Mixed Martial Arts: Angela Lee ready for comeback in May


MMA star, training again after car accident, will fight Yamaguchi in title defence in S'pore

She last appeared at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Nov 24 last year, with her One Championship atomweight title belt on her shoulder but clad in streetwear, as she tearfully greeted her fans in a cameo appearance.

American Angela Lee was supposed to defend her title against Japan's Mei Yamaguchi - whom she beat in May 2016 to win the belt - that night, but the championship bout was postponed after Lee, 21, had a car accident on Nov 7.

Fans of the popular mixed martial arts fighter will be delighted to know that she will return to action on May 18 at the Indoor Stadium.

One's chairman and chief executive officer Chatri Sityodtong told The Straits Times (ST) on the sidelines of the Kings of Courage press conference at the Fairmont Jakarta on Thursday that Lee will fight Yamaguchi in her defence of the atomweight title.

"I just had dinner with Angela a couple of weeks ago. She's much, much better mentally, physically and emotionally," Chatri told ST.

"She will be ready to defend her title in May in Singapore. It is 100 per cent, definitely on. She is beginning to train again, and she told me she wants to compete in May. I said okay, and Mei Yamaguchi is ready any time, so there's no reason why it can't happen in May."

Lee told ST yesterday that she is looking forward to making her comeback in Singapore.


I'm more motivated than ever to return to the cage. I'm still training as hard as ever... I know what it's going to take to win.

ANGELA LEE , MMA fighter, looking forward to her fight against Mei Yamaguchi.

She said: "It is always a privilege to be able to perform in front of my fans in Singapore. It's a place that is dear to my heart. Every time I take to the stage there, I feel at home."

Lee, who is based in Hawaii and Singapore, was driving from her home in Hawaii to her gym at about 4.30am in November when she fell asleep at the wheel, causing her car to flip after it hit the guardrails.

She suffered concussion and minor burns in the accident, as well as emotional trauma, with One postponing her title defence later that month.

"Fortunately, I came out of the accident with only a few bumps and bruises, no major injuries. The accident was the scariest moment of my life, but it reminded me of what a beautiful life that I have," said Lee, who fights under the Singapore flag because her father Ken was born in the Republic.

"I am extremely fortunate to be doing what I love for a living. I am more than ready, both physically and mentally, to resume my career. I'm more motivated than ever to return to the cage.

"My training hasn't changed, I'm still training as hard as ever... This is a requirement of victory and I know what it's going to take to win."

On whether she can repeat her 2016 victory over Yamaguchi, Lee said: "Mei is very talented and experienced, but it's never about the opponent. It's always about what I can bring to the table.

"As long as I put in the work, trust my team and my abilities, I know I will have a good performance. I'm ready to take her on again and defend my title."

Meanwhile, Singaporean Tiffany Teo will face China's Xiong Jingnan for the vacant women's strawweight (52.3-56.7kg) title tonight at the Jakarta Convention Center. The 27-year-old could be the first Singaporean citizen to win a major MMA title.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2018, with the headline 'Lee ready for comeback in May'. Print Edition | Subscribe