SINGAPORE - Angela Lee faltered in her bid to become the first two-division women's champion in mixed martial arts (MMA) organisation One Championship, after she lost to China's Xiong Jingnan in Tokyo, Japan on Sunday (March 31).
Lee, 22, lost the strawweight title bout via technical knockout (TKO) in the fifth and final round, at One's A New Era event at the Ryogoku Kokugikan indoor arena.
One atomweight champion Lee, fighting for the first time since May last year, showed little signs of ring rust early in the bout, but appeared exhausted in the championship round.
A bodyshot by Xiong set her up for a flurry of shots which Lee could not defend, before the referee called the stoppage.
Lee had come close to forcing a submission from Xiong in the fourth round after locking in an armbar, but the 31-year-old Chinese fighter refused to tap out despite major torque on her right elbow.
The defeat is Lee's first - she had won all nine of her previous MMA fights - and improved Xiong's record to 17 wins and one loss.
Prior to Xiong's win, there was plenty of drama elsewhere.
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) star Eddie Alvarez was stunned by Timofey Nastyukhin, losing via TKO in the first round in his first fight since his high-profile signing in October last year.
Demetrious Johnson, another former UFC champion, fared better on his One debut, beating Yuya Wakamatsu with a guillotine choke in the second round.
One bantamweight champion Kevin Belingon, meanwhile, lost his title bout with Bibiano Fernandes via disqualification for illegal elbows to the back of the head.
But Fernandes refused to be awarded the belt after the match, gesturing he did not want to win the title via disqualification, before swiftly leaving the cage.
In the main event, submission specialist Shinya Aoki won the lightweight title in front of his countrymen after choking former champion Eduard Folayang out with an arm triangle in the first round.