image

One Championship

I’m ready for you, Angela Lee: Xiong ‘The Panda’ Jingnan demolishes her latest opponent as One Championship mega fight becomes a reality in November

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 September, 2018, 10:10pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 September, 2018, 10:57pm

The Panda rose to the big occasion on Saturday night with China’s Xiong Jingnan (16-1) outmuscling and then laying out Brazilian challenger Samara “Marituba” Santos (12-5-1) in the third round to retain her One Championship world strawweight title.

There is no doubt that half a world away in Hawaii the One atomweight world champ Angela “Unstoppable” Lee (9-0) was watching on, and taking notes, as the pair are now set to meet in Singapore in November as Lee moves up a weight division.

The Lee clan were cage side (sans Angela) as Christian Lee was on the undercard on Saturday night in the Baoshan Arena in Shanghai and Xiong made her message loud and clear.

“I am ready,” said the Chinese star. “They say that you train alone and no one knows but when you fight everyone knows what you can do – and I showed tonight that I am ready.”

“I’m improving every day and I’m proud of myself. I’m not the best but I’m improving. Tonight I prepared for all results and it happened right for me. I hope now more people know about me and will love me.”

Xiong knew coming in to the Shanghai bout that the prospect of a super fight was looming and claimed beforehand not to be distracted by it. Well, she can give Lee her full attention now.

The 25-year-old Santos was plucky but ultimately overmatched after a first-round pounding that left her face rising as quickly as her hopes receded. Xiong landed some big rights, threw off the Brazilian after the challenger had taken her back, then almost tuned the lights out with a ground and pound.

Santos kept coming and Xiong kept looking to land the big shot. It came at 1:22 of the third with a big right that looked at first to have grazed the Brazilian – but on closer inspection (and judging by the damage done) had landed bang on the money.

There was a dose of pure drama on the undercard when the younger Lee – Christian (9-3) – was disqualified at 2.21 of the first round in his featherweight bout against Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly (11-5) of the Philippines.

Lee had been all over his opponent but a huge body slam landed Kelly bang on his head, and left the referee with no choice but to show Lee the red card.

The 20-year-old Lee had come into the clash vowing to make a statement after failing in his shot against One world lightweight champ Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen (11-3) in Manila back in July, losing by a split decision that was generous to the Hawaii-based fighter.

‘Panda’ vows to do China proud in One Championship title defence as threat of Angela Lee looms

Lee looked huge from the opening bell and well on his way to setting his career back on course after that disappointment before the power move that went the wrong way. Lee took the decision well, all things considered, and left the cage with a shrug after making his peace with Kelly.

An emotional win for Muay Thai bantamweight prospect Han Zihao in the One Super Series earlier on the card lifted the locals before the main event.

The Henan-born Han (58-15) left home for Bangkok at 14 – on a one-way ticket and with no money in his pocket – before working his way up through the Thai pro circuit and now into the One series.

The 22-year-old outworked and almost knocked out Greek Stergos Mikkios (19-10) before taking an unanimous decision, his first for the organisation after a loss to Cyprus’ Panicos Yusuf on that Manila card in July that could have been called either way.

All hail ‘The Panda’ as China salutes new world MMA champion

Han looked devastated then, on Saturday it was pure elation. “I no longer have to worry about where my meals are coming from,” he said. “All I have to do is focus on my fighting. My family here told me how proud they are of me. They said they were proud even if I didn’t win. But tonight I showed China my heart and now I want to be the best there is.”