‘I Have To Prove Myself’ – Ok Rae Yoon’s Road Back To Lightweight Gold Starts At ONE Fight Night 10
In the opening contest of ONE Championship’s monumental debut on U.S. soil, ONE Fight Night 10: Johnson vs. Moraes III on Prime Video, former lightweight king Ok Rae Yoon will make his long-awaited return.
The South Korean star will kick off his journey back to the divisional crown when he faces Hawaiian powerhouse Lowen Tynanes at the sold-out 1stBank Center in Colorado on Friday, May 5.
When Ok enters the Circle that evening, it will be his first appearance since dropping the ONE Lightweight World Title to Christian Lee in their rematch at ONE 160 last August.
In that headlining battle, Lee pressured the Team MAD representative with his explosiveness and all-around game, eventually finishing off the South Korean via TKO to win back the gold.
It was a tough pill for Ok to swallow, but the 32-year-old admits that he wasn’t in top form. But as the old adage goes, ‘you win or you learn,’ and the former lightweight king took away a valuable lesson from that night in Singapore.
“The higher the level, the more I need to take care of my body. Before that, I competed at a level where even if you were in poor physical condition, you could cover it with your skills. But that night, I felt that even a tiny [detail] was crucial when competing with the best in the world.”
Now, several months removed from that loss, the former titleholder is focused on his immediate goals.
After competing only once last year, Ok wants to fight more frequently in 2023 and, more specifically, secure a World Championship trilogy bout with Lee. With both men deadlocked at 1-1 in their series, the South Korean would love to break the tie and reclaim the gold he previously held.
The Team MAD product said:
“First of all, since I lost the last match, I have to prove myself in the next match. I have to justify the next fight or two, and if I do that, I think I’m qualified, as Christian Lee did the rematch right away.”
Ok Rae Yoon Is Unfazed By Lowen Tynanes’ Grappling
Ok Rae Yoon’s path back to the ONE Lightweight World Title begins with Lowen Tynanes, and he is no easy test. In fact, the Hawaiian had long been considered “the next big thing” in the weight class.
A ONE Championship veteran since 2013, the American possesses some of the division’s most feared wrestling and grappling abilities. Moreover, he has lost only once in his storied career, falling on the wrong side of a split decision in December 2020.
And while Ok gives due credit to his opponent’s formidable ground game and physical prowess, he doesn’t expect Tynanes to present anything he hasn’t seen before.
The South Korean said:
“[Tynanes’] ability to control grappling is excellent, and he has great strength. He is a fighter who weaponizes this to force pressure. Then, he creates opportunities and fights his own style. However, I’ve been dealing with very strong grapplers, so I respect Lowen’s grappling, but I think I can handle him.”
Indeed, the South Korean has faced and defeated some of the planet’s best grapplers in his promotional tenure.
Specifically, Ok beat three World Champions to open his ONE career, rocketing himself to the lightweight crown and becoming the organization’s MMA Fighter of the Year in 2021.
With that championship-level experience in mind, the former divisional kingpin is brimming with confidence ahead of his showdown with Tynanes on May 5.
“Ever since I’ve started fighting in ONE Championship, I have fought against fighters with a style similar to Lowen Tynanes. Marat Gafurov, Eddie Alvarez, and Christian Lee all feel like they have better grappling compared to Lowen Tynanes’ grappling. So, I think there will be no problem as long as the performances in the previous matches can come out.”