SINGAPORE: Mixed martial arts (MMA) star Angela Lee successfully defended her atomweight (52.2kg) title a second time while Malaysia’s Agilan Thani failed to seize the welterweight (83.9kg) belt in the two headlining fights organised by Asian promotion ONE Championship on Friday (May 26).
Lee, 20, finished Brazil’s Istela Nunes with an anaconda choke in the second round. The champion had to weather an early storm from the Muay Thai exponent but kept her cool to close the distance and work in multiple submission attempts before Nunes finally cracked.
Lee stays perfect with eight wins and no losses. Six of her victories have now come by submission. She first defended her belt in March this year against Taiwan’s Jenny Huang. It was a year ago, in Singapore as well, when Canadian-American citizen Lee became the youngest champion of a major MMA promotion by edging Japanese veteran Mei Yamaguchi.
Lee, who is of Singapore-South Korean parentage, was accompanied by Singaporean Olympic gold medallist Joseph Schooling as she walked out to the cage in the 12,000-strong sold-out Indoor Stadium.
She lapped up the crowd support en route to dominating Nunes, 24, whose record now falls to six wins and one loss.
GOLIATH BEATS DAVID
In the co-main event of the night, 21-year-old Thani had his surging streak of seven straight wins - and zero defeats - screech to a halt against reigning champion Ben Askren, 32.
The American - a 2008 Olympic wrestler and former Bellator champion - tapped into the vast gulf in experience to overwhelm his Malaysian challenger from the get-go, rag-dolling Thani and quickly taking the fight to the ground.
The youngster fought valiantly to get back up on his feet but in the end, Askren was too strong and too savvy as he sunk in an arm triangle submission to end the bout.
Askren extends his record to 16 wins and no losses, to cap off the third defence of a strap he won back in 2014.