Photo Credit: ONE

Jing Nan Xiong Secures The Inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight Championship Strap

ONE Championship started off the year by introducing a new weight class and the women that were chosen to battle came to scrap.

Two of the top female martial artists in the region, Tiffany Teo and Jing Nan Xiong, locked themselves inside a cage to decide who would be the first-ever women’s strawweight champion.

The fight turned out to be an engaging standup tug-of-war that ended in the fourth round with Xiong dropping Teo and referee Olivier Coste jumping in to end the fight.

The Chinese phenom used her quickness on the feet and accurate punching combinations to stifle any kind of attack Teo rushed forward with. She relied heavily on her overhand right and the left hook to swell up her opponent’s face badly throughout the main event.

Xiong is now the ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion and extends her current streak to six in a row. Teo, on the other hand, suffers her first loss of her career and goes back to the drawing board.

In the co-main event, Bali MMA representative Stefer Rahardian stayed unbeaten by dominating Muhammad Imran through three rounds to get the decision win.

The Indonesian was able to drag Imran to the canvas and control him for most of the fight. Attempting submissions from time to time and grinding down his opponent for large portions of the rounds gave the judges only one option.

In other dramatic news, former promotional champions Shinya Aoki (lightweight) and Marat Gafarov (featherweight) locked horns in a submission only grappling match that was entertaining, to say the least.

Aoki was able to slip out of some dangerous positions to eventually take the back and choke Gafurov out with his own patented move.

It was an emotional win for the Japanese MMA veteran considering he has been in a slump since he lost the lightweight title back in late 2016. With this much-needed victory to start off 2018, he can now focus on getting back to title contention while the division’s champ is working towards a third title at bantamweight.

In addition to the big names on the block, Victorio Senduk, Rene Catalan, Priscilla Hertati Lumbanggaol, and Riski Umar all took out their foes via strikes in the first or second round. In fact, Senduk and Umar stay undefeated with all their wins coming by knockout.

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John Hyon Ko is an Asia-based combat sports journalist as well as the host and producer of Kumite Radio.