Gina “Conviction” Iniong will be cheering for her Team Lakay brothers when ONE Championship holds its biggest event yet, ONE: A NEW ERA, on Sunday, 31 March at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan.
However, that won’t be her only focus on the loaded 15-bout card.
Iniong will also keep a close eye on the ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title match-up as “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan defends her belt against ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee in the co-main event.
Now that she is on her return path to World Title contention, the Filipina knows this match has some serious implications for her.
“I can’t say for sure who will win, it can go either way,” Iniong said.
“Angela Lee has a flawless ground game, while Xiong is an excellent striker. It will be a clash of styles and whatever the result is, it will be an exciting match.”
Iniong was a serious contender to Lee’s World Title after racking up back-to-back wins to start her career in The Home Of Martial Arts. However, two decision losses in a span of three matches pushed her to the back of the line.
Now that she has recovered her footing after defeating Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan at ONE: CLASH OF LEGENDS in February, the Baguio City native knows she could face either of the two any time in the future.
For “Conviction,” the upcoming battle between the two female ONE World Champions depends entirely on who imposes their style in the match early.
Lee is known as one of the most dangerous female grapplers and she has a near-flawless ability to end a match quickly. Xiong, on the other hand, will be relying on her striking to try and take advantage of the popular Evolve MMA star on the feet.
“As I’ve said, Angela Lee’s ground game is so refined and she has complete control when the fight goes to the ground,” Iniong shared.
“However, Xiong’s striking is extraordinary as well. She is a knockout artist and is very accurate in her striking ability.”
What intrigues Iniong the most is how Lee would respond to ring rust, as the 22-year old has only battled once in the last 18 months — a win over Mei “V.V.” Yamaguchi at ONE: UNSTOPPABLE DREAMS in Singapore last May.
It’s not really that big of a variable, but in a match against two evenly-matched opponents, that could play a role in this contest.
“Ring rust is a factor when it comes to fights, especially since Xiong has been active while Angela didn’t compete for a while,” the Filipina said.
“It’s just a small factor. It will really go down to who is the better and smarter athlete between the two.”