Angela Lee fights back Michelle Nicolini's claims
Lee says opponent Nicolini is 'stirring drama' about being beaten up in training
Mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Angela Lee suffered the first loss of her career when she was defeated by China's Xiong Jingnan four months ago.
Ahead of her comeback bout today, the ONE Championship star, who fights under the Singapore flag, already has had to fend off verbal jabs from her opponent.
Lee, 22, will face multiple Brazilian ju-jitsu world champion Michelle Nicolini , 37, in the co-main bout of the ONE: Masters of Destiny event at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur today.
In media interviews last week, Nicolini fired the first salvo ahead of the strawweight division (56.7kg) showdown.
Nicolini claimed that Lee beat her up while the pair trained together at Evolve MMA in Singapore, after the Brazilian had submitted Lee in a ONE Grappling Challenge bout in Macau in August 2016.
In a phone interview with The New Paper on Wednesday, the Hawaii-based Lee disputed her opponent's claims.
Lee, ONE women's atomweight champion, said: "She is just trying to stir up some drama.
"I trained with her twice in sparring sessions and in these sessions, we hit each other and if you don't like getting hits, that is not my problem.
"This is just business for me. I am not emotional about it and I am very focused on the match.
"If she wants to make it a TV drama show, that is not my problem."
Lee, whose record now stands at 9-1, suffered her first loss when she was defeated by Xiong in March.
But she will get to avenge that defeat in a rematch in Tokyo on Oct 31 when she defends her atomweight title against Xiong.
When asked if that bout in Japan, which will be for ONE's 100th show, might be a distraction for today's fight with Nicolini (5-2), Lee said: "Not at all. If anything, it is an added motivation.
"I want to get this fight done and win in an impressive way and then move on to October."
On what she had learnt from her maiden defeat, Lee said: "I took the loss as a lesson and I think I have grown leaps and bounds from it.
"I am looking forward to the rematch."
Despite having a blemish on her record, one thing that has remained intact in Lee's locker however, is profound self-belief.
When asked for her take on the bout with Nicolini, she said: "I am always confident going into a match. I am 100 per cent going to finish her."
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