“Unstoppable” Angela Lee is the comeback queen. On Saturday, 26 March, the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion returned from a two-and-a-half-year layoff due to pregnancy and motherhood and then overcame adversity in the ONE X: Grand Finale main event to retain her gold in stunning fashion.
Lee was hurt badly by a body shot from challenger Stamp Fairtex in round one at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, but she managed to survive and secure a second-round submission in this thrilling MMA clash.
It was clear Lee wanted the match in close as she stepped in behind her punches after the opening bell, but Stamp did a good job of defending against the Circle Wall and stayed upright.
Out in the open, it looked like a finish was just seconds away when the Thai megastar sent “Unstoppable” reeling backward with a left hook to the liver.
However, the reigning queen clinched up and held on before taking the challenger’s back and attacking for a rear-naked choke throughout the remainder of the first stanza.
The Singaporean-American stuck to the plan in round two and pressed forward with boxing combinations to close the range and take hold of the Fairtex striker.
Lee then threw her foe to the canvas and set to work. Stamp scrambled out of an attempt to take back control, but she moved straight into a tight triangle.
Somehow, the 24-year-old found enough space to survive, though there was no respite as “Unstoppable” dominated the transitions and moved into a wince-inducing twister.
The ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix Champion continued to hold out, but Lee eventually got what she wanted.
The 25-year-old took Stamp’s back again, flattened her out, and started to fish for the rear-naked choke.
Finally, with just 10 seconds left in the second stanza, the United MMA and Evolve MMA product slid her left arm under her foe’s neck to elicit the tap and retain her World Championship gold.
It was a remarkable win for “Unstoppable,” who halted Stamp’s incredible MMA rise and prevented the former ONE Atomweight Muay Thai and Kickboxing World Champion from becoming a three-sport queen.
As a result, the defending titleholder also earned a $US50,000 performance bonus from ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.
Moving to 11-2 and still undefeated at atomweight, Lee held her daughter, Ava Marie, in her arms and told commentator Mitch Chilson post-fight:
“This little girl right here is the reason you guys saw the best performance from me. I trained harder than ever and pushed myself more than ever. Because of her and because of my amazing team – United MMA and United BJJ – I transformed into this World Champion you see today. So thank you, Ava Marie. Mama did it for you, baby girl.” (ONE FC)
(Photo credits to: One Championship)