After a brief hiatus, One Championship returns this week with ONE: Beyond the Horizon, which will take place at the Baoshan Arena in Shanghai, China.
The main event will be the women’s strawweight title clash between China’s Xiong Jing Nan and Brazil’s Samara Santos. This bout has gained further relevance after the announcement from atomweight champion Angela Lee that she will be moving up to strawweight in November and will take on the winner of Jing Nan vs Santos.
In the lead-up to the main event it will be a case of Team Lakay against Evolve MMA. Team Lakay’s Honorio Banario and Evolve’s Amir Khan will meet in a crucial lightweight matchup, which could position the winner towards a title shot later next year. Evolve’s Christian Lee will also be returning to action when he takes on Team Lakay’s Edward Kelly in their featherweight bout.
All four fighters are capable of finishing fights quickly and both bouts should be closely competitive contests.
The card will contain four Super Series bouts with the pick of the bunch being the Muay Thai bantamweight clash between Serbia’s Ognjen Topic and Thailand’s Tukkatatong Petpayathai.
A bantamweight contest between China’s Chen Lei and Malaysia's Muhammad Aiman will headline the evening’s preliminary bouts. Both these fighters are skilled strikers who are looking to move into the upper reaches of their division with a win in Shanghai.
Jing Nan (15-1-0) vs Samara
China’s Xiong Jing Nan will be the heavy favourite going into her women’s strawweight title clash with Brazilian Samara Santos. Santos will be making her ONE Championship debut while Jing Nan joined at the start of 2018. Currently training out of Bali MMA, Jing Nan is on a seven-fight winning streak and has looked a level above the recent opposition she has faced since she began competing in ONE Championship. This event will be the second ONE Championship event that Jing Nan, who is dubbed “The Panda,” will headline after topping the bill in January at ONE: Kings of Courage where she defeated Singapore’s Tiffany Teo to claim the inaugural women’s strawweight belt. The 30-year-old switched to MMA after first establishing herself as a successful boxer, a sport in which she represented China on the global stage. Jing Nan is a powerful striker who looks to overwhelm opponents with unrelenting pressure. She has solid grappling credentials and took home a gold medal at the 2017 China Open Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Tournament. In her last bout, she dominated Argentina’s Laura Balin and despite not getting the stoppage, she rarely looked in danger of losing her belt.
Santos comes from a muay Thai background with the majority of her wins coming via referee stoppage. This will not be the first time the 25 year old has fought outside of her homeland though; in 2016 she fought and lost to Poland’s Invicta signee Aga Niedzwiedz. None of Santos’ losses have been walkovers and although she is the underdog, Jing Nan’s aggressive style will give Santos’ opportunities to hit her on the counter. The winner of this bout will go on to fight Angela Lee in Singapore in November—and a chance to face Lee should provide extra motivation for both fighters. Lee is arguably the face of ONE Championship and a victory over her would considerably bolster the profile of whomever could give Lee her first loss.
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