On January 20, 2018, Xiong Jing Nan and Tiffany Teo went toe-to-toe for the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight World Championship at ONE: Kings Of Courage.
On that day, Xiong would do enough to earn a fourth-round stoppage and claim the championship. A title she has yet to relinquish in her career as she has successfully defended it three times inside the ONE Circle.
However, on Friday, October 30, Teo will try to exact her revenge and assume the throne in her hometown of Singapore at ONE: Inside The Matrix.
After the defeat to Xiong, Teo returned in November 2018 against Michelle Nicolini. In a three-round bout, “No Chill” got the nod from the judges. The Singaporean would not see the canvas again for over a year, but when she returned at ONE: King Of The Jungle against Ayaka Miura, she earned her first stoppage victory since 2017.
During her reign, “The Panda” has been dominant in the strawweight division.
In her first two title defenses, Xiong earned a decision over Laura Balin before earning a third-round knockout over Samara Santos Cunha. It was a perfect 3-0 2018 for the Chinese athlete who grabbed a world title and two defenses. And set the stage for her biggest bout yet.
“Unstoppable” Angela Lee had ascended to superstardom and was looking to make history as a two-division World Champion by taking Xiong’s belt. At ONE: A New Era, she looked like she was on her way until the tide shifted in the championship rounds, and Xiong’s power advantage took its toll.
In the fifth and final round, bodywork and hard punches allowed “The Panda” to not only defend her crown but announce herself as the best strawweight to a captive global audience.
Both women have walked their own paths, and it has brought them back around to one another. And their bout will be a part of ONE’s biggest event of 2020. ONE: Inside The Matrix is stacked with four World Championship matches, but this will be the only rematch of the lot.
The prior bout has given both women insight into what they needed to improve upon and what to expect in a rematch.
For Teo, winning the gold in “The Lion City” would be a dream come true, but her Evolve MMA opponent will want to crush those dreams and continue to establish herself as the dominant force in the division by keeping her title. As the lone strawweight titleholder, Xiong continues to write herself in the history books while turning over fresh pages.
The title tilt may come down to making the necessary adjustments in the crucial rounds and gaining the upper hand. Everything hands in the balance in Singapore.
ONE: Inside The Matrix airs live and free on the B/R Live app at 8:30 a.m. EST/5:30 a.m. PST on Friday, October 30.