Knockdown Daily 9/4/21: Xiong Jing Nan Defends ONE Belt, ONE Grand Prix Begins At 'Empower'

Results from ONE Championship's "Empower" card lead the MMA headlines for Saturday

Welcome to the Saturday edition of the Knockdown Daily. This issue will provide a recap of all the latest MMA news. This includes results from yesterday’s ONE Championship card and a preview of tonight’s UFC event.

News

Xiong Jing Nan Defends ONE Belt For Sixth Time

Xiong Jing Nan continued her incredibly dominant reign as the ONE Strawweight Champion (125 lbs), defeating Michelle Nicolini via unanimous decision after five rounds of action.

The fight headlined ONE Championship’s “Empower” card, which took place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore on Friday.

The majority of Xiong’s success came on the feet with striking, although she also had good moments on the ground.

Xiong’s striking earned her a knockdown early on, dropping Nicolini with a right cross in the opening round.

Nicolini threatened a heel hook on the ground briefly in the second round, but Xiong eventually escaped and got back to the feet.

Xiong spent most of the third round with top control on the ground. Back to striking, Xiong out-landed Nicolini in the fourth and fifth rounds.

Xiong has been the promotion’s 125-pound champ for years, having defended the belt now five times since gaining it in 2018. Her previous appearance was last year, where she defeated Tiffany Teo in a rematch.

Nicolini was put in the title position after winning four of her previous five bouts in ONE. She defeated 115-pound champ Angela Lee up at 125-pounds in her last showing, which dates back to 2019.

Seo Hee Ham, Stamp Fairtex, Ritu Phogat and Itsuki Hirata Advance In ONE Grand Prix

The first round of ONE Championship’s 115-pound tournament took place at “Empower” on Friday, sending four women to the semi-finals.

Former RIZIN Atomweight Champion Seo Hee Ham advanced in the co-main event of the card, handing Denice Zamboanga her first pro loss after a three-round battle.

Stamp Fairtex avenged a loss she took against Alyona Rassohyna with a scorecard victory on Friday. Rassohyna was able to defeat Stamp earlier in the year, submitting her late in the third round of a bout.

Ritu Phogat showed her wrestling skills on Friday to defeat Meng Bo and secure a spot in the semi-finals.

Undefeated prospect Itsuki Hirata continued her run in ONE, scoring a decision win over former Invicta FC fighter Alyse Anderson.

Julie Mezabarba secured her spot as an alternate in the tournament during the prelims of the show, defeating veteran Mei Yamaguchi.

A full report on ONE Championship’s “Empower” card can be read here.

Here are the quick results:

Lead Card (7:30AM EDT / 7:30PM SGT) (Youtube / Bleacher Report App)
Bout 1: Julie Mezabarba def. Mei Yamaguchi via Decision, Unanimous (ONE Atomweight Grand Prix Alternate Bout) (115 lbs)
Bout 2: Jackie Buntan def. Daniela Lopez via Decision, Unanimous (Muay Thai Bout)
Main Card (8:30AM EDT / 8:30PM SGT) (Youtube / Bleacher Report App)
Bout 3: Anissa Meksen def. Cristina Morales via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 2:27) (Kickboxing Bout)
Bout 4: Itsuki Hirata def. Alyse Anderson via Decision, Unanimous (ONE Atomweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final) (115 lbs)
Bout 5: Ritu Phogat def. Meng Bo via Decision, Unanimous (ONE Atomweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final) (115 lbs)
Bout 6: Stamp Fairtex def. Alyona Rassohyna via Decision, Split (ONE Atomweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final) (115 lbs)
Bout 7: Seo Hee Ham def. Denice Zamboanga via Decision, Unanimous (ONE Atomweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final) (115 lbs)
Bout 8: Xiong Jing Nan def. Michelle Nicolini via Decision, Unanimous (ONE MMA Strawweight Championship) (125 lbs)

GLORY Kickboxer Alex Pereira Expected To Sign With UFC, Compete At November PPV

GLORY Kickboxing Champion Alex Pereira is expected to make a full crossover to MMA later this year, as plans are in place for him to sign a UFC contract and face Modestas Bukauskas at the promotion’s November 6th pay-per-view event.

