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“His place in the top five needs to be challenged” - Dagi Arslanaliev eyes rematch with Christian Lee

Dagi Arslanaliev (left) Christian Lee (right) [Photo Credits: ONE Championship]
Dagi Arslanaliev (left) Christian Lee (right) [Photo Credits: ONE Championship]

Ever since their bout at ONE: Century Part 1 in October 2019, Dagi Arslanaliev has been eager to run it back with former ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian Lee.

The two first squared off in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Championship Final. Arslanaliev fought his way to the final, defeating opponents along the way while Lee had a much easier path.

Lee was a late-notice replacement for original finalist Eddie Alvarez. On 10 days' notice, ‘The Warrior’ stepped in and defeated Arslanaliev via unanimous decision in a highly entertaining bout.

While speaking to ONE Championship, the 27-year-old was complimentary of Lee, but in a roundabout way, questioned his spot as the No. 1 ranked lightweight contender in the promotion:

“I don’t want to speculate about whether he deserves this place or not. I like him as a sportsman. He trains a lot, he can strike and grapple, and his stamina is good.”

Holding the No. 2 spot in the rankings, Arslanaliev believes that Lee’s position at the top needs to be challenged and that he is the fighter to do it:

“But his place in the top five needs to be challenged, and I should be the guy who does it. We do need a rematch. It is time to negotiate, sign [a contract], and execute it. A rematch with him and a title fight is what needs to happen. And if he wins? Ok, no problem.”
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Christian Lee is yet to return since his controversial loss to Ok Rae-yoon at ONE: Revolution

In September 2021, Ok Rae Yoon defeated then-champion Christian Lee for the ONE Lightweight World Championship. Ok’s decision victory was considered to be highly controversial, prompting ‘The Warrior’ to call for a formal review, claiming the judge’s decision was “bulls***.”

In an interview with ONE Championship following the contest, Christian Lee said:

“I am still the champion, I am still the best fighter in the world.”

‘The Warrior’ also expressed his intention to sit on the sidelines until Ok was ready to run it back:

“I’m ready to fight Ok Rae-yoon today. If he wants to fight, if he wants to do the rematch, we can do it as soon as possible. But if Ok is not ready, I’ll wait until he’s ready, and there’s no one else I want but him.”

Given his spot as the No. 1 ranked contender in the division and the controversial nature of the decision, a rematch between the two is certainly understandable, though ONE Championship has not made any official announcement regarding a potential rematch:

“To me seeing the belt be handed over to Ok, it just meant that everything I worked so hard for, to attain, was basically just robbed from me and given to another guy because of a decision of three judges.”

Watch Christian Lee vs. Ok Rae Yoon below:

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Edited by David Andrew
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