MMA: Victoria Lee, 16, wins by submission on her One Championship debut

Victoria Lee won her professional MMA debut by submitting Thailand's Sunisa Srisen, on Feb 26, 2021.
Victoria Lee won her professional MMA debut by submitting Thailand's Sunisa Srisen, on Feb 26, 2021.PHOTO: ONE CHAMPIONSHIP

SINGAPORE - You can only wonder what was going through Victoria Lee's head as she stood alone in the middle of a mixed martial arts (MMA) cage on Friday night (Feb 26) under bright lights at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

The 16-year-old had just triumphed in her professional MMA debut, submitting Thai opponent Sunisa Srisen early in the second round with a rear naked choke at One Championship's Fists of Fury event.

When commentator Mitch Chilson asked her in the post-fight interview to talk through the moment she locked in the submission, Lee, adrenaline still coursing and mind still racing, could only muster: "Uhhh, sorry. I forgot the question."

There was something endearing about the teen spacing out moments after delivering on the hype that had surrounded her for weeks leading up to the fight, and judging by the reaction of the spectators in attendance, all was forgiven.

The younger sister of One Championship world champions Christian (men's lightweight) and Angela (women's atomweight) had been eager to prove her own mettle.

And she did it against Sunisa, 20, who had won four of her five pro MMA fights before the fight on Friday night.

The first round started with a flurry of punches from both young fighters, and ended with Lee on Sunisa's back, trying unsuccessfully to lock in the rear naked choke. Just seconds into the second, however, she sunk in the same move, forcing Sunisa to submit.

When asked if the fight went to plan, Lee said: "No… I tried to finish her in the first round.

"But I went back to the corner, and my dad (and coach Ken) said to hit the reset button and do what I was supposed to in the first round, in the second."

She also eventually gathered her thoughts after viewing the replay of her submission.

"Once I got her to the ground, I was just focusing on my base, got my hook in, saw her head pop up so I went for the neck and just squeezed it."

Although they reside in the United States, the Lee trio fight under the Singapore flag. They are coached by their parents - father Ken was born in Singapore, while mum Jewelz is a Korean-Canadian.