Xiong starts fast, holds off Lee to win trilogy bout

MMA news

Jingnan Xiong nearly finished Angela Lee several times in a dominant first round and then did enough the rest of the way to earn a unanimous-decision victory Saturday in the main event of a ONE Championship card in Singapore.

With the victory, Xiong retained her ONE women’s 125-pound title and went to 2-1 against Lee in their trilogy. Xiong beat Lee via fifth-round TKO in March 2019 in a 125-pound title fight and Lee won the second fight via fifth-round submission at 115 pounds six months later. Lee remains ONE’s women’s 115-pound champ. This was Xiong’s seventh successful title defense.

Xiong and Lee are two of ONE’s best and most popular women’s fighters, and this was a key headliner on the promotion’s second card on Amazon Prime Video in North America.

The fight itself was one of the best women’s MMA battles of the year, a back-and-forth struggle in which both women had their moments and Lee battled back from a significant Xiong beating in the first round.

“Thank you for putting on this fantastic, spectacular match,” Xiong said in her postfight interview, translated from Mandarin. “I really enjoyed fighting this evolved, better version of you.”

Lee said afterward that she thought she won the fight. ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong also told media that he did not agree with the judges’ decision.

“Xiong came out really strong in the first round,” Lee said. “But I really feel like I was the one who was more consistently pushing forward, landing heavy strikes. I don’t understand the decision. I don’t understand how you can score points on the cards with your defense and running backwards.”

Xiong (18-2) has won four in a row since losing to Lee and 13 of her last 14 overall. The Chinese-born fighter has only one other loss on her record, to Bellator veteran Colleen Schneider in 2015. Xiong, 34, has held the ONE 125-pound title since 2018.

Lee (11-3) had a two-fight winning streak snapped Saturday. A Canadian-born Hawaii resident of Singaporean and Korean descent, she has five successful atomweight title defenses, most recently a second-round submission win over Stamp Fairtex in March. Lee, 26, won the ONE 115-pound title in 2016 when she was just 19 years old.

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