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“Time to take that belt back” - Can Christian Lee regain the ONE lightweight throne?

Christian Lee [Photo Credits: ONE Championship]
Christian Lee [Photo Credits: ONE Championship]

On September 24, 2021, former lightweight world champion Christian Lee suffered defeat at the hands of South Korea’s Ok Rae Yoon in a bout that still has a lot of people talking almost a year later.

That night, the two met at ONE: Revolution. Then the challenger, Ok, earned a unanimous decision over ‘The Warrior’ in a fairly controversial decision. Lee, who immediately called the decision “bullsh*t,” demanded a formal review. He was granted it, but in the end, the promotion’s competition committee voted to uphold the decision.

The general fan sentiment, however, appeared to have Lee clearly winning the contest. With a late rear-naked choke submission attempt in the second and after dropping the South Korean with a crushing right hand in the third, Lee appeared to be up on the scorecards.

The final 10 minutes of the contest saw both fighters slow down drastically, something Lee attributed to reduced sparring during his training camp leading up to the contest.

Still, it appeared that Lee had caused enough damage and potential fight-ending sequences to get the nod. But the judges saw it differently and Ok Rae Yoon was crowned the new lightweight world champion.

“I have a lot of respect for Ok Rae Yoon but I won that fight,” said Lee following the decision.

In a recent Instagram post announcing his rematch with Ok Rae Yoon, Lee shared the full card for the upcoming ONE 160, which the two will headline.

“Rematch is set. Time to take that belt back.”

The event will take place live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday, August 26. The pair will get to determine once and for all who the true lightweight world champion is.

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Christian Lee needs to keep it out of the judges' hands at ONE 160

Looking at what Christian Lee needs to do to walk away with the lightweight crown is a tricky question. Most would agree that he should never have lost the title to begin with, but there are areas of improvement that could give Lee an undeniable victory come August 26.

The biggest and most obvious way is to leave it out of the hands of the judges. Typically easier said than done, Lee will aim to finish Ok Rae Yoon. Not to say he didn’t aim for a finish in their first outing, but it was clear that fatigue began setting in as the fight moved into the later rounds. With a better camp and cardio conditioning, Lee could take over in the latter rounds where Ok usually begins to fade.

In a previous interview, Lee confirmed that his cardio was compromised due to a reduced training camp as a result of COVID-19 in 2021. Even so, Lee delivered a significant amount of damage in the first three rounds of their ONE: Revolution battle.

If Christian Lee walks into the circle with improved cardio, there is no reason to believe he can’t take over altogether and put away the South Korean in the championship rounds.

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Edited by Harvey Leonard
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