ONE women's atomweight GP finally happening at September card

ONE women's atomweight GP finally happening at September card

Denice Zamboanga will finally get to face Seo Hee-Ham at ONE: Empower. ONE Championship (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The long wait is finally over!

The much anticipated ONE Women's Atomweight World Grand Prix will finally begin on Sept. 3 as all the four quarterfinal match-ups will take place at ONE: Empower.

Add to that, two bouts will decide the alternates to the eight originally scheduled female fighters who will vie for a shot at Angela Lee's ONE women's atomweight title.

Number one ranked women's atomweight contender Denice Zamboanga of the Philippines will face ONE Championship newcomer Seo Hee-Ham of South Korea in the co-main event of ONE: Empower happening at the Singapore Indoor Stadium--the headliner of the quarterfinal bouts.

The other first-round match-ups in the GP will have Natthawan "Stamp Fairtex" Panthong of Thailand, ranked fourth, battling number three seed Alyona Rassohyna of Ukraine, number two ranked Meng Bo pf China battling Ritu Phogat of India, and Itsuki Hirata of Japan taking on Alyse Anderson of the United States.

ONE Championship chief executive officer Chatri Sityodtong clarified that the who's-facing-who-next has not yet been established.

"Stay tuned for the tournament brackets!" Sityodtong said on Monday upon announcing the fight card.

Meanwhile, Japanese veteran Mei Yamaguchi battles Brazil's Julie Mezabarba in one alternate bout.

Another American, Grace Cleveland, is also scheduled for an alternate match, but her opponent will only be revealed once ONE: Battleground 3 goes on air.

Filipina fighter Jenelyn Olsim, who drops down a weight division, was to face former Survivor contestant and world title contender Bi Nguyen of Vietnam on July 30 for the right to battle Cleveland, but their fight would only be shown on Aug. 27 along with the rest of the ONE: Battleground 3 fixtures.

The winners of the alternate bouts might step in if one of the original contenders gets pulled out of the GP due to injury reasons.

On the other hand, two ONE Super Series matches will take place at ONE: Empower.

In the Muay Thai category, Filipino-American Jackie Buntan takes on Argentinian Daniela Lopez, while Anissa Meksen of France battles Cristina Morales of Spain in a kickboxing clash.

The main event will see Xiong Jingnan of China defending her ONE women's strawweight title against Michelle Nicolini of Brazil, making this the first all women's fight card ever by a major mixed martial arts promotion.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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