The co-main event of ONE Championship’s A New Era featured a champ vs. champ battle between Xiong Jin Nan and Angela Lee. Lee, the promotion’s atomweight champ, had moved up to strawweight to claim a second belt, but it was the Chinese champion with her hand raised.
Angela Lee challenged Xiong Jing Nan for ONE Championship’s strawweight title on Sunday in Toyko, Japan. In a fight that served as the co-main event of the stacked A New Era card, atomweight queen Lee came out early and took the fight to the Chinese champ. After a brief exchange on the feet, Lee briefly got the fight to the ground, looking for a front choke. In the clinch as the champ worked her way back up, Lee was able to fire off a knee or two.
Lee was pushing the pace, closing the distance with strikes while the strawweight champ countered. In the next clinch, Xiong, a.k.a. ‘The Punching Panda,’ was able to muscle her way free and fire a knee off the break. In a subsequent exchange, her right hand found a home on Lee, and through the first five minutes, the co-main event was a spirited affair with both fighters landing.
Round two saw Angela Lee once again initiating a clinch along the fence, looking for a trip. Xiong Jing Nan fired a few knees, then escaped, and landed a leg kick. Lee continued to push forward as the strawweight champ stayed on her horse, circling out of harm’s way. As the round progressed, and notably in the final minute, Xiong Jing Nan seemed to find her range. However, in the clinch, Lee found a home for elbows and knees, and through two rounds, it was a close bout.
Lee opened round three with a hip toss, getting the fight to the ground. Xiong Jing Nan utilized a high guard, then tried for an arm-bar, which allowed her to escape. However they went down again, this time with Lee seeking out the arm bar. She couldn’t find it, and instead they tied up in a clinch going back to the feet. The Chinese champ landed a push kick to the mid-section, forcing Lee back. A spinning back kick later connected as well. She began setting up her combos with kicks, and soon had Lee on her heels after eating several shots. Suddenly Xiong Jing Nan had Lee backed up against the fence, covering up, eating another combination. Lee escaped, reversed and fired back, but Jing Nan was beginning to take control, and at the end of the round she was lighting the champ up again, tagging her with several clean punches.
Lee ate a right to start round four, then wisely took the fight to the ground. With Jing Nan up against the fence, Lee moved to half guard. The strawweight champ tied Lee up, giving the challenger little space to work. Lee found herself back in a closed guard, but managed to move to side control. Lee looked to isolate an arm, and while Jing Nan nearly slipped out the back, Lee caught her with a triangle, which led to an arm-bar attempt. In an awkward position right on the cage, Lee managed to extend the arm, wrenching it back. Xiong Jing Nan refused to tap, however, then stepped over her oppnoent, out of harm’s way. But Lee re-established the submission on the other side, going belly down! The champ refused to tap, and escaped the round, just barely.
The fifth and final round opened with champ and challenger trading. Again, Xiong Jin Nan had the advantage on the feet, getting the better of Lee in the striking department. She had Lee up against the fence, landing several times and punctuating the assault with a kick. Lee escaped out of harm’s way, but she looked exhausted. Jing Nan landed more and more as Lee gasped for air. A body shot hurt her, a straight right, and she backed up against the fence as Jing Nan continued the assault, tagging her again and again. Lee looked ready to crumple, and soon enough, the ref waved it off! The Unstoppage Angela Lee had been stopped by Xiong Jing Nan!
Xiong Jing Nan def. Angela Lee by TKO, Round 5, 1:37