The Unstoppable People's Champion, Angela Lee! | The Fighting Spirit Digest no.1

Angela Lee went 11-3 in her career and was the first ONE Atomweight World Champion. In honor of her achievements, and the thrilling ride that came with it, let me introduce you to the first edition of The Fighting Spirit Digest. We'll be looking at her biggest fights all the way up to her emotional retirement.

In 2015, she worked her ONE debut in a strawweight victory against Aya Saber. She'd win quick, locking in an armbar in round one. One year later, she'd win the Atomweight belt and start breaking records. 

The video embedded above, running in at two hours, will serve as the main attraction for this set. With that introduction, let us go ahead and dive right in.

We're starting with her battle against Stamp from last year at ONE: X. Now, I'd be lying if I didn't admit a bit of bias here as I am a huge fan of Lee's opponent and I was rooting for a different result when this ran live. Angela deserved this victory, though, and was a true force that Fairtex was simply unable to overcome.

It was one hell of a performance and one hell of a way to start off this showcase release!

We moved quickly on to her fight with Xiong from ONE's 100th show. This one was admittedly far more competitive and saw a nice mix of standing and ground work. Remember, Xiong was perhaps the biggest thorn Angela had during her time in ONE, as the two would face off a total of three times in all and Lee would only manage to win one of them.

Both L's were title matches, too.

Regardless, this aired contest was the sole victory Lee held over Xiong Jing Nan and featured the same outcome as the last one. It just took almost all five rounds to get there. Throughout, we saw a never say die attitude and some fine technical execution along the way. I sincerely love Lee's ground game and she really looked like a threat in this one, nearly winning on several occasions prior to her eventual victory right before the final bell was due to ring out.

Fighting spirit defined!

Check out her rivalry with Xiong here.

Next, Mei Yamaguchi and Lee's 2016 battle to crown the first ONE Women's Atomweight Champion.

The fight was a grueling battle with a nice intensity level that saw both digging deep. She'd actually only face Mei twice in her run; beating her both times. It'd take all five to do it both times.

A reminder, but Mei was already hitting ten years in the game at this point and is by no means a pushover opponent. Lee had to indeed work hard to get the job done both times. In this one, she overcame a lot of punishment and looked like a damn star.

She even tried to hit a diamond cutter, folks. Was Lee the people's champion? Fuck it, I'll go with that!

Istela was the next victim; only capable of lasting 1.5 before tapping out! Her efforts to survive the first were admirable, but a well-locked anaconda proved too much. Hell yeah!

In the 5 spot, we jump back a bit to watch Lena eat an L to Lee in the latter's 4th fight for ONE and, for the 3rd time of the set thus far, it'd end in the second. Angela was fucking lethal with the rear-naked choke, wasn't she?!

This wasn't nearly as polished as a performance for Lee, which is fair given it was her first year in the company, but a win is a win and you could clearly see that she was a damn star in the making.

Angel versus Mei II ran immediately after. As mentioned before, this also went five. The bar was set high from their previous encounter, considered by some to be one of the best women's fights of all time. Mei was nearly unstoppable for a period before COVID, but she just couldn't figure out how to put away Angela.

She tried her best, though, that's for sure!

In all, I'd argue that they certainly delivered decently on the promise set by their previous war. If anything, it was a slight step down but only by a small bit and not in enough of a way to complain in the slightest. In fact, there was a story being told here in this two fight series that I really enjoyed.

Mei felt she could take down the champ here and take the strap. She had a confidence despite their past result thanks to a win streak and it helped her stay alive regardless of what was thrown at her. It didn't matter, because Lee was simply better. Sometimes, it doesn't matter how hard you try because someone will always be better than you in some way. While no third fight will ever happen, it wasn't needed either. See, it doesn't matter because...Lee is a better fighter.

Again, sometimes someone will just be better than you.

That borderline great fight was followed by first TKO. That's right, the submission queen rocked Jenny and ended the action in the 3rd. The champ outclassed Jenny, making her look completely out of place. She looked freaked, in fact.

She clearly had every reason to, because Lee was on fire here. It was like playing the computer in a UFC game on easy. She kept stepping forward with complete confidence of her abilities, throwing stiff as she went and I consider this proof that Lee was more well rounded than some gave her credit for. Call it a squash that ran a bit. While Angela was a beast, her opponent's performance didn't allow for this to truly reach must-see levels, but it was a nice addition to the set regardless.

Last up, Rebecca Heintzman-Rozewski giving up in the second round while Lee tried her best to behead her opponent. Angela ran straight in and largely controlled the movement here as they went along. She never felt as if she was truly at risk of defeat and basically bullied Rebecca here.

Note that the style of this video saw fights jump straight in and trimmed out the content between rounds, largely pushing the action forward at all times. Something to know for those that'd care.

Her brother, Christian, is pretty damn good, too. Something to consider watching if you're wanting to see what I mean. If you want more Angela content, here's an interview you might enjoy and here's a special video package I found, too.

In all, this featured two top shelf fights alongside some very good additional pairings. One of the weaker links was a nice showing of her earlier days and the other two were dominating displays. Truly, this was just two-hours of entertainment and did well to showcase Angela's career.

We end the set not with the video embedded at the top, but with the one immediately above these words. This saw Lee walking out to the cage, belt over her shoulder and tears in her eyes. Her sister, Victoria, was a fighter as well. Tragically, she took her own life. As a result, her family shut down their Hawaii facility and she retired from the sport. It was very emotional 

I miss ONE Championship Weekly. It was a fun way to watch the roster, but if you want to watch some awesome mma content featuring one of the sport's best ever than I encourage you to take the dive I did for this set. Do that and tell me Angela Lee wasn't everything I've said she was her today in the above print.

I fucking dare you.

Thank you, Angela. Your career was amazing.

RIP Victoria.

Angela Lee's Craziest Fights in ONE Review Roundup

  • Lee b Stamp B-ClassπŸ’₯
    ONE: X, Second Round Submission Victory via Rear-naked Choke.
  • ONE Atomweight Title: Lee(c) b Xiong A-Class πŸ’₯
    ONE: Century, Fifth Round Submission Victory via Rear-naked Choke.
  • ONE Atomweight Title: Lee b Mei A-Class πŸ’₯
    ONE: Ascent to Power, Victory through Unanimous Decision to become the inaugural champion!
  • ONE Atomweight Title: Lee(c) b Nunes B-Class πŸ’₯
    ONE: Dynasty of Heroes, Second Round Submission Victory via Anaconda to retain.
  • Lee b Tkhorevska C-ClassπŸ’₯
    ONE: Spirit of Champions, Second Round Submission Victory via Rear-naked Choke.
  •  ONE Atomweight Title: Lee(c) b Mei B-Class πŸ’₯
    ONE: Unstoppable Dreams, Victory through Unanimous Decision to retain.
  • ONE Atomweight Title: Lee(c) vs Jenny C-ClassπŸ’₯
    ONE: Warrior Kingdom, Third Round TKO Victory to retain (punches).
  • Lee b Heintzman C-ClassπŸ’₯
    ONE: Tribe of Warriors, Second Round Submission Victory via Neck Crank in a catchweight fight.
Overall Video Rating: B-Class πŸ’₯
This did pretty damn well to showcase just how awesome Lee was at this sport. She truly was the people's champ and should be remembered as one of the best women to ever put on the gloves. Check this out and experience why Angela deserves nothing but respect!

The Fighting Spirit Digest uses a S, A, B, C, D, and F Class System.

S: Truly elite fights.

A: Exceptional.

B: Good stuff.

C: Average, but fine.

D: Below average.

F: Dumpster fires.

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