Stamp Fairtex Will Headline ONE Championship’s Return to United States

March 28, 2024
3 weeks

Stamp Fairtex has been one of ONE Championship’s most popular fighters over the past few years due to her infectious energy and enthusiastic walks to the cage. Last September, Fairtex showed everyone she wasn’t just a dancer who moonlighted as a fighter. Once Angela Lee retired, Fairtex was scheduled to fight Ham Seo-hee for the atomweight championship.

Fairtex validated ONE Championship’s belief in her. She leaned on her excellent body work and scored a TKO win over Ham in the third round. Now, Fairtex is preparing for a legacy fight this September at ONE 168 at Ball Arena in Denver. Fairtex is going up in weight to challenge Xiong Jing Nan, ONE’s strawweight champion.

The best MMA news sites show this will be an important fight for Xiong as well. She has tried to become the double champion before. Xiong has defended her strawweight championship by making eight championship defenses. When Xiong went down in weight to try and snatch the atomweight title before, she lost to Lee by submission. 

Fairtex will see how she can measure up at a heavier weight. Fartex’s fight is one of two championship fights that has been confirmed for the card already. There is also a bantamweight Muay Thai championship fight between Jonathan Haggerty and Superlek Kiatmuu9 scheduled as well.

Lee’s Retirement Opens Up Opportunities

Lee deciding to walk away from the sport due to mental health reasons opened up things for Fairtex. When it came to the women’s divisions in ONE, Lee was the boogeyman for many fighters. Lee has the longest championship reign in ONE history at 2,703 days and she defended the atomweight championship five times. During Fairtex’s first attempt to win the atomweight crown, she was submitted in the second round by Lee.

Fairtex’s one weakness that has been exposed is some holes in her ground game. She has been submitted twice during her career. When Fairtex’s fights have gone to the scorecards, she’s produced a 4-0 record.

Fairtex is an excellent fighter but has received a lot of attention for her fight walkouts. While most combatants attempt to conserve their energy before fights, Fairtex usually walks out to a pre-choreographed dance number.

Xiong proved that she could handle Lee at the heavier weight class. During Xiong and Lee’s two battles for the strawweight crown, Xiong won by TKO and decision. Cutting down to atomweight was where Xiong saw some issues according to MMA latest news.

Xiong Needs New Challengers

One reason for a champion vs. champion fight is that the pool of top contenders for Xiong is shrinking. Xiong hasn’t lost a strawweight fight in her career. She first won the championship in January 2018 by knocking out Tiffany Teo in the fourth round. Xiong has made eight title defenses since then.

Xiong’s only other loss in her career was a catchweight fight with Colleen Schneider back in 2015. Finding contenders in the women’s divisions of MMA is typically tougher than in the men’s.

While the women’s side of the sport has exploded since Ronda Rousey’s popularity helped accelerate interest in the sport, there is still a young generation of fighters who are still working their way up the ladder. While there still isn’t a deep pool of contenders available that should continue to grow as time goes on.

Haggerty Ready to Defend Belts

Haggerty has spent an impressive amount of time in ONE Championship holding at least one belt. The first championship that Haggerty captured was the Muay Thai flyweight title. In the past two years, Haggerty has branched out into different areas.

While Haggerty is no longer the flyweight champion, he has also won the bantamweight Muay Thai championship and also collected the bantamweight kickboxing crown. Haggerty defended his Muay Thai championship by knocking out Felip Lobo with a right cross in February.

Haggerty’s next title defense will be against Superlek, who is a native of Thailand. 

Superlek Has Long History of Success in ONE

Superlek, who is known as The Kicking Machine, has a ridiculous record of activity in combat sports. In 2023, Superlek fought five times. He won all five fights, including three by knockout.

Superlek claimed the flyweight kickboxing championship that Haggerty used to hold when he beat Panpayak Jitmuangnon in December 2022. Since winning the belt, he has defended it twice.

Superlek, 28, has showcased an amazing amount of durability during his career. He has compiled a 137-29-4 record since turning professional. Superlek has picked up four performance of the night bonuses during his career. 

Superlek has also been crowned the bantamweight and super flyweight champion of Lumpinee Stadium. Superlek, who had his first professional Muay Thai fight in 2010, lost his initial two fights. Superlek got off to a 5-4 start overall before running off a lengthy winning streak.

ONE Plans more American Events

ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong announced that there are four events planned for the United States in 2024. There may be a stronger market for MMA in the United States with how the UFC has changed its approach since the pandemic.

At one time, the UFC went to many different cities around the country to reach as many fans as possible. However, when pandemic restrictions were in place, the UFC started using the Apex, a building in use in Las Vegas, to host many fights.

While the UFC still travels for pay-per-views and other events, there are some markets that used to get fights that no longer get them. The UFC has been charging cities to travel and hold events there. With Bellator being absorbed by the PFL, there is an idea that there may be a market for an alternative to the UFC if things are done correctly, according to MMA fighting latest news.

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By Dean McHugh.