally slated to defend his title against Belarus’ Chingiz Allazov, who earned his opportunity by winning the promotion’s featherweight kickboxing Grand Prix with a defeat of Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong in March.
When Allazov sustained an injury in training, Superbon was then booked to take on Turkish-Dutchman Tayfun Ozcan, who had been slated to fight Marat Grigorian on the undercard. Unfortunately, Superbon was then forced off the card with an illness – a disappointing twist for all those who had been excited to see one of the greatest strikers in combat sports in action.
While Superbon did not fight at ONE on Prime Video 2, one of the biggest questions in the wake of the event is when, where and against whom he will next fight.
A rescheduled fight with Allazov is the most likely option, but not the only possibility. Depending on Allazov’s recovery time, the kickboxing champion could also meet Grigorian, who ended up defeating Ozcan by decision on Saturday’s undercard. Superbon beat the Georgian-Armenian by decision in March, but suffered a knockout loss the first time they met, so there is a score to be settled.
Stamp Fairtex vs Anissa Meksen
No 1 atomweight MMA contender Stamp Fairtex (9-2 MMA) was one of the biggest winners of Saturday’s ONE on Prime Video 2 event, weathering some early adversity to batter No 5-ranked contender Jihin Radzuan to a decision victory.
The win separated the Thai from a submission loss to Angela Lee back in March, and reasserted her as one of the top female fighters in ONE.
Normally, fans would now be debating Stamp’s next move, but in a rare twist, we already knew who she would be fighting next before she event stepped into the cage with Radzuan.
The Thai is currently booked for a special rules fight with striking star Anissa Meksen at ONE on Prime Video 6, slated for January 14 in Bangkok. The bout will alternate between Muay Thai and MMA rules, round-by-round, starting with the former.
It is a fascinating match-up on paper.
Meksen, who beat Dangkongfah Banchamek by decision on Saturday’s undercard, is considered one of the best female strikers on Earth, which will give her confidence in the opening Muay Thai round. Yet Stamp is no slouch in that department herself, having formerly held ONE’s atomweight Muay Thai and kickboxing belts.
On the other hand, Stamp seemingly has a big advantage in the fight’s MMA rounds, having become quite a submission threat over the last few years, but Meksen claims to have been honing her grappling behind closed doors, so we could be in for some surprises in that phase of the fight too.
It is one of the most anticipated events on ONE’s calendar at present.
The line-up for ONE on Prime Video 2 featured some of the promotion’s biggest stars, including Angela Lee, Xiong Jingnan, and Stamp Fairtex. Yet the event also served as an introduction to some new faces, including Turkey’s Halil Amir and Russia’s Ilya Freymanov.
Amir (8-0) was in action in the opening bout of the main card, taking on Russian knockout artist Timofey Nastyukhin, who has previously fought for the ONE lightweight title, and remains one of the division’s top fighters. Nastyukhin began the fight as he often does, whipping power punches at his opponent’s head, but ultimately got a taste of his own medicine, crumbling under an avalanche of punches in round two.
Freymanov (11-2) made his ONE debut in the next fight of the night, and received no kinder a welcome, taking on former featherweight champion Martin Nguyen. Like Amir, the Russian made a loud statement, shutting the lights out on Nguyen with a vicious striking assault in the first round.
After defeating such highly regarded foes on Saturday, both men can expect to debut in the official ONE rankings when they are updated later this week. More importantly, both announced themselves as definite threats to the champions of their divisions – Christian Lee in Amir’s case, and Tang Kai in Freymanov’s.