Christian Lee believes he can defeat Shinya Aoki in first round
Christian, younger brother of Angela Lee, believes he can defeat lightweight world champion in first round
Mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Christian Lee, 20, may be much younger and less experienced than One Championship's lightweight world champion Shinya Aoki, but he is confident of defeating the Japanese, 36, in just one round.
Lee declared at a press conference at Marina Bay Sands in front of almost 500 fans yesterday that their duel - the main bout of One: Enter the Dragon event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday - will not be a long-drawn affair.
"The way that Aoki fights, he tries to finish his opponents as quickly as possible. That's why his last four fights have ended in the first round. And, that's the exact same way that I fight," said Lee, the younger brother of One's atomweight world champion Angela Lee.
"There is no animosity or any bad blood. We will bring out the best in each other... For this fight, I'm planning on finishing Aoki wherever the match goes.
"If he stands with me, I'm going to strike. If he goes down to the ground, I will grapple him."
Asked how he felt about Lee's aim, Aoki laughed and said: "He can try. If he wants to beat me, give me one shot and finish it."
Aoki, who has a win-loss record of 43-8, suggested that he would like to fight Lee (11-3) after reclaiming the lightweight world title by beating Eduard Folayang in Tokyo in March.
"Lee is the best prospect, not just in Asia, but in the world," he said. "This is the best time for me to hunt the young lion down."
The fight pairing came as a shock to Lee, as the pair are friends and have trained together at Evolve MMA, but he agreed to it immediately.
Aoki, also known as "Tobikan Judan" which means grand master of flying submissions, later admitted to The New Paper that he felt nervous about the fight.
"It's because of the pressure... It's a lot of pressure," he said. "I'm still afraid of fighting even though I've won 43 times."
Meanwhile, Singaporean Amir Khan will get another shot at One's lightweight world grand prix title.
In Friday's semi-finals, he will face Turkey's Saygid Arslanaliev, 24, who earned his spot after a 25-second knockout win over Ev Ting in February.
Khan, also 24, had lost in the quarter-finals to Costa Rican Ariel Sexton in 1min 13sec.
But Sexton withdrew due to injury two weeks ago, handing a second chance to Khan (11-5), who believes he is better prepared mentally this time against Arslanaliev (7-1).
Another name to look out for is American Sage Northcutt, who will be making his One Championship debut after joining from Ultimate Fighting Championship. The former karate world champion, 23, will be facing Brazilian Cosmo Alexandre, 37, in a welterweight bout.
Tickets for the One: Enter the Dragon event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday are from $28 and available at www.sportshub.com.sg