Complete guide to ONE: Kings of Courage main event

Friday, January 19, 2018

ONE Championship will immediately make history in 2018.

This coming Saturday, 20 January, ONE Championship will stage its inaugural card of the new year, ONE: KINGS OF COURAGE, live at the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia.

Also, the first-ever ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion will be crowned, as Tiffany “No Chill” Teo clashes with “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan in what will undoubtedly be a modern classic. Here’s everything you need to know about the sensational strawweight showdown.

Two Journeys, ONE Destination

Teo never anticipated she would embark on a martial arts journey. The self-professed “nerd” was a choir girl who was dedicated to her studies. But while studying for her A-Level exams, she and a friend briefly took some taekwondo classes. Then, after watching reality television show “The Contender: Asia,” she embarked on a full-fledged martial arts journey.

Living up to her moniker “No Chill,” the Singaporean relentlessly pursued Muay Thai, followed by boxing, and then turned her attention to Brazilian jiu-jitsu upon capturing a Singapore national boxing championship. Eventually, she set her sights towards the cage, and a world title.

As for Xiong, she was heavily influenced by her athletic father ever since she was a little girl. Naturally, “The Panda” followed in his footsteps. She was selected to attend a sports school, and originally chose to compete in weightlifting, but one day, she saw the boxing team in action, and was mesmerized by their talent.

Xiong joined the Shandong women’s boxing team, represented China in international competition, and then sought the challenge of the cage. She made the move to Beijing, studied multiple disciplines including BJJ, and then captured the China Open BJJ Championship.

A Goal Of Gold

After earning a first-round knockout victory in her professional cage debut back in February 2016, Teo secured two more quick wins, and then promptly made her debut on the global stage. She made her maiden ONE appearance later that November, a second-round submission of Egypt’s Walaa Abbas, and continued her reign of dominance in 2017.

The Singaporean out-dueled Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol and Rebecca Heintzman-Rozewski in the first half of the year, both via unanimous decision, before getting a signature win over Puja Tomar in November 2017. Teo handily controlled Tomar, eventually submitting her via armbar at 4:07 of the first round.

ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong guaranteed her an opportunity at the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title with the victory, which she is now competing for opposite the Chinese martial arts prodigy known as “The Panda.”

Xiong made a successful professional debut in August 2014, and for the next year she defeated each and every opponent by spectacular finish — be it armbar, TKO, or a straight-up knockout. Following a minor setback, a three-round decision loss in June 2015, she corrected her mistakes, and continued to decimate the opposition.

The highly-regarded Chinese athlete finally joined ONE in late 2017. She made her first promotional appearance last December and lived up to the hype, as she thoroughly defeated Team Lakay’s April Osenio via TKO in the first round. Xiong’s astonishing martial arts background and sensational drive makes her the perfect adversary for Teo in this inaugural world title clash.

The Scouting Report

After spending the past year training in different gyms throughout Asia, Teo put her best foot forward and designed a solid camp in anticipation of her clash with “The Panda.”

The 28-year-old started camp in December at Team Highlight Reel in Singapore under the careful eye of former ONE warrior Major Overall, and then spent the second half of her program at Tiger Muay Thai & MMA in Phuket, Thailand. At Tiger, she has plenty of female sparring partners who mimic Xiong’s forward-pressure style, which has been helpful for her.

Most importantly, the well-rounded Teo sees many ways this match could play out.

“She (Xiong) is pretty wild with her punches, so the opening for a knockout is there, and an opening for a takedown is there if she is committing to her punches,” the Singporean explains.

“At the same time, she is tough. She might not get knocked down or knocked out, and she might go the full five rounds, so there are a lot of possibilities and outcomes to this match.”

Just five minutes down the street from Teo, the 30-year-old Xiong is preparing at Phuket Top Team. Known for her fierce and relentless pace, the explosive Chinese athlete seeks the finish from the opening bell. She is famous for her striking, but also revealed an overlooked grappling and submission game in her bout with Osenio in December.

Still, Xiong remains tight-lipped about her strategy. “I am looking forward to the match. I do not know what is going to happen, or how the match is going to end, but it is going to be exciting.”

Expert Analyses

Rich Franklin, Martial Arts Legend And Former Middleweight World Champion

As I travel recruiting for my “ONE Warrior Series,” I am receiving more female applicants than I would have thought. The work and impact of athletes like Tiffany Teo or Xiong Jing Nan will have an impact for decades to come.

For Teo to win, she needs to use a well-rounded skill set, and not stand in the pocket in front of her opponent. She always has a paved and methodical game plan. On the other hand, Xiong will need to press the pace, and take Teo out of her comfort zone.

Angela Lee, ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion

I am so excited for ONE Championship to crown a second female world champion! This is pivotal in the growth of women’s martial arts in Asia. Now, female martial artists around the globe can dream, aspire and aim to do what they love, be a world champion, and financially support their family and loved ones.

If Teo wins, I think it will most likely be via submission. I think Xiong’s greatest chance of winning will be via TKO or KO. That is where I feel their strengths lie.

Mitch Chilson, Broadcast Commentator And Former ONE Athlete

Adding a second world title into the picture for women’s martial arts is huge. Women’s martial arts has started to pique everyone’s interest, and now to crown another champion in ONE will definitely draw a bigger crowd.

Teo will need to slow Xiong down. If she can make Xiong work hard in the first five minutes, she will have an easier time taking Xiong down. She needs to put pressure in the clinch and stay away from Xiong’s punching range. She might have the grappling advantage and could finish in the later rounds.

As for Xiong, she should let those hands go, like she did when she won that firefight in the pocket against Osenio. She should have a speed advantage against Teo. If she can avoid the takedown and scramble out of bad positions, China might have its first ONE World Champion.