Missing from those in attendance was her closest confidant, her best friend, and her husband – Bruno “Puccibull” Pucci.
Grounded in Hawaii since January, Pucci has been unable to travel outside of the United States as he waits for the outcome of his green card application.
With the historic rematch between “Unstoppable” and “The Panda” set for ONE: CENTURY, the Brazilian’s travel restrictions might soon be lifted, which is good news for him and his wife.
“I just received a notice that they are about to finalize my travel documents and schedule an interview,” Pucci said. “This looks like the last step, so fingers crossed that I get to travel to Japan with Angela this time.”
In his wife’s first encounter with her Chinese opponent at ONE: A NEW ERA, Lee put up a valiant effort. In the fourth round, the match looked to be over when the Singaporean locked up an armbar on Xiong.
To everyone’s disbelief, “The Panda” managed to survive the armbar and rally back in the fifth round to score a decisive TKO victory.
Pucci, who had to watch the bout unfold from his living room, is now confident things will go differently on 13 October.
Love aside, he has good reason to favor Lee in her second duel with Xiong.
“Watching their last fight, I felt like Angela was winning the whole match. Sometimes life isn’t fair, but it happens,” Pucci recounted. “She gave everything in that fourth round, and so she was gassed going into the fifth.”
At United MMA, where the couple trains, “Puccibull” has a first-hand look at his wife’s preparations and training camp leading up to the historic rematch.
“She’s always rounding out her game. That’s what she’s been working on the most,” he said.
Pucci is also convinced that, unlike the first time, fans can expect a well-conditioned Lee in Tokyo.
“She’s going to come back in really good shape. Remember, it’s another weight division, and ‘The Panda’ is stepping down. I don’t think she’s ever made 115 pounds before,” Pucci added.
Inhabiting the same weight class as “Unstoppable” for the first time, Xiong might be pegged as the underdog.
The two-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi World Champion hopes his wife’s natural weight class confers her best advantage – familiarity.
“Angela’s made 115 pounds many times, and she knows how things work for her own body,” he continued.
“She’s competed at the highest level at that weight,” Pucci said. “I’m not sure if ‘The Panda’ has the same thing going for her in her training camp – maybe that’s an advantage on paper for Angela.”
Although the roles are now reversed, with Xiong as the challenger, “Puccibull” is confident his wife will retain her ONE Women’s Atomweight World Title with a decisive victory.
“I think Angela is going to finish Xiong within two rounds,” Pucci said. “I think she’s going to submit her.”
If Lee can finish “The Panda” in her biggest comeback yet, it could be a showstopper at ONE: CENTURY, the biggest World Championship martial arts event in history.
The stage for the ultimate rematch is set as The Home Of Martial Arts features 28 World Champions, four World Title bouts, three World Grand Prix Championship Finals, and four World Champion versus World Champion matches at the Ryogoku Kokugikan on 13 October in Tokyo, Japan.
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