ONE Championship has announced the start of their 115-pound grand prix along with a championship bout for their May 28th event titled “Empower.” The event, which does not have a confirmed location at the moment, will be headlined by 125-pound ONE champion Xiong Jing Nan and challenger Michelle Nicolini.
Xiong will attempt to defend her belt for the fifth time, continuing a reign that started back in 2018. Her last fight was back in October, where she defended her belt in a five-round unanimous decision win against Tiffany Teo.
Nicolini is being given a title shot after putting together a ONE record of three wins and two losses. She handed ONE 115-pound champion Angela Lee a loss in a flyweight bout in her last ONE appearance. Before then, Nicolini took a scorecard loss to Teo, who would then go on to challenge Xiong for the belt.
Matchups for Grand Prix Unveiled
ONE Championship’s 115-pound Grand Prix opening round matchups were revealed as part of the promotion’s recent announcement. The winner of the eight-woman bracket will get a title shot against Angela Lee, who is currently on leave due to pregnancy.
Former RIZIN Super Atomweight Champion Seo Hee Ham will make her ONE debut in the opening round of the bracket, fighting Denice Zamboanga.
Ham last competed in 2019, where she earned a RIZIN belt in a close decision victory against Ayaka Hamasaki. Zamboanga will be wagering her eight-fight undefeated record which includes three bouts in ONE.
Alyona Rassohyna and Stamp Fairtex will have a rematch in the opening round of the bracket. Rassohyna won her ONE debut earlier this year by submitting Stamp late in the third round of a main event bout. The fight ended controversially, as Stamp protested the fact that she tapped out, although footage of the fight clearly displayed the tap.
After being undefeated in their ONE careers so far, Meng Bo and Ritu Phogat have been paired in the tournament. Meng earned her third ONE victory recently, defeating Samara Santos on scorecards.
Phogat’s entire four-fight career has taken place in ONE. She finished her last bout, landing strikes from a crucifix position to stop Jomary Torres within a round.
Undefeated ONE talent Itsuki Hirata will face promotional newcomer Alyse Anderson in the fourth and final bout in the first round of the bracket. Hirata has quickly built her pro career in ONE, picking up four pro wins since making her debut in 2019. She had her return to action last month, defeating Miku Nakamura on a “Road To ONE” card.
Anderson joins ONE after a three-fight run in Invicta FC. Her five-fight pro career includes four wins via stoppage. She will be competing for the first time since 2019.
Here is how the lineup for “ONE Championship: Empower” looks at the moment.
Bout 5: Xiong Jing Nan (15-2) vs. Michelle Nicolini (6-2) (125 lbs) (ONE MMA Strawweight Championship)
Bout 4: Seo Hee Ham (23-8) vs. Denice Zamboanga (8-0) (115 lbs) (ONE Atomweight Grand Prix)
Bout 3: Alyona Rassohyna (13-4) vs. Stamp Fairtex (5-1) (115 lbs) (ONE Atomweight Grand Prix)
Bout 2: Meng Bo (17-5) vs. Ritu Phogat (4-0) (115 lbs) (ONE Atomweight Grand Prix)
Bout 1: Itsuki Hirata (4-0) vs. Alyse Anderson (5-1) (115 lbs) (ONE Atomweight Grand Prix)