ONE: Empower Results & Recap
ONE Championship’s landmark all-female event ‘Empower’ went down on Friday night, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. While the event was headlined by a world title clash, the principal attraction of the night was the Women’s Atomweight Grand Prix.
In the main event, ONE Strawweight World Champion Xiong Jing Nan (16-2) came up trumps in her fifth defence of the title she won back in 2018. The Chinese superstar survived some early scares against Brazilian challenger Michelle Nicolini (6-3), dominating the stand-up exchanges and finishing the stronger on her way to a dominant unanimous decision win.
The atomweight grand prix matchups were decided by a vote from the fans and did not disappoint, while all four fights went the distance, every fighter had their moments.
The most competitive and somewhat controversial bout was between Denice Zamboanga (8-1) and Seo Hee Ham (24-8). UFC veteran and former Rizin Atomweight Champion Ham came away with the split decision in a back-and-forth battle, but the fight could’ve gone either way, and the then-undefeated Filipino Zamboanga could be forgiven for thinking that she should have gotten the nod.
In perhaps the biggest upset of the grand prix quarter-finals, India’s Ritu Phogat (6-1) survived a torrid first round to claim a unanimous decision win over highly-fancied Meng Bo (17-6). ‘The Tigress’ suffered an early knockdown and submission attempt from the heavy-handed Chinese star, before taking control in Rounds Two and Three in typical fashion, landing takedowns and raining down ground and pound on her tiring foe.
The rematch between Stamp Fairtex (6-1) and Alyona Rassohyna (13-5) proved to be just as good as the original. In what turned out to be a competitive grappling match, it was Stamp who once again showed her improvements on the ground. The Thai star survived an early armbar attempt from Rassohyna, her signature move, and finished the stronger to take a split decision win. The win levels their rivalry at 1-1, but only Stamp will advance to the semi-finals.
In the first quarter-final of the evening, Itsuki Hirata (5-1) survived an early scare of her own, suffering a first-round knockdown at the hands of American Alyse Anderson (5-2). However, it was the rising Japanese star that took control in Rounds Two and Three, with her superior grappling and sheer physical strength proving too much for the Invicta veteran.
Brazil’s Julie Mezabarba (9-2-1) claimed her place at the front of the queue in the event that a grand prix fighter is forced to withdraw, claiming a dominant decision win over Japanese veteran Mei Yamaguchi (21-13-1) in the opening bout of the evening.
Earlier, French kickboxing superstar Anissa Meksen (101-5) made her long-awaited ONE debut and did not disappoint. Meksen kept her composure and picked apart the fast-starting Cristina Morales (47-8), eventually dropping the Spanish contender with a perfectly timed head kick and closing the show with a brutal punching barrage.
Also on the card, rising Muay Thai star Jackie Buntan (23-5) continued her charge up the rankings with a dominant decision win over Argentinian Daniela Lopez (7-4). American-based Filipino Buntan was the quicker fighter from the outset and was rarely headed by the ultra-tough Lopez.
ONE will be back at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on September 24th with ONE: Revolution, a star-studded card featuring three world title bouts. Stay tuned to MMA Manifesto for more details.
ONE: Empower Full Results:
ONE Women’s Strawweight MMA World Title:
Xiong Jing Nan (China) (C) defeated Michelle Nicolini (Brazil) by unanimous decision
ONE Women’s Atomweight MMA Grand Prix quarterfinals:
Seo Hee Ham (Korea) defeated Denice Zamboanga (Philippines) by split decision
Stamp Fairtex (Thailand) defeated Alyona Rassohyna (Ukraine) by split decision
Ritu Phogat (India) defeated Meng Bo (China) by unanimous decision
Itsuki Hirata (Japan) defeated Alyse Anderson (United States) by unanimous decision
Womens’s atomwight kickboxing bout:
Anissa Meksen (France) defeated Cristina Morales (Spain) by R2 TKO (head kick and punches)
Women’s strawweight Muay Thai bout:
Jackie Buntan (United States) defeated Daniela Lopez (Argentina)
Atomweight grand prix alternate bout:
Julie Mezabarba (Brazil) defeated Mei Yamaguchi (Japan) by unanimous decision