Christian Lee says Saygid Izagakhmaev is “definitely a clear contender”

(left) Christian Lee and (right) Saygid Izagakhmaev [Credit: ONE Championship]
(left) Christian Lee and (right) Saygid Izagakhmaev [Credit: ONE Championship]

Two-division world champion Christian Lee can’t deny that Saygid Izagakhmaev has a clear pathway to a world title shot.

At ONE 163, the Russian native made quick work of MMA veteran Shinya Aoki under the two-minute mark to steal the No.3 spot in the rankings. Currently on a five-fight win streak, including three under the ONE banner, Izagakhmaev is by and large a serious threat to Christian Lee.

Besides welcoming a future world title matchup with Saygid Izagahkmaev, Lee hopes there’s some traction on a new rumor that has circulated within the MMA community. Speaking to ONE Championship, the Evolve MMA representative had this to say about the Russian wrestler:

“I think that he’s doing great. Definitely a clear contender in the lightweight division right now. I don’t see anyone else with the kind of momentum that he has. I heard talks about him fighting Dagi [Arslanaliev] one more time before the title shot but I’m definitely open to fighting him right away.”

Sitting at No.2 in the rankings, adding Saygid 'Dagi' Arslanaliev into a world title picture could definitely shake things up for Izagakhmaev. Having built most of his career fighting out of ONE Championship, Arslanaliev is known to bring absolute carnage into every fight.

He crossed paths with Christian Lee back in October 2019 at the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Final, and while Arslanaliev came up short in defeating Lee, the fiery matchup didn’t lack in bringing the entertainment factor.

Despite Saygid Izagakhmaev being a clear contender for the crown, if he can get past ‘Dagi’ Arslanaliev, who shares a similar sambo-based fighting style, beating Christian Lee for the lightweight belt could really raise the stakes.

Christian Lee says Kiamrian Abbasov brought out the best in him

Christian Lee had one of the most memorable fights of his career when he faced Kiamrian Abbasov at ONE on Prime Video 4 for the welterweight world title. With less than three months to prepare for a match of this caliber, many assumed Abbasov would win, given his strength, size, and experience.

Unbelievably, Lee defied the odds with another engrossing performance, finishing the Kyrgyzstani champion via ground and pound in the fourth round.

Grateful for the experience and for Abbasov for putting his belt on the line, Lee told his fans at the ONE on Prime Video 4 post-event presser:

“This was the toughest fight of my career, and you know, Abbasov brought out the best in me, I feel like I brought out the best in him. It was definitely not an easy fight but all the training and hard work that I put in, was able to pay off when the time came down to it.”

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Edited by Allan Mathew