The main event of ONE Century part 1, will see the rematch between atomweight champion Angela Lee (9-2) and strawweight champion Xiong Jing Nan (14-1).
The first encounter at ONE a new era
Lee and Nan were originally scheduled to meet in the cage at ONE: Heart of the lion, until Lee was unfortunately forced to pull out of the contest with a back injury. This setback, however, did not stop Lee from making her move up to strawweight, as the encounter was later rescheduled for ONE: a new era. This bout gave Lee a chance to become a two-weight world champion.
The first meeting between these two champions was a very close fight, in which Lee pushed Nan to her limits. Lee got the better of Nan in the first two rounds although when she started to slow in the third round, the momentum of the fight started to shift in favour of the champion.
At the end of the third round, Lee managed to regroup before coming back out for the fourth. It was during this fourth round that Lee had her best opportunity to win the fight when she came agonisingly close to submitting Nan. Nan, however, would manage to survive until the end of the round.
Once the two fighters came out for the fifth and final round it was obvious that Lee had gassed herself out trying to secure the armbar. The lack of stamina left Lee unable to escape a flurry and kicks and punches from the champion, which forced the referee to call an end to the fight 1:37 into the final round.
This TKO victory over another champion was a career-defining performance for Nan, who could now say that she had in fact managed to stop ‘the unstoppable’.
The rematch at ONE Century part 1
The rematch between the two champions will take place at atomweight, which now gives Nan the opportunity to become a two-weight world champion. This opportunity will be Nan’s first fight since her victory over Lee back in March. Whereas, Lee will drop back down in weight after losing two consecutive fights at strawweight, against Nan and Michelle Nicolini (6-2).
It was evident during the first encounter that Nan had the power advantage. This power advantage not only resonated in terms of her strikes but it also allowed her to escape from Lee’s grappling game on occasion. Although, with Nan moving down in weight it will be interesting to see if the extra 10-pound cut will impact either her power or her endurance, which proved pivotal to her victory the first time around.
The rematch should be another close competitive fight between two of the best female fighters on the ONE Championship roster. Both competitors will have learned a lot from their first encounter with each other. They will surely use what they have learned to aid them in the upcoming rematch.
At ONE Century part 1, we will either see a new two-weight world champion or Lee will prove to the world that she is still ‘unstoppable’ at atomweight?
Lee’s decision to return to atomweight
I think Lee has made the right decision moving back down to atomweight for this fight. In her two loses at strawweight it was clear that her opponents had a clear power advantage. If Lee does intend to move back up in weight she should follow Michelle Waterson’s (17-6) example and take a year out, in which she concentrates on building her body towards being a natural strawweight competitor.