MMA: Angela Lee keeping eye on ONE Atomweight Grand Prix


Posted at Aug 19 2021 02:51 PM

ONE atomweight world champion Angela Lee
ONE atomweight world champion Angela Lee. Handout photo

Reigning ONE women's atomweight champion Angela Lee will be watching closely when ONE: Empower takes place on September 3.

The all-women's pay-per-view event will feature the first round matches of the highly-anticipated ONE Women's Atomweight World Grand Prix, with the winner eventually earning a shot against Lee.

The tournament features eight of the world's best atomweight fighters. But there is one particular match-up that has grabbed Lee's attention -- the showdown between top-ranked contender Denice Zamboanga of the Philippines and dangerous veteran Seo Hee Ham of South Korea.

"Denice is the so-called number one contender. Seo Hee Ham is a great new addition to the ONE Championship roster and she comes with a lot of experience. By far, their matchup is the one I'm most interested in," said Lee.

Lee memorably figured in a heated back-and-forth through media and social media with Zamboanga last year, after the Filipina said that Lee should vacate her world title due to her pregnancy.

Zamboanga is the top contender at the atomweight division, and was already pencilled in for a shot at the belt when ONE chief executive Chatri Sityodtong announced the Filipina as next in line to challenge for Lee's title.

Seo, on the other hand, is a well-respected veteran coming into ONE Championship. Many feel the South Korean fighter is the dark horse to win the entire tournament. Lee is inclined to share this sentiment, but also cautions against underestimating Zamboanga's capabilities.

"I'm very excited to see Seo Hee Ham when she makes her debut in ONE. She's definitely one of the most experienced fighters in the tournament. She's definitely one that I'm going to be keeping my eye out for," said Lee.

"I'm very excited to see how she matches up with Denice. That match is going to set the tone for the rest of the tournament," she predicted.

Lee said she would give the edge to the Korean fighter "because of her experience."

"But with that being said, at the end of the day, it is a fight. You don't count anybody out," she added.

Lee is already back to work after giving birth to daughter Ava Marie a few months ago, and she made it clear that she remains the queen of the division.

"This is my division," she declared. "I've been champion of this division since 2016. Every opponent, every contender, I've put them away. I think it's been a little while since I've been in the cage. Maybe people forgot, but definitely I'm here to stay and I'm very excited to get back in the cage."

ONE: Empower is scheduled to broadcast live on September 3. In the main event, ONE women's strawweight world champion "The Panda" Xiong Jing Nan defends her title against Michelle Nicolini.

Apart from the ONE Women's Atomweight World Grand Prix, fans can also look forward to many exciting contests, including the debut of kickboxing superstar Anissa Meksen, who faces Cristina Morales in a ONE Super Series contest.