ONE Championship is almost ready for its most spectacular event of the year.
This Friday, 30 October, the promotion will host ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and the card is stacked with four World Title bouts.
The co-main event features a ONE Lightweight World Championship showdown between two of the division’s most dominant mixed martial artists.
Before the two enter the Circle this Friday, several ONE superstars predict how the bout will unfold.
“It could be anyone’s fight. It could be really unpredictable because Iuri Lapicus has really strong KO power in his hands, but if Christian Lee can deal with it for the first few rounds, we’re not sure how Lapicus will be able to deal with the later rounds.
“I studied Lapicus in his fight against Shannon [Wiratchai], and he seemed to fade away in the last few rounds. I’m sure Lee and his father have a game plan for that.
“If Lee wins, it’ll be in the later rounds by submission or TKO. If Lapicus wins, it will be in the early rounds. If it goes past three rounds, I think Lee will have the upper hand. In the first few rounds, Lapicus is really dangerous. He’s big, but his power only lasts for a few rounds.”
“Lapicus is my teammate. I go out to Milan and train out of Team Petrosyan, and that’s where he trains.
“I’m really excited about this fight. I like Christian, though. I like his heart and think he’s a good fighter, but I’m definitely rooting for Lapicus. I don’t really know who is going to win or any of that, but I’m on Lapicus’ side.
“Everybody at Team Petrosyan is very, very close. They’re led by Giorgio and Armen, who are great kickboxers. I just know he’s going to be 100 percent prepared. I know Christian will be his toughest test yet because he’s got as much heart as any fighter in the mixed martial arts scene. I’m hoping for Lapicus.”
“I gotta go with Christian Lee. This kid continues to impress and shine in the big moments. That’s really the difference I see with Lee. At such a young age, he has proven that he can seize the moment and perform under pressure.
“His opponent, Iuri, is coming off that really fast and impressive submission over Marat [Gafurov], and it definitely takes a lot of skill to take out a super dangerous opponent like that so quickly. But I think Lee wins by decision.”
“This is a tough one, but I think we might see an upset here. Both are really good on the ground, but I think Lapicus will get it done by submission.”
“Christian Lee knows how to fight and has a strong heart.
“I don’t know if that strength comes from his youth or if it’s something he was born with, but I lost against him – not only in the actual bout, but also in the way of fighting. In mixed martial arts, the important thing is just to fight rather than technique or strategy.
“I think Lee will win. It will be one–sided. The reason is because of the level of his guts, and how he fights is mind-blowing.”
“I think Christian Lee will win. If Iuri Lapicus can find an opportunity to hit, I think there’s a chance for him to win, too. But when Lee competed against “Dagi,” he won the three-round bout by outlasting his opponent.
“Lee is a strong fighter who can do that. Lee might get hit, but he won’t go down. He will fight fiercely as he always does and, in the end, win.”
“Lee has looked fantastic at lightweight, but Iuri is a true, big lightweight. I see Lee out-wrestling and wearing down Lapicus.”
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“In theory, this looks like a ‘striker versus grappler’ type of matchup. Lee has finished over 60 percent of his career wins by TKO due to strikes whereas Lapicus has finished 71 percent of his opponents by submission.
“But if we look deeper than that and look back at history, Lee showed the world his grappling ability when he survived an onslaught of grappling attacks from Shinya Aoki and ultimately pulled out a TKO win against the veteran. Christian’s grappling game is as strong as his striking game, and his will to win is unrelenting.
“Lapicus, however, is an undefeated athlete with an impressive finishing rate. He has finished 29 percent of his opponents with strikes, but most of his unblemished record has been due to his grappling game. With that said, he is now training out of the famed Team Petrosyan gym in Italy, so I’m excited to see the work he has undoubtedly been putting in with one of the greatest kickboxers of all time and ONE Super Series star Giorgio Petrosyan and his team.
“Lee has looked incredible at lightweight, and I think the extra strength he has at this weight will give him the necessary power needed to keep Lapicus at bay. I believe Lee will retain his belt with a TKO finish late in round three.”
“I think Christian Lee is one of the poster boys for his division and the family he comes from, everyone is always prepared. With his father in his corner, I won’t bet against the Lees. I think he will defend his belt with explosiveness. I think it will go to four rounds.”
“I am a big Christian Lee fan. I was there when he won the title by beating Shinya Aoki. Shinya gave him every reason to quit, but Christian fought through adversity and won the title.
“I just think it’s his time, he’s peaking at the right time. Shinya allowed him to have that momentum and confidence going into every fight. He is young enough, and he is developing every day. More than anything, he has what can’t be taught – heart, tenacity, and toughness.”
“This is an exciting fight, and I am really looking forward to it! I believe Christian Lee will beat Iuri Lapicus.
“Lapicus’ last fight was really interesting, but it was against a guy who came from the featherweight division, so I am not too convinced.”
“Iuri Lapicus is a good fighter, and he must be on fire after his last win [over Marat Gafurov]. While Lapicus looks calm and composed, Christian is more aggressive because he is still young and possesses good stamina.
“Lapicus may be known for his grappling, but don’t sleep on his striking since he trains with Giorgio Petrosyan. In his last fight against Gafurov, he managed to show how dangerous his kicks were. He will be a tough challenge for Christian, and it’s hard to predict the outcome of a high-level game like this.”
“I think it will end with a finish, a real quick finish by whoever has the momentum. Iuri Lapicus and Christian Lee have proven themselves to be quick finishers and can utilize all of their arsenals to dominate.
“They are both well-rounded, so whether it is on the ground or in a stand-up position, they will find a way to finish.”
“We might see a new champion this time because Lapicus is both strong on the ground and on the feet, so he will be a difficult adversary for Christian. Lapicus is a hard-hitter, and he’s good at controlling the distance. Also, he is undefeated.
“In terms of striking, I think Lapicus has the upper hand, although we have seen Christian’s explosive combinations against Shinya Aoki.”