ONE on Prime 2: Xiong Jing Nan Retains In Exhilarating Third Fight with Angela Lee

Angela Lee and Xiong Jing Nan at ONE on Prime Video 2
Angela Lee and Xiong Jing Nan at ONE on Prime Video 2 Credit: ONE Championship

In the main event of the second ONE Championship card of their deal with Amazon Prime Video, women’s atomweight champion Angela Lee faced off against her rival, women’s strawweight champion Xiong Jing Nan, in a highly anticipated trilogy bout for the strawweight title.

Xiong had won their first match-up by TKO at strawweight while Angela won the immediate rubber match at atomweight by rear-naked choke. So thus far, whichever woman was defending their belt had always won the fight and each has been the only fighter to hold their respective belts.

At ONE on Prime Video 2, Angela Lee came in looking to use her grappling skills, which had seen her become the most successful female fighter in the promotion’s history, to win a second belt while Xiong Jing Nan would look to use her boxing background to her advantage in defending her title.

A minute into the fight a right hook from Xiong dropped Angela Lee badly. The challenger tried to get a takedown from that position but ate a few grounded knees for her trouble before the champion got back to striking where she hurt Lee badly. Another strike dropped Lee on her butt with three minutes left in the round after a flurry had stunned her. This time, Lee was hurt much worse and was almost out. She tried to get a takedown but Xiong defended it and did more damage which almost resulted in Herb Dean stopping the fight. Eventually, Angela came up on a single leg and got into the clinch in order to recover. Back on the feet Lee continued to march forward and eat shots. She finally got to the clinch again and the round ended there. A huge lead had been established by the defending champion but it was a win just for Angela to make it out of the round. It has to be remembered that ONE Championship MMA fights are scored as a whole rather than round-by-round.

Angela Lee had clearly recovered in round two because she came out and immediately landed a good right hand of her own. Still, she had trouble with her defense as she never moved her head and was stunned once, but managed to fall forward into a takedown attempt in the process. From there, Lee managed to drag Xiong forward and get on top. She turned that top position into an anaconda choke attempt as Xiong stood back up and landed innumerable knees to the head of Xiong before dropping down again to lock up the choke tighter. Xiong escaped but Lee gained top position.

Xiong once again escaped, kicking Lee off of her and getting back to striking range. By this point, Lee already seemed to be the fresher fighter as she was much more active and Xiong’s breathing appeared heavy. A clinch exchange ensued where Lee landed some occasional short strikes. Upon breaking Xiong seemed to have gotten a second wind and landed a flurry of strikes before the bell. Angela had made up some ground from the first round but not enough, yet.

Lee opened the third round with a takedown attempt which failed and was countered by heavy strikes from Xiong that forced Angela to retreat. The rest of the round was fought at a slower pace than the first two, as both settled down a bit in a mainly striking-based round in which neither athlete gained a big advantage. Angela landed some good strikes at the very end of the round but when the bell rang she was surely still down on the scorecards from the damage she took in round one.

The championship rounds began with major aggressiveness from Angela as she charged forward with a body kick that buckled Jing Nan temporarily. Closing the distance into the clinch to do further damage served her well in the follow-up, as Xiong was unable to counter with her boxing proficiency. Lee attempted her first takedown of the frame with two minutes left in the round but she was hit with a hard left hook and the takedown stuffed. She seemed content to engage the boxing specialist in her area of expertise, albeit with kicks mixed in from the challenger. The round ended with Xiong defending a takedown up against the cage.

The drama was at an all-time high entering round five, with either fighter able to steal the decision with a strong round, or even get a finish as had happened in their first two meetings. A minute in, Lee used strikes to close the distance and get a body lock against Jing Nan. She used that to drag her foe to the ground and get top control, then work her way to the back.

It was the same thing that happened in their first fight in the final round but this time, Xiong was able to shake her off, turn into her, and push Angela away. In the last half a round of almost an hour and a half of fight time between the two, Lee returned to putting on forward pressure as Xiong continued to use lateral movement to stay off the cage. Angela did more damage at the end as she was more actively offensive but she never put the fight solidly in her pocket or shot another takedown like she had earlier in the round. In general in this fight she was much more content to strike, surprisingly, as opposed to the first two fights where she focused primarily on the takedown. A flurry in the pocket between the fighters closed out a thrilling trilogy.

The scorecards were a question mark after twenty-five minutes of war with the fight scored as a whole. Xiong had the biggest moments of the fight in round one but Lee was more successful in the rest, especially in round two with her front choke attempt. When the decision was read out by Dom Lau, it was a unanimous decision win for Xiong Jing Nan and Chatri Sityodtong put the golden belt on her shoulders. The announcers had speculated about a fourth installment with Xiong moving down to atomweight to challenge Lee for her belt on her turf, so this will perhaps not be the last time the pair face each other.

Official Result: Xiong Jing Nan (c) def. Angela Lee by unanimous decision – to retain the ONE women’s strawweight world championship