ONE Championship’s Singapore events always seem to produce something special.
It could be because Singapore is where the promotion started on its journey to becoming one of the world’s largest martial arts organizations back in 2011, or perhaps it’s the always enthusiastic Singaporean crowd that spur the athletes on to reach new heights.
Regardless of the reason, when ONE fans see an event planned for “The Lion City” you can be confident that they will be keeping the date free in their social calendar.
Taking place on Friday, 9 November inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium, the upcoming ONE: HEART OF THE LION event looks set to continue in the tradition of previous successful Singapore cards.
The 13-bout card contains some of the most anticipated matchups of the year as well providing a showcase for some of ONE’s most exciting athletes.
At the top of the bill, are two champion vs. champion bouts.
The main event sees Angela “Unstoppable” Lee (9-0) taking on ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan (13-1) in her bid to become the first woman in mixed martial arts history from any major organization to be a two-division champion.
It is a lofty goal for the 22-year-old Singaporean. “The Panda” Xiong has been nothing short of a revelation since arriving at ONE at the tail end of 2017. The 30-year-old Chinese athlete packs dynamite in her punches and will be a real test for the hometown hero.
On any other card the co-main event, a Bantamweight World Championship Unification bout between ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano” The Flash” Fernandes (22-3) and ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion Kevin” The Silencer” Belingon (19-5) would soak up all the attention but such is the stacked nature of ONE: HEART OF THE LION that the highly-anticipated rematch will be sharing the spotlight with Lee – Xiong and the rest of the stellar lineup.
This matchup has all the makings of a classic. Belingon has been nothing short of sensational ever since he returned to action following his 2016 title challenge loss to Fernandes.
After the defeat, Belingon and his team went back to the drawing board, learned the lessons from the loss and made the necessary adjustments to Belingon’s game.
The 30-year-old can now lay claim to being one of the divisions most well-rounded athletes. Superlative striking plus an almost impenetrable takedown defense along with solid wrestling have meant “The Silencer” comes into this clash on the back of a six-bout winning streak.
However opposite him will stand one of ONE’s most dominant champions in the company’s history, and an athlete who has not lost a match since 2010. Fans can be confident that whatever takes place it will be a bout that they will be telling their coworkers about at the water cooler on Monday.
These two pairings alone are worth the price of admission, but even a cursory glance over the rest of the matchups on the card reveals a number of must-see clashes.
One name that will immediately get the blood racing of ONE Super Series fans is Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan. Undefeated since 2015, the Armenian-Italian kickboxer is regarded as one of the best pound for pound kickboxers in the world.
“The Doctor” will take on Lumpinee Stadium Muay Thai World Champion Sorgraw Petchyindee Academy in a catchweight kickboxing bout.
If you’re a ONE fan who enjoys the grappling side of mixed martial arts over the stand-up side, then you will need to pay attention to the return of American Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon (2-0) when he takes on South Korea’s Sung Jong Lee (2-2) in a three-round featherweight clash.
Before signing with ONE and beginning his mixed martial arts journey, Tonon was busy tearing it up on the world Brazilian jiu-jitsu stage.
A five-time Eddie Bravo Invitational Champion, the 27-year-old American was regarded as one of the most talented Brazilian jiu-jitsu athletes competing on the competitive circuit before he made the move to ONE.
There are few athletes as good as Tonon is on the ground, and it will be interesting to observe how Lee handles the challenge before him.
With a card this deep, each bout could justify getting an individual write-up of its own. The ONE Championship matchmaking team have set the bar high with the line-up that will be on show.
Fans will need to ensure they are well rested and stocked up with snacks and drinks come Friday, 9 November because as soon as the first walk-out music hits, there will be no getting up or looking away until the very end of the night when either Lee or Xiong have their hand raised in victory.
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This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/29/2018.