One of Yangon’s bouts in particular has caught the eye of ONE Championship lead commentator and Fox Sports presenter, Steve Dawson.
As Angela Lee continues to make impressive work of all who stand in the cage in front of her, the rapidly-increasing collection of women who have fallen to the reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion are having to duke it out with each other.
Yamaguchi was involved in a tussle for the ages, when Lee won her crown on a heady evening in Singapore. She was ahead at the 15-minute mark, but fell to the champion’s admirable grit in the championship rounds.
Huang, according to some in her camp, wasn’t quite ready for a title shot when she took it in March, but the warrior herself was convinced enough, and put forth a valiant effort.
The Thuwunna National Indoor Stadium in Yangon is therefore in for a treat, as these two highly-skilled women work towards their shot at redemption. A win could put them in line for a rematch, or even a title tilt in a strawweight division that patiently waits for a champion to be crowned.
Huang (5-1) is an entertainer, lighting up the crowd with her walkouts, clearly relishing the chances that she’s given to perform. She is undoubtedly strong, and surprised many when she submitted April Osenio with a gogoplata, winning a Submission of the Year award and announcing herself as a title challenger.
Yamaguchi has shown startling power in the cage, especially in her Fight of the Year bout against Lee. The right hand that knocked the reigning champion on her back at the start of their third round came so close to catapulting us into a new timeline – one with the Japanese as champion, and Lee as a youngster with lessons still to learn.
The Japanese champion (15-10-1) is eight years older than Huang, and has excellent stamina. She couldn’t take the decision against Nunes, but is well-conditioned to finish three rounds, and even went a whole five rounds with Lee.
If Lee couldn’t submit the 34-year-old in 25 minutes, it’s tough to figure out how Huang can manage it in 15, although the Chinese Taipei representative has some innovative finishes of her own to draw upon.
Yamaguchi has a puncher’s chance to take this one inside the distance, but the likelier scenario is that the judges will award a decision.
I anticipate that Huang will be the aggressor on the ground, and that could be the difference. If Huang she can hold her own in the standup, she is more likely to come away with the edge.
Steve Dawson is ONE Championship’s lead commentator, a Fox Sports presenter and an author of sporting biographies. He can be found on Twitter & Instagram as @Gulasahi and on Facebook as Steve Dawson.