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Angela Lee

Who’s next? Power-packed Singapore star Angela Lee crushes Brazil’s Istela Nunes in two rounds

The home heroine uses her favoured anaconda choke to sap the bite out of her overmatched opponent

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 May, 2017, 12:19am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 May, 2017, 12:19am

Bring on the next one.

Angela Lee, the queen of Asian MMA, powered her way past Brazilian challenger Istela Nunes to retain her One Championship atomweight world title at the Singapore Indoor Arena last night.

It was another step forward for the 20-year-old who used her superior strength and cage craft against a brave but overmatched fighter who found herself caught in an anaconda choke with 2.18 gone in the second round.

Nunes tapped out. Lee leapt into the air and then sunk to her knees as the crowd went wild.

“I really love you guys,” she told them. “It’s an honour to fight here and this means the world to me. The anaconda is one of my favourite moves. I want to give a huge shout out to my family.”

Lee had staked out her territory on social media earlier in the day, making her feelings crystal clear.

“Talk all you want and run your mouth but you’re just a new kid on the wrong block.

This is MY house & You are NOT welcomed here,” was the post – in part - and Lee carried that aggression into the cage from the outset.

Nunes copped a pounding throughout the first round, both above and down on the mat. She was resolute in her defence but it was just as quickly apparent that the fight wouldn’t go the distance. Lee simply grows in stature in the sport – and in skill.

As does American Ben Askren. He came to Singapore unbeaten at 15-0 with one no contest, and carrying a reputation as the best wrestler ever to make the switch to MMA, having represented the USA at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 after a standout college career.

The 32-year-old had roundly dismissed opponent Agilan Thani, the Malaysian 21-year-old with seven wins from seven fights under his belt. The promise from the American was that as soon as the bell rang, he’d charge the younger fighter to mat and pound him into submission – and he lit the fuse by facing down Thani during the official introductions at the start of the night.

The mind games worked. Thani looked rattled by that early attention and it took the champion just 30 seconds to have him on his back. From then it was a matter of time – two minutes more, in fact – before a combination of blows soften the challenger up, and he tapped out.

So it’s on to the next challenge for Askren and his reign too continues.

“I’m feeling great, man,” Askren said afterwards. “I don’t like trying to fight my friends so I tried to make him not my enemy for a little while. But he’s a young kid and it’s the lst time we’re going to see him in there, and he’s got a great future ahead of him.”