SINGAPORE: Rising mixed martial arts (MMA) star Angela Lee is slated to fight Mei Yamaguchi again in a replay of their historic clash a year ago, said One Championship on Monday (Sep 4).
The MMA promotion’s supremo Chatri Sityodtong announced on Facebook that reigning One women’s atomweight (52.2kg) champion Lee (eight wins, no losses) will defend her title against Japanese veteran Yamaguchi (16 wins, 10 losses) on Nov 24 at Singapore’s Indoor Stadium.
He said they had both “agreed to what will arguably be the most anticipated rematch in the history of martial arts in Asia”.
Lee, 21, was crowned the youngest champion of a major MMA organisation in May last year when she edged 34-year-old Yamaguchi by decision in a five-round thriller also held in Singapore.
Canadian-American by nationality, but with a rabid following in Asia owing in part to her Singaporean-Korean parentage, Lee has successfully seen off two title challenges since, her most recent being another signature submission victory earlier this year over Brazilian striker Istela Nunes.
"I've evolved so much since my last fight with Mei," she said. "In our first fight, I was 19 years old, fighting for a world title and the nerves got the best of me. I didn't perform to the best of my abilities."
"Since that fight, I've defended my belt twice. I've continued to sharpen my skills and I've gained the confidence that comes with being the champion."
Yamaguchi, who remains the only fighter to go the distance with Lee, followed her loss by dropping a close decision to Nunes before bouncing back with a win over Taiwan’s Jenny Huang - who also fought for the belt previously.
“I'm going to revenge Angela Lee on Nov 24 (sic),” the Japanese fighter posted on Facebook shortly after the announcement.
Said Lee: "On Nov 24, you will see another spectacular display of heart, tenacity and technique - only this time, it won't go to a five-round decision."
Chatri also revealed that the November event in Singapore will see American Olympic wrestler and dominant One welterweight (80kg) champion Ben Askren (17 wins, no losses) take on Japanese grappling ace and former One lightweight (75kg) king Shinya Aoki (39 wins, seven losses).
Both represent the Singapore-based Evolve MMA gym, founded by Chatri.
“In what will be a ferocious contest between two great white sharks, Shinya Aoki and Ben Askren have decided to lay it all on the line,” said the Thai entrepreneur. “Win or lose, this fight will be Ben's last. Ben has made the decision to retire after this fight to become an executive at ONE.”