3 MMA Fights We Want To See In 2023

Christian Lee becomes the new ONE Welterweight World Champion

ONE Championship played host to incredible action over the past 12 months, which has led to some tantalizing prospects for the biggest names.

New World Champions were crowned, fresh contenders emerged, and previously unheralded athletes established themselves as rising stars.

With this in mind, there are so many exciting matchups that could be made in 2023. Here, we look at three of the most intriguing fights we’d love to see.

Saygid Izagakhmaev vs. Christian Lee 

After he was nearly finished by Kiamrian Abbasov in the first round of their November matchup, Christian Lee showed incredible heart to come back and claim the ONE Welterweight World Title via TKO.

Now a two-division king, “The Warrior” plans to defend both belts in 2023 – and he could start with an extremely dangerous challenger at lightweight.

That potential challenger is Saygid Izagakhmaev, who demolished former ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya Aoki inside 90 seconds at ONE 163, pushing his ONE slate to 3-0 and earning the #3 spot in the divisional rankings.

Since Lee has already defeated the two contenders above Izagakhmaev – #1-ranked Ok Rae Yoon and #2-ranked Dagi Arslanaliev – the surging Russian could be next in line for a World Title shot. 

Izagkhmaev would be the strongest wrestler Lee has ever faced, and he’s already earned victories via submission and TKO in ONE.

However, the Singaporean-American superstar has improved his all-around game in each appearance, and it would take a monumental performance to oust him from the lightweight throne.

Angela Lee vs. Ham Seo Hee

Although Ham Seo Hee‘s year ended with disappointment when her bout with Itsuki Hirata was canceled after Hirata missed weight, she remains one of the most exciting contenders in the atomweight division. 

Now ranked #2, the South Korean veteran has made a good case to challenge reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee in her next bout.

Lee has already beaten #1-ranked Stamp Fairtex, while “Hamzzang’s” ferocious striking style would make for a rousing battle with the durable Singaporean-American titleholder.

“Unstoppable” has continually improved her own striking to complement her formidable ground game, but Ham has the experience to hang with anybody, and her never-quit attitude means she would push the reigning queen from bell to bell.

The only guaranteed outcome would be an absolute thriller between two of the greatest women’s MMA fighters on the planet. 

Shamil Gasanov vs. Garry Tonon

As one of the breakout sensations of 2022, Shamil Gasanov is aiming high in ONE’a featherweight MMA division.

“Cobra” needed less than half a round to submit then-ranked contender Kim Jae Woong in his debut at ONE on Prime Video 3, and he wasted no timing in calling out #2-ranked Garry Tonon for his next encounter. 

With an undefeated 13-0 record overall, #5-ranked Gasanov has used his submission skills to overcome the vast majority of his opponents, but none of those opponents can match the grappling skills of Tonon – a multiple-time BJJ World Champion.

It’s clear the Russian wants the toughest tests, and Tonon would provide that. He came up short when challenging Thanh Le for the ONE Featherweight World Title, but his skill set can threaten anyone in the division.

The winner of this high-stakes matchup would position themselves for a shot at featherweight gold, which is currently held by Chinese knockout artist Tang Kai

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