The ONE Championship women’s atomweight division just got hotter with the addition of Japanese mixed martial arts veteran Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi (15-8-1).
She’ll make her ONE Championship debut against none other than Singapore’s “Unstoppable” Angela Lee (5-0) at ONE: ASCENT TO POWER set to take place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on 6 May.
The 33-year-old Yamaguchi is 14 years Lee’s senior, and will bring an incredible amount of cage experience to give the 19-year-old Lee her biggest test to date.
“I have more experience and I can control where I need to be aggressive and where I need to be calm,” said Yamaguchi. “Angela [Lee] is young and can be very aggressive, it may be [hard] keeping that pace the whole time.”
Yamaguchi is the current Deep Jewels atomweight champion and Valkyrie featherweight champion, and will now look to add the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Championship to her collection.
For Lee, many observers felt it was only a matter of time before the Singaporean prospect was given a title shot. She has strung together five amazing victories by submission in her first five bouts as a professional fighter for ONE Championship, Asia’s largest and most prolific mixed martial arts promotion.
Unbeaten both as an amateur and as a professional, Lee is perhaps the hottest prospect in Asian MMA right now in every sense. She’s skilled, gorgeous, and needs an average of just under four minutes to stop an opponent.
Stretching back to Lee’s amateur career, she’s won eight straight, and all of her bouts have ended within the distance, with seven submission victories and one technical knockout. Some say Lee is the best female fighter in Asia, and for good reason.
Yamaguchi knows she is most likely entering the bout as a prohibitive underdog, and will approach Lee in exactly that manner.
“Anything can happen in a fight, sometimes you panic,” said Yamaguchi. “From my experience, I try to calm down but at the same time, you have to be aggressive. It’s a balance.
“I know [Lee] is a really aggressive fighter. I think she’s trying to be more aggressive. That’s her strength that I need to be aware of.”
Since there’s a title on the line, the fight will consist of five, 5-minute rounds. Lee has only been past the first round twice in her career, in tough battles against Lena Tkhorevska and Rebecca Heintzman, her two most recent bouts. Yamaguchi, on the other hand, has won most of her fights by decision. She has a chance to bring Lee into deep waters.
One thing Yamaguchi feels she can capitalize on is Lee’s lack of adequate stand-up skills.
“I think her kickboxing technique is a bit rough compared to her ground game,” said Yamaguchi. “Angela needs to be worried about my striking. I’m short, Angela has more reach, but as a short fighter, I can do more inside. I think that’s what she’s never experienced before.”
ONE: ASCENT TO POWER will be headlined by a middleweight clash between ONE Middleweight World Champion Vitaly Bigdash and challenger Aleksei Butorin. The card will be held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on May 6 and will be ONE Championship’s first show in Singapore for the year.