Iuri Lapicus Wants Christian Lee Next After Shocking Submission

Team Petrosyan's Iuri Lapicus cracks Marat Gafurov in February 2020

Iuri Lapicus announced himself as a legitimate contender for the ONE Lightweight World Title with arguably the most stunning performance at ONE: WARRIOR’S CODE.

Last Friday, 7 February, the undefeated Moldovan sensation finished former ONE Featherweight World Champion Marat “Cobra” Gafurov with a rear-naked choke after just 67 seconds in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Lapicus is thrilled about the result, and even more excited about the potential opportunities it has opened up for him.

“I feel great, it is the best result I could have ever imagined! I am really satisfied to see that all the work and dedication I have put into my training camp gave such a great outcome,” he reveals.

“[The win] felt amazing, but for me, it is just another victory to add to my record. I stay humble and confident, but I know that finishing a former ONE World Champion in such a spectacular fashion will give me an extra boost in the rankings, giving me the chance to target the World Title shot.”

The Team Petrosyan representative wasted no time at the Istora Senayan as he swung hard punches at his opponent and then blasted “Cobra” with thudding leg kicks that forced him into a hasty takedown attempt.

Lapicus reacted with a beautiful harai goshi that sent Gafurov crashing to the canvas.

“I knew that his leg conditioning was lacking a bit so I tried to chop them down to set the ground for the takedown,” he says.

“The harai goshi is one of my favorite moves when I am in that kind of clinch situation. For sure he underestimated me, my clinch, and grappling game, but I saw in his eyes that he felt my first punches and kicks and realized that he was in big trouble.”

From there, the Milan resident moved swiftly to his rival’s back and locked on a tight rear-naked choke – the Russian’s own trademark submission – to finish the bout.

Lapicus anticipated a much more grueling encounter against one of The Home Of Martial Arts’ most successful competitors, but he has no complaints about his flawless victory.

“Honestly, I was expecting a really tough match over three rounds. I was 100-percent physically and mentally ready for the battle and ready to go all the way with a former ONE World Champion,” he explains.

“At first I did not even realize how fast the bout went. Then I sat down and watched it many times and realized that I ended the match in such a short time.

“I could feel that he didn’t realize how fast I was moving to his back, and when he realized it was too late because I was choking him already. I know that rear-naked choke is his signature move, but it is also one of my favorite ones!”

Iuri Lapicus defeats Marat Gafurov ONE WARRIOR'S CODE

With a career-best victory wrapped up in little more than a minute, the 13-0 lightweight now believes the ONE Lightweight World Championship is within his reach.

Though he recognizes his division is stacked with talent, if he had his way, reigning king Christian “The Warrior” Lee would be next on his agenda.

“I am really curious to know where this win puts me in the division, but I think in the top five,” Lapicus says.

“I know what I can do in the ring and I strongly believe I belong with the world’s elite fighters. I want to return as soon as I can. I feel great and I am in the best shape of my career. I love this sport so much and being in the ring is my natural way of expression and the reason I work so hard every day.

“Go big or go home – I say I would like to face Christian Lee next!”

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