MMA: Christian Lee plots first-round KO to reclaim controversially-lost One C'ship title

Christian Lee (right) grappling with Ok Rae-yoon during their One Championship lightweight world title bout on Sept 24, 2021. PHOTO: ONE CHAMPIONSHIP
Christian Lee (left) lost his One Championship lightweight world title to Ok Rae-yoon on Sept 24, 2021. PHOTO: ONE CHAMPIONSHIP

SINGAPORE - Christian Lee has been given the opportunity to set things right as he sees it.

Mixed martial arts (MMA) organisation One Championship announced on Tuesday (July 5) that Lee has a chance to reclaim the lightweight world title he lost 10 months ago when he takes on South Korea's Ok Rae-yoon in the headline bout of the One 160, which will take place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on August 26.

In September last year at the One: Revolution event, also in Singapore, Ok earned a disputed unanimous decision win over Lee in their title bout after a five-round battle.

Fuming after losing his belt, Lee demanded an "instant rematch" during the post-fight interview and called the decision "bullshit". It was an uncharacteristic reaction from the usually-measured Lee.

He even lodged a formal protest against the decision, which was upheld after a review by One's competition committee.

The defeat still stings Lee, 24.

While he admitted he "did not have the ideal fight camp" prior to the fight due to pandemic challenges, Lee doubled down on his belief that he beat the 31-year-old Ok.

"In terms of One Championship's judging criteria - damage, near finish, you know, takedowns... I feel like I won in every area that I needed to," he said.

"But the fight went to a decision. He was able to last all five rounds.

"And in my opinion, Ok's best trait is just being able to survive. He likes to defend.

"He likes to defend the strikes, he likes to defend the takedowns, and then he waits for his opponents to get tired, and then that's when he tries to capitalise.

"So to his credit, that's what he did - he survived, but I still feel that I won the fight."

Despite insisting he did enough in their first encounter Lee, an American with a Singaporean father and South Korean mum who fights under the Singapore flag, said he will approach the rematch with a revised approach.

While he did not go into detail, he said he would "change things up, and I think there's going to be a big difference going into this rematch".

His main aim is to avoid leaving the decision in the judges' hands again.

Asked for his fight prediction, Lee confidently replied: "I see myself knocking him out in the first round."

  • Tickets for ONE 160 will be available on pre-sale from Thursday, before public sale begins next Monday. Registration for the pre-sale can be done here.

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