ONE Championship’s atomweight world grand prix is official. And to kick it off, ONE: Empower will be an all-women’s card.
Announced on Thursday via ESPN, ONE: Empower goes down on May 28, and currently hosts five fights featuring some of the promotion’s best female competitors. Additionally, one more “major” bout will be added as well as tournament alternate bouts.
Set to headline the event will be the return of China’s “Panda,” Xiong JingNan (15-2). The reigning champion looks to make a successful fifth defense of her title as she’ll be challenged by 39-year old BJJ ace, Michelle Nicolini (6-2).
Leading up to that will be the quarterfinal matchups of the highly anticipated world grand prix. Most notably in the mix is the promotional newcomer and former 108-pound RIZIN super atomweight champion, Seo Hee Ham (23-8).
Ham’s move to ONE will mean she’ll be back at 115-pounds for the first time since her four-fight UFC stint from 2014 to 2016. Since then, the South Korean has looked better than ever rattling off a six-fight winning streak with victories over some of the very best in the world south of 115 – four of which she finished by knockout or TKO.
Welcoming Ham to the cage will be unbeaten 8-0 Denice Zamboanga who represents the Phillippines.
Squaring off with the winner of that fight will be the winner of Stamp Fairtex (5-1) and Alyona Rassohyna (12-4). This is a rematch of the duo’s first clash at ONE: Unbreakable 3 in early February. Rassohyna scored the big upset with a last-second hail mary guillotine submission.
On the other side of the bracket, one of China’s brightest young superstars in the making is back as Meng Bo (17-5) meets red-hot Indian prospect, Ritu Phogat (4-0). The winner of their bout faces the winner of Itsuki Hirata (4-0) vs. Alyse Anderson (5-1).
- Strawweight – 125lbs: (C)Xiong JingNan vs. Michelle Nicolini
- Atomweight – 115lbs: Denice Zamboanga vs. Seo Hee Ham
- Atomweight: Alyona Rassokhina vs. Stamp Fairtex
- Atomweight: Meng Bo vs. Ritu Phogat
- Atomweight: Itsuki Hirata vs. Alyse Anderson