Reigning ONE Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee from the Evolve Fight Team is widely considered one of the fastest rising mixed martial arts talents in the world. At the tender age of 19, she became the youngest world champion in MMA history when she captured the atomweight title in 2016.
Today, two years later, she is a well-known personality, and among the top fighters in the world pound-for-pound.
This Friday night, 18 May, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, Lee returns to action in the main event of ONE: Unstoppable Dreams against the only woman who has ever gone the distance with her — Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi.
“I am really excited,” Lee said. “First of all, we faced each other two years back, so I have an idea of what her style is. I know what she has been working on. Since our first match, I have had two really great title defenses.”
In their first encounter at ONE: Ascent to Power, both Lee and Yamaguchi pushed each other to the limit, figuring in a spirited exchange of striking and grappling that left fans on the edge of their seats. After surviving a third round knockdown, Lee rallied to dominate Yamaguchi in the latter half of the contest, en route to a unanimous decision victory.
The bout won multiple “Fight of the Year” honors from various publications and also saw Lee’s stock skyrocket. This time, Lee promises to be a much-improved version of herself when she finally steps back into the cage after a year-long absence.
“I got to show how my game is evolving, and I have been working to tighten everything up and sharpen my skills everywhere. I feel really confident going into this match. I think it will go according to the game plan, and I cannot wait to be back,” said Lee.
Overcoming adversity seems to be an Angela Lee norm. The last time we saw her in action, Lee powered through a bout with pneumonia to defeat Brazilian Muay Thai specialist Istela Nunes. Afterwards, the 21-year-old champion figured in a freak car accident in Hawaii that she was extremely fortunate to come out of with mere bumps and bruises.
With the odds steadily in her favor this time around against Yamaguchi, Lee looks to put the finishing touches on their rivalry with an exciting finish.
“That is just my fight style,” she says. “The way I fight just leads me to these quick finishes.”
Before Lee steps back into the ONE Championship cage this Friday night, let’s take a look at a handful of her performances that got here to this point. Today, Evolve Daily shares the three best moments of Angela Lee’s mixed martial arts career.
1) Making her ONE Championship debut
Then just 18 years of age, Angela Lee was a virtually unknown fighter at the time of her ONE Championship debut. Spending most of her life back in Hawaii, honing her skills on the amateur ranks of pankration and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournaments, as well as a series of amateur MMA bouts, Lee made her presence known with a spectacular performance against Egypt’s Aya Saber.
Captivating the audience with her incredible grappling skills, youthful exuberance, and bright smile, Lee needed less than two minutes of the very first round to author a scintillating armbar submission to announce her arrival on the world stage.
Fans could not believe the level of skill and technique Lee displayed in her first time in the spotlight. It was as if she was born for bright lights of the biggest global stage of martial arts competition.
Today, Lee has amassed an unblemished 8-0 record and is known as one of the top mixed martial arts talents in the world today.
2) Executing the Twister against Natalie Gonzales Hills
Lee had just finished blowing past both Aya Saber and Mona Samir, two talented females from Egypt, and her star was quickly rising. She was making a name for herself as a feared finisher, capable of submitting opponents on the mat with a variety of crafty maneuvers. Tapping out both Saber and Samir with a pair of first-round submissions, Lee would then take on English-Filipino fighter Natalie Gonzales Hills in her third professional contest.
Like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, Lee executed one of the slickest submissions in mixed martial arts — the ultra-rare twister.
Lee’s opponent Hills was certainly no pushover. The Filipino striker was adept in both Muay Thai and kickboxing and was a fixture among the top in local competitions in Sydney, Australia where she resided. Still, Lee’s growing fanbase knew what to expect from “Unstoppable”, and the young star proceeded to put on a show.
Taking the fight to the ground where Lee was most comfortable, the Singaporean star put the finishing touches on the Twister submission that had the entire world abuzz. Lee became a viral internet sensation overnight, and her performance shot her to superstardom.
3) Winning the inaugural ONE Women’s Atomweight World Championship
In perhaps Lee’s toughest test to date, the then 19-year-old met Japanese mixed martial arts veteran Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi in May of 2016. The pair put on an absolute thriller, going back-and-forth both on the feet and on the ground for five full rounds. It was an amazing showcase of both technical skill and indomitable will.
In the end, it was Lee who emerged victorious, overcoming a spirited effort from Yamaguchi who remains her hardest opponent yet.
After their bout, Lee thanked Yamaguchi for pushing her to the limit, particularly in the third round when a monstrous right hand from Yamaguchi nearly finished her. Digging deep and refusing to quit, Lee mustered all the strength in her body to get back up and finish the fight on a strong note.
With a masterful showcase of grappling, Lee dominated Yamaguchi the rest of the way. As a result, all three judges scored the bout in favor of Lee to win by unanimous decision, becoming the first ever ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion, and the youngest world champion in MMA history.
This Friday night, Lee returns to action. Don’t miss the return of “Unstoppable” Angela Lee at ONE: UNSTOPPABLE DREAMS! Catch the action live at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, or download the recently launched ONE Super App on Android and iOS.