Indian Tigress Ritu Phogat clobbers Chinese MMA star Meng Bo to enter ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix Semifinals
Singapore: ONE Championship™ (ONE) returned with the historic all-female event, ONE: EMPOWER, which aired live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium today. The show featured the highly anticipated ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix quarterfinal matchups, the promotional debut of a pound-for-pound kickboxing icon, and a showdown for the ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title.
[Official ONE: EMPOWER Photo Gallery]
In a highly anticipated event, Indian wrestling star Ritu Phogat survived a first-round onslaught from #2-ranked atomweight Meng Bo, storming back to beat the Chinese athlete to earn a unanimous decision and advance to the Grand Prix semifinals. Meng rocked Phogat with a smashing right hand in the opening frame and then threatened with an armbar, but “The Indian Tigress” showed incredible heart to reach the bell and came alive in the final two rounds. Utilizing her superior wrestling skills, Phogat blasted Meng with knees and elbows from top position to dominate the rest of the way.
A victorious Ritu Phogat said, “It feels great to win against an opponent as strong and experienced as Meng Bo. I had promised my friends and family back home that I will commit myself to nothing less than victory in the ONE: EMPOWER series and I am glad to have lived up to it. At no point did I feel distressed and was confident despite Meng’s clout in the Circle.
The only shortcut to success is hard work and I have been toiling relentlessly in Singapore, away from family, friends, and festivities. I am training harder than ever before and will continue to represent India’s prowess in the MMA arena.
Today’s win belongs to every Indian woman who inspires me to look fear in the eyes, and rise and heal each time I break and fall. May we continue to empower one another to reach uncharted heights and be change-makers in our own little way.”
In the main event, reigning ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion Xiong Jing Nan retained her World Title with a one-sided performance against 13-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion and #2-ranked strawweight contender Michelle Nicolini.
Xiong peppered Nicolini with beautiful boxing combinations to open the contest, staggering the Brazilian with a plethora of right hands on multiple occasions. The Chinese superstar continued her onslaught in the championship rounds, as Nicolini simply had no answer for Xiong’s impeccable striking as she earned her fifth successful ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title defense.
In the co-main event, #5-ranked atomweight Seo Hee Ham figured in an absolute war with #1-ranked Denice Zamboanga to win by split decision, punching her ticket to the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix semifinals. In the third round, Zamboanga exploded with a powerful takedown, but Ham battled right back on the feet to close out the fight.
In an exciting rematch, #4-ranked atomweight Stamp Fairtex won a split decision in a close back-and-forth battle with #3-ranked Alyona Rassohyna.
Itsuki Hirata advanced to the Grand Prix semifinals with a comprehensive victory over a fearless Alyse Anderson. Behind a strong judo base, Hirata consistently took Anderson to the mat with ease, pounding on the American with elbows, fists, and knees from top position.
Pound-for-pound kickboxing superstar Anissa Meksen made a spectacular ONE Super Series debut, annihilating Cristina Morales to win by second-round knockout.
In an action-packed ONE: EMPOWER lead card, Jackie Buntan delivered a full-on assault, hurting Daniela Lopez in every round to secure a clear-cut unanimous decision victory. Meanwhile, Julie Mezabarba put together an impressive performance in her ONE Championship debut, dominating veteran Mei Yamaguchi to cruise to a unanimous decision in their ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix alternate bout.
Official Results for ONE: EMPOWER
Mixed Martial Arts – Strawweight: Xiong Jing Nan def. Michelle Nicolini via Unanimous Decision
Mixed Martial Arts – Atomweight: Seo Hee Ham def. Denice Zamboanga via Split Decision
Mixed Martial Arts – Atomweight: Stamp Fairtex def. Alyona Rassohyna via Split Decision
Mixed Martial Arts – Atomweight: Ritu Phogat def. Meng Bo via Unanimous Decision
Mixed Martial Arts – Atomweight: Itsuki Hirata def. Alyse Anderson via Unanimous Decision
Kickboxing – Atomweight: Anissa Meksen def. Cristina Morales via TKO at 2:27 of Round 2
Muay Thai – Strawweight: Jackie Buntan def. Daniela Lopez via Unanimous Decision
Mixed Martial Arts – Atomweight: Julie Mezabarba def. Mei Yamaguchi via Unanimous Decision
ONE Championship is now asking martial arts fans which matchups they want to see in the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix semifinals! Visit www.onefc.com/vote to help decide which atomweight fighters will face each other in the next round of this historic tournament.
Online voting will close on 10 September, and the promotion will announce the confirmed semifinal matchups at ONE: REVOLUTION on 24 September.