“Unstoppable” Angela Lee had many people doubting if she could return to her famous form after spending time out of the Circle to focus on motherhood. But last Saturday at ONE X: Grand Finale, she showed the world that she hadn’t missed a beat.
On 26 March at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, Lee stepped back into the Circle after over two years away and left with the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Championship still wrapped tightly around her waist.
Stamp Fairtex was the challenger for Lee’s return bout, and many had the Thai sensation pegged as the only star in the atomweight division who could snatch the belt from the longtime champion.
The Fairtex athlete became ONE Championship’s first two-sport world champion in 2018, and she won the ONE Women’s Atomweight Grand Prix Championship last December. With nearly 100 professional bouts to her name, the 24-year-old was an impressive 8-1 in MMA going into the headlining scrap.
This bout was never going to be easy for Lee, who said as much before their meeting.
“Stamp is highly credentialed. She is a [ONE] Muay Thai and Kickboxing World Champion. She has been at the top, and she knows what it takes to get to the top. I’m not overlooking her,” Lee said.
“Unstoppable” found herself in danger in the early stages of the bout, as Stamp landed a powerful shot to the body that sent the champion scrambling for safety. She then worked to enter the clinch and kept the Thai fighter close so that she could gain some recovery time.
Eventually, the 25-year-old grappling expert took her opponent down and began working for a submission. While Stamp was unable to escape, she labored and shifted positions to make Lee’s attempts unsuccessful.
Round two saw the Singaporean-American immediately shoot for a takedown to avoid any further striking exchanges, which were clearly Stamp's forte.
Again “Unstoppable” transitioned between submission attempts, and it appeared that Stamp would once again manage to emerge unscathed. But with only seconds left in the frame, Lee sank in a rear-naked choke and squeezed tight.
Despite Stamp’s fortitude, the former two-sport World Champion had no other choice but to submit. With that, Lee earned her fifth successful title defense – and a US$50,000 performance bonus for good measure.
Up next, ONE: RELOADED goes down at the Singapore Indoor Stadium later this month on 22 April.