A packed Singapore Indoor Stadium – notably graced by Singapore’s Olympic champion Joseph Schooling and 23-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Phelps – was the setting for One: Unstoppable Dreams on May 18.
Emotions were running high as Angela Lee made her long-awaited comeback six months after a serious car accident, as evidenced by Lee’s tearful reflections in a pre-fight promo.
The first task back in the One Championship ring for the American-turned-Singapore-representative would be no walk in the park, however, as she faced Mei Yamaguchi for a second time.
The Japanese fighter has arguably been Lee’s toughest opponent thus far, with their 2016 bout to determine the inaugural One Atomweight World Champion going the distance; the only one of Lee’s eight fights that went to a decision.
History would repeat itself as Lee retained her title via unanimous decision in a five-round tussle that could easily have gone either way. Lee threatened to seal the deal with an armbar and a rear naked choke in the first three rounds.
Meanwhile, Yamaguchi looked to have gained the upper hand in the latter two, landing a head kick in the last to knock Lee off her feet. But it was not enough for the judges, and Lee defended her title while improving her record to 9-0.
Earlier in the night, Lee’s younger brother Christian fell short in his quest to join Angela as a One champion – a feat that would have made the Lees MMA’s first sibling world champions.
Christian Lee lost by split decision to two-division world champion Martin Nguyen in a cagey featherweight encounter that earned boos from the crowd on several occasions.
Elsewhere on the main card, Amir Khan made sure Singapore’s representatives got off to a winning start with a TKO (punches) win over South Korea’s Sung Jong Lee in their lightweight bout.
In another lightweight contest, Eduard Folayang returned to winning ways after losing his world title to Martin Nguyen last November. He defeated Russia’s Kharun Atlangeriev by unanimous decision.
Japan’s Shinya Aoki, another of One’s big names, was also victorious in a lightweight match-up, making Russia’s Rasul Yakyaev tap to a triangle choke in the first round.
One’s kickboxers continued to make inroads with both One Super Series kickboxing bouts at Unstoppable Dreams well received by fans.
In his One debut, the iconic Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex of Thailand defeated Chris Ngimbi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by unanimous decision.
In a co-main event, meanwhile, Thailand’s Sam-A Gaiyanghadao – who now has an astonishing 366-46-9 record – was crowned the first One Super Series Muay Thai Flyweight World Champion after a ruthless knockout victory over Suriname’s Sergio Wielzen.
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