Christian Lee Predicts First Round Finish At ONE On TNT 2
ONE lightweight champion Christian Lee promises a first round finish against Timofey Nastyukhin in the ONE on TNT 2 main event on April 14th.
Lee is coming off a first round TKO win over Iuri Lapicus last October at ONE: Inside The Matrix, while Nastyukhin is coming off a unanimous decision win over Pieter Buist last November at ONE: Inside The Matrix 2.
The Russian has eleven first-round finishes to his name in his fourteen wins, with seven knockouts and four submissions. Speaking exclusively to Asian Persuasion MMA, Lee said that although he expects Nastyukhin to come out all guns blazing at him at ONE on TNT 2, he’s prepared for everything and will come out on top on the night.
“I think Timofey is a very dangerous opponent,” Lee said. “He’s a very skilled competitor and he’s done very well in his career in ONE Championship so far. I think he’s going to be looking to bring his game, he’s going to be looking to take my head off in there, and I’m very prepared and I’m very confident that I will finish the night with my hand being raised well.
“I see myself getting my hand raised with a first round finish over Timofey Nastyukhin.”
Pieter Buist vs Lowen Tynanes
In a potential lightweight title eliminator yesterday in the ONE on TNT 1 co-main event, Eddie Alvarez was disqualified for illegal blows to the back of Lapicus’ head. There’s also another key lightweight matchup coming up between Pieter Buist and Lowen Tynanes at ONE on TNT 4, which Lee will be keeping a close eye on.
“I think that’s going to be a great fight,” Lee said. “I see that fight probably ending in a decision, but they’re both tough competitors, it’s either going to Lowen taking down Pieter or it’s going to be Pieter keeping it on his feet and out pointing Lowen. That one can really go either way [because they are] pretty evenly matched.”
After beating Martin Nguyen to win the featherweight title at ONE: Inside The Matrix, Thanh Le said that he would love to move up in weight to challenge Lee. While the United MMA representative praised the Vietnamese-American for his performance, he said that the new champ should focus on his own division for now.
“I think Thanh did a great job in his performance that night to win the belt,” Lee said. “I also think there’s a lot of great fights coming up in the featherweight division, so we’ll see. I heard Thanh wants to fight [me] but I know he’s got his hands full in his division himself, so I think it’s going to be interesting how that division shakes out in the next few months.”
Helping Angela Prepare
In light of Angela Lee announcing her pregnancy last October, ONE Championship announced the ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix, which will begin at ONE: Empower on May 28th. The winner of the tournament will get to challenge Christian’s sister, when she returns to the ONE Circle.
While Christian thinks the Grand Prix is a great idea, he said that he’ll only pay serious attention to the winner, so that he can help Angela prepare to face her.
“I do play a big part in helping my sister get ready for her matches,” Lee said. “I start to pay attention when she has a specific opponent lined up in front of her and that’s when I’ll help her get ready and get a game plan going. With the Grand Prix, I think it’s great that they’re doing that because there’s no clear contender in her division.
“She’s won the inaugural belt for the women’s atomweight division and you know, since then she’s really taken out all of the major contenders in that division. I think it’s great that they’re doing tournaments to see who’s the clear contender and once there’s somebody that climbs up to that number one spot and is ready to challenge my sister, that’s when I’ll start to take notice and get her ready for that sort of specific opponent obviously.”
Proud Of Victoria
The 22 year old also said that he’s proud of his younger Victoria Lee, who made her professional MMA debut in February at ONE: Fists Of Fury, submitting Sunia Srisen in the second round.
“Extremely proud of Victoria, it’s just amazing that at 16 years old she was able to go in there, stay composed, stick to her game plan and finish her opponent, and you know, she wasn’t going in there with just a feeder,” Lee said. “She was going in there with an experienced opponent and she was able to do an amazing job. So, [I am] very, very proud of her.”
ONE On TNT
ONE on TNT 2 will be broadcast in the United States on primetime, and Lee is excited to be part of the historic ONE on TNT series.
“I’m very excited and I’m very honoured to be headlining a show on the TNT Network,” Lee revealed. “I’m happy that I can just tell my friends and family back home in Hawaii to turn on TNT on primetime and watch me compete. I am just very excited to be putting on a show and I’m grateful for the opportunity.”
Do you think Christian Lee will finish Timofey Nastyukhin in the first round at ONE on TNT 2?