MMA prospect Victoria Lee died at age 18 in December 2022, and the last woman to face her inside the ONE Championship cage was shocked to hear the news.
Victoria Souza, who returns to the ONE ring Saturday against Linda Darrow in Thailand, said on this week’s Trocação Franca podcast she was “very sad” when she saw Angela Lee announce the death of her younger sister on Jan. 7, nearly 10 days after she had passed away.
“I was very sad, especially for her family,” Souza said. “I have a little sister who’s 20 and she’s like a little baby to me. I keep thinking how her family must have felt, to lose a kid like that.”
Lee beat Souza via second-round TKO in September 2021 to improve to 3-0 in a span of seven months as a professional MMA fighter, and the Brazilian expected to meet her a second time later in their careers.
“I thought I would do more fights at ONE and we would have the opportunity to rematch in the future, but unfortunately that won’t be possible,” Souza said. “She was so talented and had a brilliant future. To lose a 18-year-old girl like that must have crushed her entire family. I couldn’t believe it.”
Angela Lee and her brother Christian Lee, both champions at ONE, have not disclosed the cause of death.
“I wish God has welcomed her,” Souza said. “There are no words to comfort the family. I lost an aunt last month and it’s so sad to lose a member of the family like that. There are no words to be said.”
Souza was making her ONE debut at the time after winning five in a row in the Brazilian circuit, and returns to Asia five months after scoring a 82-second stoppage in her native country.
“I’m super excited and prepared for this fight,” Souza said. “My game was very limited when I fought at ONE, I didn’t let things go. It was my first time fighting for an international promotion, and I more free now. I’ll let things go and be more aggressive.”
Souza said she was “more cautious” in her ONE debut because “they score the fight entirely instead of round by round, so I didn’t take many chances.” Used to the ruleset now, “Vick” plans on being more aggressive Saturday.
“I’m feeling more confident now,” Souza said. “I’ve watched all her fights and she has the ability to finish the fight quickly, but so do I. We both can finish the fight early, but my game is more complete than hers. She’s never fought a girl like me.”