Japan's Yamaguchi has no fear taking on Singapore's Lee in historic MMA fight at Indoor Stadium
Japanese fighter issues warning but Lee says historic title is not going anywhere
It was a prelude before the actual event tonight at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, meant to generate hype and stir up the excitement.
Approximately 200 people gathered at The Cathay to witness the ONE Championship: Ascent to Power official face-off yesterday and, while there was no action among the MMA pugilists, the crowd were still entertained.
Trash-talking and mind games were on full display as the 18 fighters scheduled to square off tonight in nine bouts went up close with their respective opponents to the cheers of the crowd.
The loudest cheers, however, were reserved for the combatants in the main event - local hero Angela Lee and Japanese veteran Mei Yamaguchi.
The duo will make ONE Championship history at the Indoor Stadium as they fight to claim the first Women's Atomweight title.
It got feisty yesterday when both fighters were asked about their chances of winning the belt.
Responding to Yamaguchi's claim that the title was going to follow her back to Japan, Lee said: "I'm sorry Mei, but the title is staying in Singapore."
Despite the media fanfare and overwhelming home support for Lee, the Japanese is confident of playing the role of party-pooper.
Speaking to The New Paper after the face-off, Yamaguchi said: "It's normal for everyone in Singapore to support her because she is a local girl, but that does not matter to me.
"No matter how large the support is for her, I will still be calm because I have the "Japanese Samurai spirit" in me and I have been through this before, so I know how to react to it.
"In fact, I feel that when people are cheering for my opponent, it gives me more power and determination to try and win."
The 33-year-old, who is schooled in the disciplines of karate and Brazilian jiu-jitsu and cites martial arts expert Jackie Chan as her inspiration, has also done homework on her undefeated opponent and is confident of her chances.
"Angela may have been fighting professionally for only a year but she has a lot of technique and she is also really aggressive, which is a good point.
"But sometimes she is too aggressive, which causes her to make some mistakes and I will be looking to capitalise on that tomorrow."
Yamaguchi has a professional record of 15 wins in 24 matches in contrast to Lee, who has only five matches under her belt.
But Lee, who has won all five contests, believes her opponent's experience will not come into play in their fight.
"I am not intimidated by her record, I am very confident in my skill set and I am looking to bring the fight to her tomorrow," said the US-based fighter.
"Winning the title here would be a dream come true, it would really be a fairy tale for me.
"Not just being the first women's champion but also the youngest and to represent both Singapore and Hawaii and also to be able to fight in Singapore will be the perfect scenario for me".