In ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX, the reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian “The Warrior” Lee will defend his belt against the ONE Lightweight #1 contender Iuri Lapicus. This will be Christian Lee’s first title defense, and his first fight since winning the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix a year ago.
The challenger Iuri Lapicus is currently holding an invincible record of 14-0 as a professional mixed martial artist. He has been impressive so far in ONE Championship, going 2-0 and against top opponents. Climbing up the rankings with just 2 fights, Lapicus poses a serious threat to the champion.
Christian Lee and Iuri Lapicus were originally scheduled to face each other at ONE: Infinity 1 on May 29. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was canceled. Amidst the on-going problems in the world, it has been all about staying in shape and being prepared for both guys
What’s interesting is that this match is between two young and hungry fighters. The Champion is just 22 while the challenger is 24. But how do the fighters stack up against each other? Who has the advantage in certain areas of the fight?
Here’s a head-to-toe breakdown of Christian Lee vs Iuri Lapicus
Per record, Iuri Lapicus has 10 submissions, 5 of which are rear-naked chokes. These stats don’t directly tell who the better grappler is, because while most of Christian Lee’s fights have been brought to the ground, he only has 4 submissions. Christian Lee might have the fewer but he has been knocking people out when it comes to the ground.
Christian Lee has a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu, while Iuri Lapicus has in Judo. Christian has remarkable wrestling and is very creative in how he sends his opponents to the mat. On the other hand, Iuri has exceptional top control that opens up hard ground and pound. In this area where both seem to be equal, the size advantage plays a big role.
In this match, Iuri Lapicus is bigger and longer. His dominance comes with his suffocating ground game. When he takes his opponents down, there’s little chance of survivability. Christian Lee has also shown dominance in the ground but with his size, Iuri Lapicus has very little advantage on the ground.
Edge: Iuri Lapicus
Iuri Lapicus is a grappler who transitioned into a striker later in his career. Now, he trains under the greatest kickboxer of all time, Giorgio Petrosyan. Having such a great mentor, he has developed into a well-rounded striker. In his previous fights, Iuri has shown that he actually has a stand-up game.
Iuri Lapicus have the skills to be able to keep up with Christian, but it will not be enough. Christian Lee is the better striker in this match and will have the advantage in terms of technicality. Having a 1st-degree black belt in taekwondo, Christian has point-striking fundamentals in his game. Expect Christian Lee to be touching up Iuri and just picking him apart, accumulating points, and building up damage.
Edge: Christian Lee
In this area, it’s easy to say that Christian Lee has the advantage. Christian has been a multiple-time pankration world champion. Lee has been tested with the best and top competitors in ONE Championship. Going through 5 rounds with world champion Martin Nguyen and although he was defeated, it was a split-decision.
Christian Lee being the champion itself is the fact that he’s got more experience. Iuri Lapicus’ most tough contest was against former champion Marat Gafurov and he finished him in 1 round. We really do not know how good Iuri Lapicus is but as for now, the edge will be on the champion.
Edge: Christian Lee
Iuri Lapicus is a guy you cannot sleep on. He is a big lightweight and carries huge power especially in his kicks. Marat Gafurov went hurting just after a couple of low kicks from Iuri. In his 2 fights in ONE, Iuri has shown a burst of powerful punches.
Christian Lee has shown that he’s got the power in his punches as he knocked out Shinya Aoki. But the power that Iuri Lapicus generates with his windups, plus he has got the large frame will have the edge in this fight.
Edge: Iuri Lapicus
Even though the champion is only 22 years old, he has been tested through tough competition. He battled the great Martin Nguyen throughout 5 rounds in their rematch. He was able to come back and win against Shinya Aoki despite being caught on by a very tight armbar. Also, he stepped in on 10 days to fight the well hyped Dagi Arslanaliev. Even though without proper training camp, he was able to bring Dagi to 3 rounds and dominantly win the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix.
On Iuri Lapicus’ 14 wins, 13 were first round finishes. The only man that took him beyond the 1st round was Shannon Wiratchai. Although they went into the 3rd round, Iuri was still able to finish him. Iuri has fought a total of 16 rounds in his career while Christian has 26. Also, Christian is a Pankration World Champion.
It is unarguable that the champion Christian Lee has the more experience. He has been there with world champions and proved he belongs in the top.
Edge: Christian Lee
With 4 title matches in the event, this match might be the most interesting match. With heavy stakes for the young and hungry fighters, they will definitely produce a night that fans will remember forever.
Christian is the more well-rounded fighter. He has more weapons in his arsenal. The difference-maker in this fight will be Christian Lee’s endurance and experience. Christian Lee will bring out the best of mixed martial arts and bring Iuri Lapicus down to deep waters where he has never faced before.
Iuri Lapicus is unproven, and although his appearances in the ONE stage has been impressive, we do not really know how good he is. Iuri will have the advantage early in the match being the more athletic man. He will be explosive and aggressive and maybe look for an early finish. Iuri Lapicus best weapon will be his low kicks. Christian Lee biggest issue has been dealing with low kicks. Iuri has that snap and will surely cause problems for the champion.
We won’t really know how the fight will go until we see it. Both men have been preparing for this moment, it is expected that they will bring the best out of each other. As for Iuri, we will see his improvements and how he will prove he belongs at the top. And for the champion, defending his belt for the first time will solidify his case as the best lightweight in ONE.
Iuri will definitely bring the fight to Christian but will have a hard time adjusting to situations he has not been used to.
Prediction: Christian Lee win via Submission – Round 4 or 5
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