She was born in Canada, grew up in Hawaii, and relocated to Singapore.
And "homesick" mixed martial arts fighter Angela Lee admitted the overwhelming pressure and emotions almost did her in when she represented the Republic in the One Championship Pride of Lions event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium last night.
Her Filipino opponent Natalie Gonzales Hills had assumed top position in the first round of their strawweight bout and Lee looked to be in trouble and was in danger of being the only Singaporean fighter to lose a fight on a night of great athleticism and entertainment.
The 19-year-old, who pulled off a reverse in the nick of time, and won by submission in 2min 24sec, said: "I recently relocated to Singapore for two months now and it's quite difficult because I'm very close to my family in Hawaii and I miss them a lot.
"I felt so much pressure fighting here for the second time and I was overwhelmed.
"But everyone at Evolve MMA took me in, I'm more adjusted to Singapore and now I have two families.
"My opponent came out strong like I predicted and I froze, but I managed to snap out of it, got top position, slipped my hook in and pulled off the Twister submission move that I have been working on."
As she improved to a 3-0-0 record, Lee has now won all her bouts by forcing her tap outs, and she is happy to earn a reputation for being the Submission Sweetheart.
"I'm a tough girl, I can take punches and I'll try to improve in all areas. I have been working a lot on striking and I hope to show more of it in the future," she said. "Submissions are also part of my game plan and I'll try to stay well-grounded."
Lee's victory capped a perfect outing for the three Singaporean fighters, all from Evolve, who featured last night.
Singapore featherweight champion Benedict Ang required two out of the three rounds to despatch 34-year-old Indonesian Yohan Mulia Legowo, who continuously goaded Ang, only to have his own corner stop the fight before the third round began.
Ang, a 19-year-old who is also unbeaten with a 2-0-0 record, said: "Yohan is a veteran and he has the advantage in terms for experience, but I wanted it more than him.
"Even if he doesn't go down, I still kept up the pressure, knowing I will win in the end.
"I don't think I was saved by the bell when he executed the guillotine on me at the end of the first round after my takedown. I knew how much time was on the clock, and decided to go for the takedown because I wanted to mix things up a bit.
"That guy is tough but I managed to hit him. I'm happy to get the win without going to the judges' decision."
Singapore's muay thai champion Amir Khan also emerged victorious in his featherweight bout via a technical knockout after raining punches on Filipino Jimmy Yabo, who tapped out just before the first round ended.
Amir, a 21-year-old who is now on 4-2-0, said: "I didn't feel tired at all. I played him around and finished him off in the first round the way I wanted.
"I tried new stuff like the spinning kick, improved on my agility and composure and I believe Benedict, Angela and I proved tonight that Singaporeans can fight."
This article was first published on November 14, 2015.
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