The fight has been verbally agreed upon by both parties, per a report from Alfredo Zullino of BJPenn.com. Should the fight be finalized, it would join UFC 268, a card that is expected to take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, USA.

Pereira has briefly dabbled in MMA but is most known for being a decorated kickboxer. Many recognize him as the only person who knocked out UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya in kickboxing, defeating him in 2017.

Pereira is currently GLORY Kickboxing’s middleweight and light heavyweight champion. He is expected to compete at their event this weekend, putting his light heavyweight belt on the line against Artem Vakhitov.

Pereira’s last MMA appearance was in November of last year, where he scored a brutal first-round knockout against Thomas Powell within a round.

Michailidis just recently scored his first UFC victory, fighting to a unanimous decision win against KB Bhullar in May.

Oscar De La Hoya Contracts COVID-19, Could Possibly Be Replaced By Evander Holyfield In Boxing Bout Against Vitor Belfort

Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Vitor Belfort is now expected to face Evander Holyfield instead of Oscar De La Hoya at a September 11th boxing event, per TMZ.

De La Hoya withdrew from his return bout after being hospitalized with COVID-19. The former boxing champion released a statement about the change, noting that he still aims to compete in boxing soon.

“I am currently in the hospital getting treatment and am confident I will be back in the ring before the year is up,” said De La Hoya during an Instagram post Friday.

Boxing promoter Triller might run into issues booking Belfort against Holyfield, and they have a tight deadline of just eight days to figure things out. The fight, which was first scheduled to take place in California, USA, might move to Florida due to the state’s boxing commission refusing to sanction the fight.

California’s boxing commission doesn’t plan on approving a fight between Belfort and Holyfield under either pro or exhibition rulesets, according to Jake Donovan of BoxingScene.

Holyfield, 58, has been retired from pro boxing since 2011.

A boxing bout between former UFC champions Anderson Silva and Tito Ortiz is expected to take place at the same event.

Preview

UFC on ESPN+ 49: Brunson vs. Till

UFC will be serving up an international lineup of fighters on Saturday when presenting a “Fight Night” card from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. When looking at the names on the show, it makes sense that the promotion reportedly looked at first holding it in London, England instead of the U.S.

In the main event, Darren Till will look to return to the win column when facing Derek Brunson. The lineup also includes a strong matchup between rising heavyweights in the co-main event, and the long-awaited UFC debut of Paddy Pimblett as the main card opener.

The show lost a bout on Friday, as Jonathan Martinez was pulled from his fight against Marcelo Rojo. Martinez missed weight for his bout by two pounds and was still allowed to fight, but he withdrew due to “physical complications” involved with the weight cut, per Carlos Contreras Legaspi of ESPN Deportes.

A full preview of the card can be read here.

Here’s the lineup.

Preliminary Card (1:30PM EDT / 10:30AM PDT) (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass Canada)
Bout 1: Dalcha Lungiambula (11-2) vs. Marc-Andre Barriault (12-4) (Middleweight)
Bout 2: Charles Jourdain (11-3-1) vs. Julian Erosa (25-9) (Catchweight 150 lbs)
Bout 3: Jack Shore (14-0) vs. Liudvik Sholinian (9-1-1) (Bantamweight)
Bout 4: Kim Ji-yeon (9-3-2) vs. Molly McCann (10-4) (Flyweight)
Main Card (4:00PM EDT / 1:00PM PDT) (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass)
Bout 5: Luigi Vendramini (9-2) vs. Paddy Pimblett (16-3) (Lightweight)
Bout 6: Khalil Rountree (8-5) vs. Modestas Bukauskas (11-4) (Light Heavyweight)
Bout 7: David Zawada (17-6) vs. Alex Morono (19-7) (Welterweight)
Bout 8: Tom Aspinall (10-2) vs. Serghei Spivac (13-2) (Heavyweight)
Bout 9: Derek Brunson (22-7) vs. Darren Till (18-3-1) (Middleweight)

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