Christian Lee predicts first round finish at ONE: ‘Heart of the Lion’
Despite having only five days to prepare for the show, Christian Lee didn’t hesitate to accept a fight against Kazuki Tokudome at tonight’s ONE: ‘Heart of the Lion’ event in Singapore.
Perhaps the most disappointing part of taking the fight had nothing to do with a lack of preparation time but rather that Lee was essentially replacing a bout that was pulled from the card that involved his sister Angela Lee.
Angela was unable to compete this weekend due to a back injury and her pursuit of a second world title was stalled when ONE Championship ultimately pulled her from the strawweight title fight against Xiong Jingnan.
That’s when her brother got the call to accept a fight against Tokudome at a catchweight with only days to prepare.
“It’s actually kind of a funny story. It was on the plane ride over (to Singapore). My dad had Wi-Fi on the plane and they asked us if we wanted to take the fight in Singapore. I said, ‘Sure, no problem. Let’s do it.’”
Lee lives by the motto that if you stay ready, you never have to get ready. He trains all year round and had no doubts about taking the fight on short notice.
“I am extremely prepared. We train year round, and I’m prepared to face anyone, anytime. When I got the call, I was excited. There were no second thoughts. It’s a great opportunity for me, and I love coming here to Singapore and fighting in front of my friends and family.”
As far as the matchup goes, Lee is looking to bounce back from a disqualification in his last fight after he spiked his opponent on the head using a technique which is not permitted under the current ONE Championship ruleset.
It was unfortunate because Lee was coming off a split decision loss to Martin Nguyen in a five round championship fight. In the space of a year he’s gone from being the number one featherweight contender to staring down the barrel of a two fight losing skid.
His 9-3 record is still impressive when you consider that all 12 fights have taken place under the ONE Championship banner. But Lee wants another shot at the featherweight title and knows a win tonight would be a big step in the right direction,
“I feel like Tokudome is a very well-rounded opponent,” Lee said.
“For the most part, he’s a generalist, but he does have a good, fast straight left and good wrestling. I feel like he’s more of a counter wrestler. He’s judo-based with some fast hands. I’ll be looking for that.”
A fast starter
Anyone who has watched Lee’s previous matches will know that he fights like a man in a hurry. The split decision loss to Nguyen was an anomaly, but in every other bout he has come out all guns blazing as soon as the opening bell sounds.
He had been expecting to face Tokudome later this month in Manila. So in that respect the lack of notice shouldn’t have an impact on the fight, as both men are in an identical situation.
For Lee the gameplan is the same as always. He’s going to attack right from the offset and isn’t expecting his opponent to make it out of the opening round.
“I see this fight starting very quick, and I see it ending in a first-round submission. I’m going to go out there, I’m going to pick this guy apart, and I’m going to show him something no-one has ever showed him before.”