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Xiong Jing Nan vs. Michelle Nicolini – ONE: Empower Preview

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ONE Championship will close out the month of May with an all-women card entitled ONE: Empower on Friday, May 28.

Xiong Jing Nan vs. Michelle Nicolini Preview

A central piece of the event will be the quarterfinals of the ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix. Eight women from around the world will compete in the single-elimination tournament. However, there will be another monster clash that fans will want to keep their eyes on as ONE Strawweight World Champion Xiong Jing Nan takes on Michelle Nicolini in the main event.

Xiong Jing Nan is the only Strawweight World Champion that ONE has ever known.

“The Panda” grabbed the title by TKO in 2018 in the inaugural bout for the belt against Tiffany Teo. She then followed it up with back-to-back victories over Laura Balin and Samara Santos. Her third title defense was her most impressive and most memorable.

“Unstoppable” Angela Lee moved up in weight to chase being a two-division champion, and for long stretches of the action, it looked as if she would be able to do it. However, the power of Xiong came into play as the action drew on and heavy body blows capped off a brilliant fifth-round TKO performance.

When Xiong returned to defend the title again, she met Teo for a second time and won by decision.

Nicolini, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and ADCC World Champion, started her ONE career off with three straight submission wins and finished each of them inside the first round. She looked the part of the next challenger, but a brief setback to Teo pushed the title hopes down the line.

The Brazilian returned against Lee, who was trying to grab another rematch with Xiong, and picked up the victory after three grueling rounds. The win pushed her back to the forefront of the division.

It is very easy to see this matchup as another clash of styles between a striker and a grappler. Nicolini is a highly decorated grappling stylist and has finished all but one of her opponents in mixed martial arts via submission.

Xiong, on the other hand, has showcased her aggression and power on more than one occasion. Her punches land hard, and her kicks bury into her opponent’s bodies, leaving them gasping for air.

With both women knowing what the other wants to do, it is incumbent upon them to enter ONE: Empower with a stellar game plan to shut their opponent down. The battle of wills to see who will be able to do that is what fans need to tune in to witness.

This is a fantastic main event to a huge card for women’s martial arts. ONE has given them a platform all to themselves to show the world exactly what they can do inside the Circle, and they will deliver a memorable night of action without a doubt.

ONE: Empower airs at 8:30 a.m. EST/5:30 a.m. PST on the B/R Live app on Friday, May 28.

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Jeremy Brand is an experienced MMA writer and columnist. He is the founder of, and has represented the company with media credentials at many mixed martial arts fights. Jeremy is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, training in BC, Canada.

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