Angela Lee has revealed she was suffering from pneumonia before her fight with Istela Nunes in 2017. The former atomweight champion is now retired but has been on several podcasts discussing the ups and downs she experienced during her fight career.
She recently appeared on the Keep it Aloha podcast and was asked about the biggest tests she faced. Lee immediately recalled the atomweight title fight at ONE: ‘Dynasty of Heroes’,
“One of my title fights I got diagnosed with pneumonia on the week of the fight and i was on antibiotics and struggling to make weight because antibiotics affect your body, your weight, your water retention.”
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Lee was headlining the card at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, which had Ben Askren defending his welterweight title in the co-main event. She submitted the Brazilian midway through the second round for the eighth win of her career and the audience probably wouldn’t have been aware that anything was amiss.
While Lee got the result she wanted her celebrations were curtailed. The Hawaiian had to throw up almost immediately after the fight,
“I told myself going into that fight I could not go five rounds like this because I was coughing and throwing up so I got the finish in the second round and immediately after I ran out the cage and I was throwing up.”
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) July 5, 2023
At the time Nunes was the #1 contender and had never lost a fight. It was expected to be a tough test for Lee but no-one realized just how difficult the fight week would turn out to be.
Lee knew she would not be able to last more than two or three rounds and was delighted to finish the Brazilian with an anaconda choke inside the opening ten minutes,
“That was a big moment. I was like ‘Angela you’re pretty hardcore, you did that’.”
Lee would go on to dominate the division for many years to come before announcing her retirement last month. Nunes registered one more win for ONE Championship before signing for the UFC and losing four out of four in the octagon.
If only the Brazilian has been able to survive for a few more minutes an illness stricken Lee would surely have run out of steam. But they don’t call her ‘Unstoppable’ for nothing and she passed one of the toughest tests of her career with flying colours.