Next Sunday, 13 October, he plans to put on a show and maintain his 100-percent finishing rate in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Championship Final against Christian “The Warrior” Lee.
The 24-year-old was scheduled to face Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez, but an injury to the American forced his withdrawal, and at first, Arslanaliev admits he experienced an array of negative emotions.
“I found out from Yusup Saadulaev, my manager,” he explains.
“He called me and said Eddie got injured and ONE was looking for a new opponent. I was very upset, of course, because I was preparing for Eddie and I was training really hard.
“I was angry, at first. I didn’t know who I would get instead of him, and my worst nightmare was that we might end up with no fight at all. So I prayed we would get an opponent.”
Even if his appointment at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan was saved, he was also concerned that he would get offered an opponent with less prestige than Alvarez.
While he hopes he will still get the chance to showcase his skills against the multi-time mixed martial arts World Champion, he is more than happy to face the man who currently holds the ONE Lightweight World Title.
“He is a good replacement, yes. He is a young, high-level fighter, already experienced. I don’t have any bad feelings about Christian,” he says.
“I look at it just purely from the competition point of view. He is an athlete, I am an athlete, and both of us are trying to achieve in our career.”
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Though he will face the division’s top dog next week, there will be many people who will favor “Dagi” in the match-up because of his tremendous recent form in the World Grand Prix.
The Dagestan native ripped through Ev “E.T.” Ting and Amir Khan in a combined 3:21, which continued his run of first-round knockouts that began against Timofey Nastyukhin last year.
Arslanaliev is reluctant to say whether he can extend his KO streak against Lee, but he does not rule it out, either.
“I never plan to finish with a quick KO, but I already have a plan for him,” he says.
“But, as we all know, nobody can guarantee that a fight will go according to plan. Maybe he has prepared something new, too, but of course, I will try and put on a good show.”
The man from Istanbul, Turkey, is impressed by “The Warrior’s” striking, which is no surprise after the stoppage of Shinya “Tokikan Judan” Aoki to win the lightweight gold in May, but he is still supremely confident.
However, he has neutralized some of the most dangerous martial artists in the lightweight division already, and he sounds confident he can repeat the feat against his Singaporean opponent.
“I understand his style a little bit,” he adds.
“At the beginning, I might see how he responds, and then I will try and dismantle him. I have got a system, but I will keep it secret.”
Tokyo | CENTURY | ONE Championship’s 100th Live Event | Tickets: Purchase here
- Watch PART I in USA on 12 October at 8pm EST and PART II on 13 October at 4am EST
- Watch PART I in India on 13 October at 5:30am IST and PART II at 1:30pm IST
- Watch PART I in Indonesia on 13 October at 7am WIB and PART II at 3pm WIB
- Watch PART I in Singapore on 13 October at 8am SGT and PART II at 4pm SGT
- Watch PART I in the Philippines on 13 October at 8am PHT and PART II at 4pm PHT
- Watch PART I in Japan on 13 October at 9am JST and PART II at 5pm JST
ONE: CENTURY is the biggest World Championship martial arts event in history with 28 World Champions featured across various martial arts. No organization has ever promoted two full-scale World Championship events on the same day.
The Home Of Martial Arts will break new ground as it brings multiple World Title bouts, a trio of World Grand Prix Championship Finals, and several World Champion versus World Champion matches to the famous Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on 13 October.