When Malaysia’s Keanu Subba pulled out of a much-anticipated matchup against fellow ONE Championship prospect Christian “The Warrior” Lee due to injury, attention immediately turned to who the replacement would be. That challenger is Dutch featherweight Anthony “The Archangel” Engelen.
Engelen (4-1) will take on the surging Lee (2-0) in a three-round catchweight contest at ONE: UNION OF WARRIORS, which takes place 18 March at the Thuwanna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar. “I’m very excited about this bout,” said the 30-year old Engelen from Gelderland, Netherlands.
I FEEL WE ARE QUITE EVENLY MATCHED AND THAT MEANS IT WILL COME DOWN TO DURABILITY.
A few weeks after the Lee-Subba bout had been announced, Subba revealed he had suffered an injury to his right elbow that caused him to withdraw from the matchup. At the time, Engelen was just celebrating his victory at ONE: TRIBE OF WARRIORS in Jakarta last February, where he defeated Filipino prospect Rocky “The Outlaw” Batolbatol via first round submission.
“After a week off to reload myself, I got straight back into training,” said Engelen, who received the call from ONE Championship following Subba’s withdrawal. “Having another fight so soon is just an opportunity for myself to showcase my ability as an MMA fighter.”
Engelen boasts solid striking skills, coupled with technical grappling acumen. He has two submission victories as well as one victory by technical knockout on his fight resume.
Although Engelen fell short of a win in his promotional debut against Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ace Bruno Pucci, he’ll get the chance to redeem his grappling credentials when he takes on Lee, the youngest fighter on ONE Championship’s roster, 13 years his junior.
“I’ve met Christian [Lee] outside the cage several times. Aside from him being a good athlete, he’s also a nice guy, and I’m looking forward to meeting him inside the cage,” said Engelen.
Despite the short notice, Engelen believes he has adequate time to prepare for the challenge presented to him. Though Lee is most certainly a dangerous opponent, the fact that Engelen was just in camp for Batolbatol and that he was in competition not too long ago, will ultimately help his case for victory.
“There is no need to make up for lost time. I just continue to train hard,” said Engelen. “I feel we are quite evenly matched, and that means it will come down to durability.”
Lee is a former Pankration world champion with two wins in MMA since turning professional just last December. He’s unbeaten and riding a youthful exuberance that saw him score a pair of spectacular first-round finishes in Asia’s largest and most exciting mixed martial arts promotion.
Lee joined Evolve MMA in Singapore, one of the best martial arts gyms in Asia, which is incidentally where Pucci, the last man to beat Engelen, trains. When he isn’t at Evolve, Lee is hard at work at United MMA in Hawaii, where he is a native of Waipahu.
As such, Engelen will have to bring everything he has to the table when he steps inside the ONE Cage across Lee, who is known for his varied submission attacks.
Engelen, however, is sure he’s going to give fans a good fight, and he’s going to win. “It’s going to be a good fight. One that will definitely be enjoyed by all the fans,” he said.
“I predict my victory by submission in the second round.”