MMA: Angela Lee going for the knockout in One Championship rematch with Mei Yamaguchi

Angela Lee, who is making her comeback to the cage following a car accident in Hawaii last November, predicted the fight would end in a knockout.
Angela Lee, who is making her comeback to the cage following a car accident in Hawaii last November, predicted the fight would end in a knockout.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Anticipation is mounting for what could be the most compelling fight night from One Championship yet, as the mixed martial arts promotion held a press conference at Marina Bay Sands on Monday (May 14)ahead of Friday's Unstoppable Dreams event.

The fight card at the Singapore Indoor Stadium features three world title bouts, with the main event a rematch between reigning women's atomweight (52kg) champion Angela Lee and Japanese fighter Mei Yamaguchi.

Lee (8-0-0) and Yamaguchi (17-10-1) had clashed previously at the same venue in May 2016 with Lee eking out a decision victory, the only time in her career she has been taken the distance.

Lee, 21, is making her comeback to the cage following a car accident in Hawaii last November, and predicted the fight would end in a knockout.

"I've been working hard and I feel like I'm in the best possible mindset. We're both explosive fighters and I think it's going to be a knockout kind of night," said the American, who fights under the Singapore flag.

"It definitely helps knowing that I've fought Mei previously but I know she's been working hard and I'm not expecting the same fighter from two years ago. At the same time, I'm not the same fighter I was two years ago either."

Yamaguchi also said she would not be leaving the outcome to the judges this time.

Said the 35-year-old: "I don't need a decision against Angela. I will work hard on the ground of course but I want to show more of my stand-up game too."

There will be two Lees fighting for a world title belt on Friday, with Angela's younger brother Christian (9-1-0) set to take on dual title-holder Martin Nguyen (10-2-0) for the latter's featherweight (70kg) belt. Nguyen is also the lightweight (77kg) champion.

The Australian was responsible for the younger Lee's lone defeat to date, winning via a first round guillotine choke in August 2016.

"The last time we fought I was still very young in my career. I have a new sense of maturity now," said Christian, 19, who will become One's youngest male champion should he win. "I'm bigger, stronger, faster and smarter and on Friday night I will end up with the belt."

The press conference was a largely congenial affair but Nguyen had apparently already fired a first salvo on social media.

Asked about a recent post in which he made an oblique reference to Lee with the hashtag #yourenotready, Nguyen said: "That's all fun and games, mind games. I'm sure he's well-prepared. I'll leave that in the minds of the media how they want to play it - and in the mind of Christian."