Monday, March 13, 2017

Weekend WMMA Wrap-Up

Road FC: 37 XX and ONE: Warrior Kingdom

There were a lot of female fights in Asia this weekend, thanks to Road FC, ONE, and Pancrase. 

If you live outside of Korea, Road FC streamed the entire event live on Youtube. The event took place on Saturday morning in the U.S. and it served as a nice showcase for the promotion. Road FC has accomplished what ONE has also accomplished. Both promotions have searched for and discovered young fighters with potential. Jung Eun Park, Ye Ji Lee, and Yuri Shim all picked up wins and looked impressive in the process. Both Park and Lee look to be developing and evolving despite rocky starts to their careers, which might have been cases of too much too soon. Park looked impressive but it was Lee who stood out. At just 17 years of age she avenged her loss to Satoko Shinashi. She used her size and tenacity to keep Satoko on the defensive for most of the fight but in the last round she seemed to tire. Even though she was tired she survived several submission attempts and could be a star for Road in the future. Road FC has also brought in some veterans. Emi Fujino picked up another win and looks to be enjoying her time with the promotion. In other news, it appears that Ham Seo Hee will be fighting for a championship later this year.

Ye-Ji Lee
- Raiko Emiko def. Jin Hee Kang (UD)
- Ye-Ji Lee def. Satoko Shinashi (UD)
- Jung Eun Park def. Na Young Park (TKO)
- So Hee Lim def. Hana Date (UD)
- Yuri Shim def. Shiho Harada (UD)
- Xiangje Wang def. Yoon Ha Hong

Angela Lee successfully defended her title for the first time in Thailand. Angela won the championship last year in one of the best fights of the year and looks to be one of ONE's top stars. Angela finished the previously undefeated Jenny Huang in the third round when Jenny verbally submitted after eating a stream of hard shots on the ground. If you didn't see the fight think of Khabib and Michael Johnson. I have been critical of the new system that ONE has utilized for deciding their weight divisions. When they restructured their weight divisions they essentially erases the actual 105 division, of which they had a number of fighters. This has forced a number of natural 105ers into their new Atomweight division where one can weigh in at 115. The size difference has been noticable. Angela towered over Jenny and Mei, both of whom are natural 105ers. Angela has looked very impressive up to this point in her career, so I would like to see ONE either create a new division for the old 105ers or bring in more natural 115ers as they develop the division. Outside of that, Angela is a star and seems to always have exciting fights.

Angela Lee
- Angela Lee def. Jenny Huang (Submission to strikes, 3R)
- Rika Ishige def. Audreylaura Boniface (TKO, 1R)

Ayaka Miura picked up a UD win in her Pancrase debut, but it was an unimpressive performance. Her coach, Ryo Chonan also seemed critical of her performance. The match consisted of Ayaka repeatedly throwing and landing head-and-arm throws. Once she landed the throw, she would spend the remainder of the round in the scarf hold position hammer fisting her opponents face. It wasn't until the third that she attempted an arm-triangle choke and also an arm-lock but it was too little to late and the match probably didn't have the affect that she was hoping for. It seems that she has been brought into Pancrase as a potential opponent for Syuri Kondo, to fight for a 115 title, but if she continues to underwhelm, Pancrase might find someone else.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Angela Lee Interview

ONE Champ Angela Lee
Courtesy of mmamania

Angela Lee will be defending her ONE Atomweight championship this weekend against the undefeated Jenny Huang. Angela burst onto the scene in 2015, is undefeated, and has finished 5 of her 6 opponents. At just 20 years of age, a star has emerged in ONE's atomweight division. Angela won the first women's championship for the organization, was the first woman to headline an event for them, and will be headlining again this weekend. I had the pleasure of interviewing Angela and you can read our interview below. Be sure to watch her fight Jenny Huang this Saturday on the ONE website for $9.99


CJ: Can you start by talking about your last fight? Having had time to watch it what stands out to you? How badly did the punch effect you in the opening of the third?
AL: My last fight was with Mei Yamaguchi on May 6th of this year and it was for the inaugural One Women's Atomweight title. We both fought very hard and it was a very technical and entertaining fight for fans around the world. I came into the third round flat on my feet and she came in with that punch right off of the bell. It definitely caught me off guard, but I was able to stay calm, defend myself, and then attack with numerous submissions.

Angela Lee
Courtesy of MMAfighting
CJ: You train at two locations. I read that for your last camp you spent 5 weeks at Evolve and 3 weeks at United. Can you talk about your training and what each gym offers you? Will you stick to this formula for future fights?
AL: I have been training all my life with United MMA. United MMA is my family's gym and we're based out of Oahu, Hawaii. My Dad is my Head Coach and has decades of coaching knowledge and experience, that he is constantly tweaking and improving. At United MMA, I can focus primarily on MMA. From the vast arsenal of striking and clinching, to wrestling and judo, to submission grappling and ground & pound, we feel that the seamless transitions from one range to the other is what makes all the difference in MMA.
AL: My brother and I recently joined the Evolve Fight Team last September. Evolve MMA is based out of Singapore and is known for their world class instructors who are all experts in their craft. The team consists of numerous world champions in different disciplines from Muay Thai, to Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu, to Wrestling. At Evolve MMA, I am able to train with the best fighters in the world and solely focus on improving these individual arts. I am extremely happy and grateful to be apart of these two teams. For future fight camps, I will most likely spend an equal amount of time at each gym (4 weeks at United MMA and 4 weeks at Evolve MMA).

