Angela Lee

Angela Lee set for quick-fire return to the ring as Singapore date with Istela Nunes is announced

It took Angela Lee almost 12 months to make her first title defence. Now, the One atomweight world champion will find herself back in the cage in May

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 March, 2017, 10:31am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 March, 2017, 10:36pm

It took Angela Lee almost 12 months to make her first title defence. Now, the One atomweight world champion will find herself back in the cage twice in the space of about two.

The One Championship announced on Thursday that their shining star will return to battle on May 26 as the headline act of the organisation’s Dynasty of Heroes card at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

The 20-year-old Lee will face Istela Nunes of Brazil on that date, having made a triumphant return to action last Saturday night with a dismantling of Jenny Huang in Bangkok.

Watch: Angela Lee v Jenny Huang in Bangkok

“I said at the beginning of the year that I will make 2017 one to remember,” said Lee in a statement. “I will keep my promise of being as active as I possibly can and I can’t wait to get right back in there. After my last fight, I showed everybody just how much I have improved over the last couple of months. I’m ready to do it again. Istela Nunes had better be ready to go to battle, because this time I’m defending the title on my turf.”

Lee lives in Hawaii but fights out of the Evolve MMA gym in the Lion City, which is her father and trainer Ken’s hometown.

The May return of arguably the most popular MMA fighter in Asia can be seen as a statement of intent from the Singapore-based One group, as the bout comes just week’s before the Las Vegas-based Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its return to the region – in the same city, at the same venue – after an absence of more than 12 months.

Tattoo reward as ‘unstoppable’ Angela Lee defends MMA title with Huang knockout

Speaking before the next bout had been announced, Lee had vowed to remain in “fighting shape” between engagements, having waited since last May to make her title defence, after securing her title against Japan’s Mei Yamaguchi.

“It was a long time away from the cage and I don’t want to let that happen again,” she said. “My training programme really worked against Jenny and I want to keep on improving and I will keep training and working hard every day, no matter what.”

Saturday’s night’s win over Taiwan’s Huang took Lee’s record to 7-0 and was built on the foundation of a reshaped physique – and a reworked fight plan that saw the youngster come out swinging, and never relent.

Angela Lee has appetite for a fight with 10-month wait for first One Championship title defence finally over

Huang – who fell to 5-1 with the loss – was resolute but overmatched but the 24-year-old Nunes (5-0 in MMA) shapes a different proposition entirely. The Brazilian is a two-time world muay thai champion which suggests she’ll have no problem going toe-to-toe with Lee.

The highlight reels of her action back home before joining One show knockouts by both kicks and knees – and one no decision after a banned soccer kick put her opponent down and out. The lady obviously likes to rumble.

Angela Lee ready for date with destiny as MMA’s youngest-ever world champion eyes One Championship title defence

“When I joined One Championship, I had my eyes set on the world title,” Nunes said in a statement. “It’s my goal to someday become a world champion in mixed martial arts, and Angela Lee is one of the best fighters in the world. I cannot wait to test myself against a fighter of her calibre. I am preparing myself well and will make sure that I come ready for the best Angela Lee possible. On 26 May, I will accomplish what so many others failed to do. I will beat Angela Lee and become champion.”

Thursday’s announcement will ensure Asia becomes the centre of the MMA universe over a three-week period, with the UFC poised to soon announce its own card for the UFC Fight Night Singapore on June 17, with the feeling that freshly-signed Chinese featherweight Wang Guan will be among a card featuring any number of Asian fighters.