- Souza fought Lee in September 2021, and suffered a second-round TKO loss to the highly regarded MMA prospect
- Lee, the 18-year-old younger sister of two ONE champions, died in December, having not fought since she beat Souza
Victoria Souza felt the same way everyone did when she learned that rising 18-year-old ONE Championship star Victoria Lee had died.
“I could hardly believe it,” the 25-year-old Brazilian, who will meet Linda Darrow at Saturday’s ONE Fight Night 7 event in Bangkok, Thailand, told the Post this week.
“It made me very, very sad.”
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Lee died on December 26 of last year, though news of her death did not get confirmed until early January. Her cause of death has not been made public.
Souza, as the many stories covering the American’s death noted, was her final opponent.
The pair met in September 2021. It was the sixth fight of Souza’s career, and the third of Lee’s. Lee won the fight by second-round TKO, reaffirming herself as one of the brightest young prospects in the sport.
“She was a very good MMA fighter,” Souza said. “It was very sad.”
“I have a younger sister, and I recently lost somebody in my family too,” she added. “I can only send my feelings to the [Lee] family.”
Lee had been scheduled for a January 14 fight with Zeba Bano at the time of her death.
Souza (6-1) rebounded from her loss to the American with a stoppage win over Paula Vieira outside ONE last September.
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She views Darrow (6-0), her opponent for Saturday’s card in Bangkok’s famous Lumpinee Stadium, as a tough but surmountable challenge.
“She’s a counter striker,” she said of her adversary. “She tries to end the fight early, but I can end the fight early as well.
“I’ve adapted my game plan really well, and I’m really confident it’s going to work.”
A win on Saturday would be Souza’s first in ONE, but she is hopeful that it will be the first of many, and aims to eventually capture the promotion’s atomweight MMA title, which has been held by Lee’s older sister Angela – one of ONE’s greatest champions – since 2016.
Lee’s older brother Christian is also a champion in ONE, with the promotion’s lightweight and welterweight belts currently locked in his trophy case.
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This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.
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