CJ: In 2015, you really burst out of the gates, fighting 4 times and as of now, 2 times in the first half of 2016. Can you talk about your quick turn arounds? What is the benefit to fighting so often? Any negatives?
AL: Last year, I fought 4 times in less than 7 months and the reason my Coach allowed me to fight so often was because I took little to no damage and the fights all ended in less than 2 rounds. For me, it's simple: I love to fight. Fighting back to back meant that I would get to do what I love more often and so I was very grateful for the opportunity! I loved that I was always in fight camp because it enabled me to stay close to my fight weight and most importantly, keep that fighting mindset. Of course, that isn't for everyone and there are some fighters who prefer a long rest period after each fight. I think it all comes down to circumstances, personal preference, and how you look at it.

CJ: You've had all your professional fights for One. What has that been like? How did you get your first fight with them lined up?
AL: ONE Championship is an awesome organization. They treat their fighters very well and I'm very happy to be in ONE. My relationship with ONE started when my Dad/ Coach reached out to the VP and Matchmaker, Matt Hume. My Dad had trained with Matt 20 years ago in Seattle, so when we heard of ONE Championship and did some research, that is when we made the connection.

CJ: You and your brother both have dynamic submission games, including twisters and neck ties, can you talk about the evolution of your grappling game?
AL: Our submission game definitely stands out amongst others in the organization but I feel that's because our entire game as a whole is very dynamic. I feel that our MMA game is on another level and that's all thanks to years of brilliant coaching from our Dad. He taught us how to fight for MMA and self defense purposes, not just to score points.

Angela Lee with a Twister
CJ:You're already the One champ and quickly becoming one of One's biggest stars. Can you talk about this? What are your goals moving forward?
AL: I am so stoked to be living my dream! I wake up everyday with gratitude because I am so thankful for all of the many blessings in my life. I'm very happy in ONE Championship and I hope to help expand the Women's divisions as well as bring in new talent into the organization. I have a feeling that Women's MMA is about to take off in Asia and I plan on leading the way for more up and coming aspiring female fighters to pursue their passion.

CJ: Looking at the numbers, One is putting on more and more women's fights.  Can you talk about this from your perspective?
AJ: From last year to now, that there has definitely been a big jump in the number of female fighters being signed as well as WMMA fights being held in ONE Championship. I am thrilled about this and very excited about all of the progress that has been made so far.
When I fought Mei Yamaguchi at ONE's 42nd event, we made history in being the first ever female fight to headline a card. By winning that fight, I became the inaugural Atomweight Champion and simultaneously had the honor of becoming ONE Championship's first female champion. This is only the beginning for a new era of WMMA in ONE Championship and Asia.

CJ: One recently implemented a new weight class classification system and a new weigh in procedure, which you've gone through now. Can you talk about the changes? How have you adjusted?
AJ: ONE Championship has taken the lead in implementing a much more healthier and safer weigh in procedure. Athletes now fight at their walking weight instead of cutting the weight of 1 full weight division the night before. Instead of changing all of the weight classes, ONE changed each weight class limit to the maximum of the previous weight class above it. For example, I fight at Atomweight which is normally 105lbs in other organizations. In ONE Championship however, the Atomweight limit is now from 105lbs-115lbs. I previously fought at Strawweight (115lbs) and would usually cut about 4-5 pounds in the sauna. For my title fight in May, I had to modify my training regime and keep to a very strict diet to get my walking weight down to 115lbs, but it was definitely worth it. I like the new system because it's very beneficial for fighters in the long run and will definitely prolong their "fight life" (years in the sport).

CJ: What do you do when you aren't training? Do you have any hobbies?
AL: I love to spend time with my family, watching movies, trying new places to eat, and going to the beach with my American Bulldog puppy, Rocky.

CJ: Evolve hosts a number of great fighters. Have you had the opportunity to train with Dos Anjos, Aoki, Askren or any of the Muay Thai champions there? If so what was it like?
AL: At Evolve MMA I train with numerous world champions daily. Everyone there, including Rafael, Shinya, and Ben are amazing people and I feel very lucky to be able to train, share knowledge, and learn from some of the best in the world.

CJ: Are there any fighters that you look up to or enjoy watching?
AL: My Brother, Christian Lee. That boy is an absolute beast! He tears through the competition with his skill and tenacity. It's always such a treat being in his corner and watching him fight. Christian is an unstoppable force that's taking the Featherweight division by storm. He will be the champion in the very near future... Mark my words!

CJ: Thank you for your time, is there anything you would like to say?  Anyone you'd like to thank?
AL: Yes, I'd like to thank my family, my gyms: United MMA & Evolve MMA, ONE Championship, my friends and fans all over the world! Thank you for your continuous support! You guys are the best!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Road FC 3/11

In 2010, Road FC held their first event. In 2013, Celine Haga fought Masako Yoshida in Road FC's first female fight. In 2014, Ham Seo Hee returned to Korea to fight for Road FC. This Saturday, Road FC will hold their first all-female fight card. Road FC has been developing their female divisions over the past 4 years, with women taking part in more fights each year. In 2016, 8% of Road FC's professional fights were fought by women and if this weekend's event is any indication, Road FC is going to go past that number this year as well.

One of the exciting thing about Road FC is that they have signed a bunch of young fighters who are still developing. For those who are unfamiliar, the fighters that I would keep an eye out for are Jeong-Eun Park,Ye-Ji Lee, Emi Fujino and Satoko Shinashi. Park and Lee are young up and comers and Fujino and Shinashi are established veterans. Lee will actually be fighting Shinashi in a rematch. Lee had a rough start to her career as she lost to Shinashi and Hisae Watanabe but she has since picked up two wins and looks to avenge her loss.

The card will be going down this Saturday and will definitely be worth a watch.