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No homegrown star has shined any brighter in One
Championship
than Christian
Lee
.

The 22-year-old Evolve MMA export will defend his undisputed
lightweight title against Timofey
Nastyukhin
in the
One on TNT 2
main event this Wednesday at Singapore Indoor
Stadium in Kallang, Singapore. Lee enters the match on a five-fight
winning streak that includes four finishes. He last appeared at One
Championship “Inside the Matrix” on Oct. 30, when he dismissed the
previously unbeaten Iuri
Lapicus
with first-round punches.

As Lee prepares for his title defense against Nastyukhin, a look at
five moments that have come to define him at this stage of his
career:

1. Teenage Dream

Lee was a 17-year-old prodigy when he made his professional mixed
martial arts debut at One Championship “Spirit of Champions” on
Dec. 11, 2015 inside the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
He could not have made a stronger first impression, as he cut down
David
Meak
with punches in just 29 seconds. Lee applied maximum
pressure with stinging leg kicks and crisp punches. Meak turned his
back in retreat, only to be blindsided and floored by a left hook
from the teenager. Lee whiffed on a soccer kick before referee
Olivier Coste could arrive on the scene, but the job was done and
it was clear One Championship had a true blue-chip talent on its
hands.

2. Rude Awakening

Shares in Lee stock were surging by the time he faced Martin
Nguyen
in a One Championship “Heroes of the World”
featherweight showcase on Aug. 13, 2016 at Cotai Arena in Macau,
China. He was 5-0 with five first-round finishes, albeit against
less-than-stellar opposition. Lee’s efforts did not go according to
plan against the equally skilled Nguyen, who choked him unconscious
with a standing guillotine 4:30 into the first round of their
encounter at 155 pounds. Nguyen countered effectively throughout,
sat down the Evolve MMA prospect with a ringing left hook and
snatched the guillotine soon after. Lee fought valiantly to free
himself from the Australian’s clutches but lost his grip on reality
due to lack of blood flow to the brain. Nguyen moved on to capture
the promotion’s undisputed featherweight crown a little more than a
year later.

3. Kryptonite

Lee failed in his bid for revenge at One Championship “Unstoppable
Dreams,” where he wound up on the wrong side of a split decision
against Nguyen in their co-main event rematch. To make matters
worse for the Hawaiian, the organization’s featherweight title was
on the line in the back-and-forth affair. Lee raced out to a strong
start, as he struck for a takedown, achieved full mount and
ultimately threatened the champion with brabo and guillotine
chokes. Action between the two men stalled in the second and third
rounds, where they were twice warned for timidity. Nguyen seized
control with a takedown in the fourth and remained calm and
composed in the face of steady but ultimately ineffective pressure
from the challenger in the fifth, denying takedowns and leaning on
clean counterpunching to improve to 2-0 in his head-to-head series
with Lee. Nguyen remains the only man to legitimately defeat “The
Warrior.”

4. Intestinal Fortitude

After back-to-back losses to Nguyen and Edward
Kelly
—the latter by disqualification due to an illegal
suplex—Lee returned to form at the expense of Ultimate Fighting
Championship veteran and former Pancrase titleholder Kazuki
Tokudome
in the One Championship “Heart of the Lion”
co-headliner on Nov. 9, 2018 at Singapore Indoor Stadium in
Kallang, Singapore. There, “The Warrior” took care of the seasoned
and well-regard Tokudome with punches 3:07 into the first round.
Lee returned to his feet after being taken down, dropped his
Japanese adversary with a right hook and climbed to full mount
before eventually transitioning to the back. He then flattened out
Tokudome and unleashed an endless barrage of punches to prompt the
stoppage, the crowd roaring its approval.

5. Legendary Approval

Lee completed his transformation from prospect to organizational
superstar under the One Championship “Enter the Dragon” marquee on
May 17, 2019, as he put away the legendary Shinya Aoki
with second-round punches at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang,
Singapore. Aoki bowed out 51 seconds into Round 2 and in doing so
turned over the undisputed One Championship lightweight crown to a
man 15 years his junior. Lee withstood a harrowing first round in
which he was mounted twice and found himself entangled in an armbar
from the Japanese grappling savant. However, he managed to draw
Aoki deeper into the match and let his lethal hands do the rest.
Early in Round 2, Lee backed up “Tobikan Judan” with punches,
eventually sat him down in the corner and closed the door with
follow-up shots to the face.


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