The press conference call for the biggest event of the year ‘Heart of Lion’ kicked off today with Chatri Sityodtong (CEO & Chairman, ONE Championship) sharing significant insights relating to the ONE brand. The present numbers, he said have surpassed its previous figures in every aspect. After the latest investment, the total capital now exceeds $250 million USD and has evaluation in billion-dollar range. In the coming years there will be more investments, while ONE looks forward to expanding territories and setting new records.
The ONE athlete roster boasts of 450 fighters out of which 94 are world champions from varied martial backgrounds including Kickboxing, Muay Thai, MMA, BJJ, Sambo, Wrestling and many others. ONE is the only MMA organization that can proudly claim to have the largest collection of world champions under its banner. All events are now broadcasted live in 138 countries, while the latest event in Bangkok witnessed 20 million viewers which is the highest ever. With the upcoming line of events in the next year, Chatri foresees this figure will easily touch 100 million viewers per event.
With such promising figures and well chalked out event calendar, ONE Championship is without a doubt the largest global sports media property in Asian history that’s putting on electrifying events in every major city.
First Ever Women’s Champion vs. Champion Super Fight
The main event is scheduled between two reigning female champions – The Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee and Women’s Strawweight World Champion “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan. Speaking of this match up Chatri said “Angela Lee is moving up a weight class to challenge Jing Nan for her title. It’s going to be an explosive fight and can very well end in the first round.” It’s a risky move for Angela, who’s putting her unblemished record on the line considering Jing Nan’s explosive fighting technique.
Jing Nan is China’s first ever women’s MMA world champion and in her last four fights has finished three of her opponents by TKO. Jing Nan said, “Angela Lee is an excellent fighter with good ground game and she’ll have the support of her home town too”. But the Panda is under no pressure as she’s confident about her skills and what she can bring into the fight. She promised that after the fight, “Everyone will remember her name – Xiong Jing Nan”
But Angela Lee thinks otherwise. She plans on ending this year with a bang and make history as the first ever two division women’s champion. “I know Jing Nan is a heavy hitter, but I promise it’s going to be fireworks in the Singapore stadium. My preparations have been on pint and I’m going to shock the world by finishing her with a devastating knockout and make a statement in this strawweight division”.
A Rematch to Unify the World Titles
The co-main event features a rematch between ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano Fernandes and ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion Kevin Belingon for World Title unification. Talking about this rematch, Bibiano Fernandes, stated: “Kevin Belingon has improved a lot since the last time we fought. I’ve seen him grow as a competitor and I know Kevin will be a completely different fighter when we meet inside the cage again. I’m very confident that my skills are enough to beat him again as I’ll control the pace of this fight and the outcome. I’m not taking Kevin Belingon for granted, and I’m training even harder to make sure that I triumph over his best version yet in Singapore.” He also added: “I’ve held this World Title for a long time, and I’m not about to give it up now. I’m ready to go the full five rounds, but I’m also ready to finish the bout by knockout or submission when the opportunity presents itself”.
Since his loss to Bibiano back in 2016, Kevin Belingon picked up six straight victories with notable wins over Martin Nguyen, Andrew Leone and Reece McLaren. Kevin stated: “Fighting in Singapore is almost like fighting in Manila. Thousands of Filipinos are based there, and they never fail to show support when their fellow Filipino is scheduled to compete. This is the most important bout of my career. It has taken me years to reach this level, and I have learned so much as a martial artist and as a competitor since I first met Bibiano. Since that loss, I have kept my focus on improving my skills and working to erase my weaknesses. Right now, I can confidently say how much I have improved. One of the biggest improvements is my ground game. I know he is a BJJ black belt, I have had the privilege of experiencing his grappling first-hand before. But now, I am better equipped to handle anything he throws at me. I am looking to end matters early, and I vow to become the undisputed ONE Bantamweight World Champion.”
The Underground King Makes His Presence Felt
This is the first time Eddie has officially come forward and interacted with the media on his signing with ONE Championship. He said that signing with Asia’s largest MMA promotion organization is a decision well made. After conquering belts in two of the largest MMA promotions, it excites the idea of fighting in Asia and winning the third world title under such a big banner. Eddie is known for his fast-paced fighting style and he trains for such violent fights.
When asked what made him sign up with ONE Championship, Eddie stated “ONE is the only major organization that I haven’t got to touch that world title belt, and I think for myself, my family, my fans, and everyone, this would mean I have a chance at making history — possibly history that could never be made again. It would take a fighter 20 years in the fight game to be able to fight for these organizations, and it’s almost like a lottery ticket to be able to win one world title. So, to go to every major organization, fight the best guys in that organization, and beat them one-by-one and win [a third] world title means the world to me”.
Right now, it’s not clear when and against whom Eddie will fight. But a third fight against Shinya Aoki for the lightweight belt would make sense and bring in huge views to the event. Shinya Aoki is set to fight for the Lightweight World Title challenge, which is scheduled for the promotion’s inaugural event in Tokyo, Japan in March 2019.
Massive Line Up for the Sporting Spectacle
Angela Lee vs. Xiong Jing Nan
Bibiano vs. Kevin Belingon
Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Sorgraw Petchyindee Academy
Garry Tonon vs. Sung Jong Lee
Tiffany Teo vs. Michelle Nicolini
Adrian Pang vs. Kota Shimoishi
Xie Bin vs. Hisyam Samsudin
Abro Fernandes vs. Chan Rothana