Irina Mazepa came into ONE Championship with a bang – knocking out Ann Osman out cold on her debut, then outboxing a boxing champion Ana Julaton en route to a unanimous decision only 3 months later.
With the only remaining active flyweight in ONE roster having never won a match in the promotion, a lot of question were raised on who will be the Russian phenom’s next opponent. Even ONE went to facebook asking fans on Mazepa’s next opponent, and fans overwhelmingly voted that she should face Angela Lee next.
While this may not happen soon, as Mazepa needed to recover from her broken hand and Lee stating that she wanted some time off, this matchup may not be all too far, as Lee had explored fighting in flyweight, even as far as having a fight scheduled against Osman in March 2013, which was subsequently cancelled.
We caught up with Mazepa’s trainer Didier Le Borgne on the possibility on the matchup.
“I’m surprised that Angela thinks of moving to flyweight,” Le Borgne stated.
“I respect and like Angela’s fights, but honestly her body is a strawweight body. I think Osman’s body is also around 60kg in the cage, remember the roll over did Irina against Ann Osman, [where] she turned and rolled Osman… can you imagine how she could do with Angela’s body?”
“I’m not Angela’s manager but honestly I don’t think it’s good for her to move [to flyweight]. She dominates strawweight at ONE [but] she will not at flyweight.”
“I don’t want to think about her face after striking exchange with Irina… Definitely bad idea,” he said.
And given that Lee got hurt when she took a hit from Lena Thorevska who moved up from atomweight (105lbs) to fight Lee in December, it is hard not to agree with Le Borgne’s comments.
RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2017: 1st Round Results
The first day of RIZIN FF action is in the books after a action packed yet bizarre night/morning of fights. We now have the semi finalists of the bantamweight GP which will take place on the stacked New Years Eve card. The card displayed plenty of Japanese MMA talent, 3 of which are in the semi finals of the bantamweight GP. The undercard featured plenty of close fights including upsets over Reina Miura and Anthony Birchak. The full results are as follows:
Kyoji Horiguchi def. Gabriel Oliveira via TKO (punches) – Round 1 – bantamweight grand prix quarterfinal (bracket A)
Manel Kape def. Ian McCall via TKO (doctor’s stoppage) – Round 1 – bantamweight grand prix quarterfinal (bracket A)
Shintaro Ishiwatari def. Kevin Petshi via knockout (punch) – Round 1 – bantamweight grand prix quarterfinal (bracket B)
Takafumi Otsuka def. Khalid Taha via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 3 – bantamweight grand prix quarterfinal (bracket B)
Jiri Prochazka def. Karl Albrektsson via TKO (punches) – Round 1
Cindy Dandois def. Reina Miura via split decision
Jae Hoon Moon def. Anthony Birchak via split decision – bantamweight grand prix quarterfinal reserve bout
Kai Asakura def. Kizaemon Saiga via TKO (punches, knee) – Round 2
Kana Watanabe def. Shizuka Sugiyama via unanimous decision
Kiichi Kunimoto def. Satoru Kitaoka via unanimous decision
Highest Ranked Strawweight Outside of the UFC challenged Angela Lee to a title fight in One Championship
28 Years Old, Zhang Weili(16-1) from China has challenged Strawweight champion Angela Lee for her strap in One Championship according to a source close to the Chinese fighter. Zhang who is the champion and fighting for Chinese based promotion Kunlun FC is currently negotiating on a one fight deal to face Angela. According to the source, they would like to determine who is the best women fighter in Asia in a one-off match and would have no problems to fight under the One Championship banner.
Since her pro debut loss in 2013, Zhang has racked up 16 wins in 3 years with a total of 15 finishes. She is the number #6 ranked women strawweight in the World according to Fightmatrix.com, just behind Rose Namajunas who will be facing UFC champion and number #1 ranked strawweight Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the title next month. Angela, on the other hand, is 9 rungs below Zhang at number 15.
While ONE was very eager to have a cross-promotion fight between Angela Lee and Joanna Jedrzejczyk to determine who has the better strawweight, they seem less eager to have a Kunlun FC champion on board for a one fight deal. The source states that ONE would need for Zhang to sign a 2-year exclusive contract first before discussing further for a fight with Angela.
If the source is accurate, ONE seems to be covering their bases this time and would not like for their champion to lose the belt to another promotion without securing Zhang on an exclusive contract. Kunlun, on the other hand, would also not want to lose their best fighter to another Asian promotion. Zhang would be a huge asset to ONE for their expansion in China but it would be tough for them to pry off the Chinese fighter as the source states that Zhang is being paid handsomely on Kunlun FC.
While things are looking bleak for a match between Angela Lee and Zhang Weili to happen in the ONE Championship cage, the fans will be keeping their fingers crossed and hope that they could witness a fight between two of the best women Strawweights in Asia.
Martin Nguyen to challenge Eduard Folayang’s title in Manila for the first champion vs champion fight in ONE Championship
After speculations on who Martin Nguyen’s next opponent when he signed a fight contract, ONE Championship have confirmed that Martin Nguyen is set to challenge Eduard Folayang’s lightweight title in Manila on ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD on 10 November.
The fight is the latest in a series of cross-division fights announced after Shinya Aoki vs Ben Askren and Aung La NSang vs Alain Ngalani, but this will be the first time the reigning ONE Championship titleholders from two weight divisions will clash.
Nguyen’s coach, Fari Salievski, did tease on the idea of Nguyen fighting for the title in different weight divisions , but he teased on a bantamweight division since Martin was underweight for his featherweight title fight against Marat Gafurov.
Despite being on the lighter side of a featherweight division, the new champion decided to challenge the title against a fighter a weight class above him, and opens the possibility of the first fighter in ONE Championship to challenge the title in 3 weight divisions.
“I’m not out only to make a statement, but to go down in history as the best to ever compete under the ONE Championship banner” – Martin Nguyen
ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD will be held in Malls of Asia Arena in Manila on 10 November 2017
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