Champion Angela Lee upset in non-title fight by Michelle Nicolini at ONE: Masters of Destiny

July 12, 2019

Angela Lee suffered her second successive defeat at Friday’s ONE: Masters of Destiny in Kuala Lumpur. She was beaten by former teammate and training partner Michelle Nicolini after a close and competitive contest that went the distance.

This non-title strawweight bout at the Axiata Arena pitted together two BJJ black belts and turned out to be a three-round grappling match. Nicolini scored her first takedown at the beginning of the fight, only for Lee to reverse and spend the rest of the round in top position.

At the start of the second stanza, Nicolini looked desperate for the takedown and ended up underneath her opponent after trying to catch a kick. The Brazilian was able to reverse and found herself in butterfly guard, looking to pass.

She put on a BJJ clinic to move from half guard to side control to mount, but couldn’t capitalize with any strikes or submission attempts and Lee reversed to finish another round in top position. The momentum seemed to be with Nicolini, but with so few significant blows landed it was up for grabs going into the final round.

Nicolini again tried for a single leg, but Lee easily evaded the tired attempt and ended up on top, throwing elbows. The Brazilian refused to release the leg and eventually ended up on top in side control, an almighty scramble followed and it finished with the 37-year-old on top.

The fight seemed to be drifting out of Lee’s reach, but with one last burst of energy she reversed and found herself in top position with approximately a minute remaining. Nicolini tried for an armbar, but it never troubled the younger fighter who landed some punches and took her opponent’s back moments before the bell.

All three judges scored the contest for Nicolini who improves to 6-2 and can consider herself a contender in the strawweight division. Lee drops to 9-2 and it remains to be seen whether her atomweight title defense booked for ONE: Century will push through after back-to-back losses.

Earlier in the night, Ev Ting (17-6) scored a stirring second-round comeback against Daichi Abe (6-4). The UFC veteran looked significantly bigger and dropped the Malaysian early in the opening round, but was submitted with a rear-naked choke right at the end of the second round.

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ONE: Masters of Destiny Results

  • Michelle Nicolini def. Angela Lee via Decision (Unanimous)
  • Ev Ting def. Daichi Abe via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 4:44 of R2
  • Gurdarshan Mangat def. Abro Fernandes via Decision (Unanimous)
  • Jihin Radzuan def. Jomary Torres via Submission (Triangle Choke) at 3:07 of R1
  • Kickboxing: Troy Worthen def. Chen Rui via TKO (Punches) at 3:29 of R2
  • Kickboxing: Hiroki Akimoto def. Kenny Tse via Decision (Unanimous)
  • Kickboxing: Janet Todd def. Kai Ting Chuang via Decision (Majority)
  • Dae Sung Park def. Kimihiro Eto by TKO (Punches) at 1:59 of R2
  • Aleksi Toivonen def. Akihiro Fujisawa via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 3:27 of R1
  • Muay Thai: Mohammed Bin Mahmoud def. Saiful Merican via Decision (Unanimous)
  • Adrian Mattheis def. Zhe Li via TKO (strikes) at 1:51 of R2
  • Bozhena Antoniyar def. Bi Nguyen via Decision (Split)
  • Muay Thai: Sorgraw Petchyindeeacademy def. George Mann via Decision (Split)
  • Kickboxing: Josh Tonna def. Yoshihisa Morimoto via Decision (Unanimous)