Lee siblings in ESPN's list of top U-25s

Angela Lee and her brother Christian posing with their belts after both won their bouts at the One: Century event in Tokyo on Sunday. Angela is ranked 14th on ESPN's top 25 MMA fighters under 25 list, while Christian is 22nd. PHOTO: ONE CHAMPIONSHIP
Angela Lee and her brother Christian posing with their belts after both won their bouts at the One: Century event in Tokyo on Sunday. Angela is ranked 14th on ESPN's top 25 MMA fighters under 25 list, while Christian is 22nd. PHOTO: ONE CHAMPIONSHIP

The mixed martial arts (MMA) siblings of Angela and Christian Lee were listed on ESPN's top 25 MMA fighters under 25 ranking released on Monday.

Angela, the older at 23, had claimed a dramatic win on Sunday to retain her One Championship atomweight title against Xiong Jingnan at the One: Century event in Tokyo.

She submitted Xiong with just 12 seconds left in their five-round, 25-minute bout to stop a two-loss slide, after having won all nine of her earlier fights.

Angela, who has a Singapore-born father and South Korean mother and fights under the Singapore flag, avenged her loss to Xiong in March, when she failed to wrest the strawweight belt from the Chinese fighter.

Four months later, she suffered a decision loss against Brazilian grappling expert Michelle Nicolini in a non-title strawweight fight.

She was ranked 14th on the ESPN table, which its panel of insiders took several months to develop and the US-based sports broadcaster noted that "these are the fighters we believe are the best at this moment, without taking into account the potential success of their future endeavours".

Also on Sunday, Christian, 21, scored a unanimous decision win over Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev of Turkey in One's three-round lightweight grand prix final.

One lightweight champion Christian, whose title was not on the line, accepted the bout with just 10 days' notice, stepping in for the injured former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) champion Eddie Alvarez.

He was 22nd on the ESPN list, which described him as "one of the most exciting young fighters in MMA".

One had a third representative on the list with American Sage Northcutt, who was ranked 24th.

At the top of the ranking was American A.J. McKee, who has a perfect 15-0 record.

The 24-year-old, ESPN noted, is "the crown jewel of Bellator's crop of prospects" and his "mix of wrestling, athleticism, power and charisma could make him a future star".

The UFC dominated the list with 17 fighters.

The top woman in the ranking was its Aspen Ladd, who was tied for fourth place.

The highest-ranked Asian, at No. 8, was China's Song Yadong, who is 3-0 in the UFC.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 16, 2019, with the headline 'Lee siblings in ESPN's list of top U-25s'. Print Edition | Subscribe