Iuri Lapicus is eager to entertain the United States fan base on Wednesday, 7 April.
The spotlight is about to shine brightly on the Moldovan rising star, and he is prepared for the glitz, the glamour, and the world-famous knockout artist who will be standing across the Circle.
Plus, the 25-year-old dynamo wants to make a strong impression and a lasting impact on North American viewers.
“Facing Alvarez is complicated. Being in front of such a legend is not easy,” says Lapicus, the lightweight division’s #2 contender.
“He is a real living legend and a tough guy, so I am putting in as much work as I can in order to bring a great show to the fans.”
Ever since making his professional mixed martial arts debut in 2014, Lapicus has consistently impressed with his grappling expertise, slick striking, and immense knockout power.
The Moldovan bulldozer kicked off his career with 12 consecutive first-round victories on the European scene before earning a contract with ONE Championship.
From there, Lapicus dominated Thai mixed martial arts pioneer Shannon “OneShin” Wiratchai in his promotional debut to earn a third-round submission victory. He followed that up by shocking former ONE Featherweight World Champion Marat “Cobra” Gafurov with a rear-naked choke in just 67 seconds.
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That led to a ONE Lightweight World Title opportunity against the division’s reigning king, Christian “The Warrior” Lee, last October.
Lapicus made it exciting, as he dropped the Singaporean-American with a right hand in the opening seconds. The two continued to exchange positions on the mat, but ultimately, Lee secured the TKO and handed the Moldovan his first career loss.
“The match with Lee did not go the way I expected, and I think everyone saw that. But now, there is no time for regrets,” Lapicus says.
“Of course, it has been hard because I was expecting to win the title, but that’s life. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Now I have to take one step at a time, and I am focused on my next match in order to get ready.”
That match is against Alvarez, who owns one of the greatest career resumes in mixed martial arts. The Philadelphia native holds a 30-7 (1 NC) record, owns an 80 percent finishing rate, and has 15 first-round victories.
What’s more, he captured the Lightweight World Title in North America’s two biggest organizations and is motivated to replicate the historic feat in ONE.
For his part, Lapicus is very familiar with “The Underground King,” having followed his career closely as a youngster.
He also understands the importance of this match. Not only would a victory over an icon elevate his status among the mixed martial arts community, but it could lead him back to another crack at the ONE Lightweight World Championship.
To make sure he’s ready for this monumental co-main event, the Moldovan has been working alongside another legend in Kickboxing GOAT Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan and his crew at the Team Petrosyan camp in Milan, Italy.
“I am preparing for Eddie Alvarez, and I am 100 percent focused on this bout,” Lapicus states.
“If I win against Alvarez, it would be a watershed [moment] in my career. We are talking about a living legend of MMA. He fought against all the best in the game, and his name precedes him.
“I feel so confident because I want the ONE Championship World Title so bad, and this is the only way to have a second title shot.”
The spotlight will certainly shine brightly on Lapicus at “ONE on TNT I,” but he is ready to have a breakout moment and make a lasting impact on his road back to World Title contention.