Christian Lee On Iuri Lapicus: It’s Going To Be A First Round Finish
ONE lightweight champion Christian Lee made it a clean sweep last year, defeating all three of his opponents. Including the Japanese submission specialist Shinya Aoki at ONE: Enter the Dragon in May, and Saygid ‘Dagi’ Arslanaliev at ONE: Century in October.
‘The Warrior’ is now set to defend his belt against the undefeated Moldovan Iuri Lapicus (14-0), the 24-year-old who moved to Italy from his home country when he was 15, and now lives and trains in Milan at Team Petrosyan.
Lapicus has finished every opponent he’s ever faced. He made promotional debut against Shannon Wiratchai a year ago, and then faced the former ONE featherweight champion Marat Gafurov, at ONE: Warrior’s Code in February, defeating them both via rear naked choke.
Lee explained to ONE Championship why Lapicus will be at his best when they face each other.
“My initial impression of Iuri Lapicus is that he’s a dangerous, hungry young competitor,” Lee said. “He is undefeated in his professional career, and I know he is riding off a great submission win over Gafurov.
“His confidence is going to be at an all-time high. I think, right now, he’s going to be feeling the best he has ever felt in his career so far. I think that will bring out the best of him when he steps into the ring with me.”
Nonetheless, the 21-year-old has never lacked confidence in himself.
“When I was fighting at featherweight, I felt that I was the champion,” Lee said. “When I moved to lightweight, I felt that I was the champion.
“That’s just the mindset that I carry over into my training, which carries over into my fights. My mindset has always stayed the same – I was just able to bear the fruits of my hard work and training in my two most recent fights.”
The Evolve and United MMA representative conquered the division and now believes that his experience and skill set will be too much for Lapicus when they step inside the ONE Circle, especially if the match goes to the championship rounds.
“I’m sure he is training his butt off, and he is willing to step up to the plate,” Lee said. “I feel that I’m just deeper in every area. I’ve gone championship rounds, and I don’t think he can last five rounds in there with me.
“Most of his wins, most of his finishes, happen in the first round. I think he is still a little bit raw in that aspect. He is used to getting a quick finish over opponents who he can steamroll over. I will definitely be his biggest test to date and his toughest opposition.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to train with many judo practitioners and kickboxers, and I feel that he is dangerous in both areas. But I’ll be ready.”
Despite being confident that he can take Lapicus into ‘deep waters’ and outclass him over the course of five rounds, Lee predicted a first-round finish.
“I don’t like to say these things too often because I don’t like to give anything away, but it’s going to be a first-round finish,” Lee asserted.
Lee and Lapicus were scheduled to face each other at ONE: Infinity 1 on May 29th in Manila, but the show was postponed due to the COVID-19 restrictions, as were all ONE’s events in May. The match is expected to take place as soon as the situation with coronavirus improves.
Who do you think wins between Christian Lee and Iuri Lapicus when they finally step into the ONE Circle?