SINGAPORE (TR) – Angela “Unstoppable” Lee retained the One Championship mixed martial arts Women’s Atomweight World Championship title at the “Unstoppable Dreams” event that started on Friday night.
At the packed Singapore Indoor Stadium, Lee, an American-Singaporean, won the title in a unanimous decision over Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi. Lee improved her record to a perfect 9-0.
“It’s a huge night for me and my family,” said Lee, 21, following the five-round bout, which ended early Saturday. “It’s not easy to do what we’re doing inside the cage. Martial arts fans and their love for the sport are the reason why we’re fighting. This is for you guys.”
The fight was closer than the judges’ decision may indicate. The first round saw Yamaguchi land a couple strong rights. In the second, Lee had Yamaguchi’s arm hyperextended but the Japanese fighter survived the round. Lee then pinned Yamaguchi to the canvas in the third but could not achieve submission.
After Lee pushed Yamaguchi up against the cage in the fourth, the Japanese fighter rallied back, later pinning her opponent on her back. In the final round, Yamaguchi connected with a strong right foot. But for the judges, it wasn’t enough.
“Props to Mei Yamaguchi,” Lee added. “She’s an amazing and very talented competitor.”
The pair had previously squared off at the same venue in May of 2016 in which Lee was victorious in another unanimous decision. Prior to Friday’s fight, Yamaguchi thought that she could get to Lee inside, taking advantage of her shorter stature, an aim she believed she achieved.
“In the fourth and fifth rounds, I was mixing up body shots and shots to the face, but if I was able to use that more on the cage it might [have] changed [the outcome] a little bit,” Yamaguchi, who sported a large bruise beneath her left eye, said afterward.
When asked if she thought she had done enough to win, Yamaguchi said she had. “I thought I won,” she said. But she also indicated that she cannot not to leave the decision in the hands of the judges. “I need to knock her out. That’s it,” she said.
Yamaguchi said that a third match with Lee is unlikely since the champion is moving up in weight class, but the 35-year-old is awaiting her next opponent.
“I want to show that I never give up as a martial artist,” Yamaguchi said. “I want to show my never-give-up spirit and keep challenging. I think One Championship wants to see that.”
Shinya Aoki prevails
In the under card, Japan’s Shinya Aoki made quick work of Rasul Yakhyaev, submitting the Russian in the first round of a lightweight bout.
In other world championship fights, Martin Nguyen of Australia retained his featherweight belt in a split decision over Lee’s younger brother, Christian. Meanwhile, Thailand’s Sam-a Gaiyanghadao defeated Sergio Wielzen of the Netherlands in claiming the Super Series Flyweight Muay Thai title.