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Christian Lee (right) winds up a left hook against Ok Rae-yoon at ONE: Revolution. Photo: ONE Championship

ONE Championship: Christian Lee plots first-round KO in Ok Rae-yoon rematch – ‘I’m very much looking forward to getting my title back’

  • Canadian-American is ‘100 per cent confident’ ahead of ONE 160 headliner on August 26 in Singapore
  • ‘I plan on finishing him,’ Lee says, after losing belt to the South Korean via controversial decision last year

Christian Lee is hoping the relieve the judges of their responsibility in his next fight.

The Canadian-born American is set to challenge Ok Rae-yoon in the headlining attraction of the ONE Championship 160 event in Singapore, with the promotion’s lightweight MMA title hanging in the balance.

In his perfect world, the fight will be over long before the judges begin tallying their scores.

“I see it as a first-round knockout,” the 24-year-old told the Post on Thursday.

It is easy to understand why Lee (15-4) is hoping to avoid the scorecards against Ok (16-3).

ONE 160 will mark his second meeting with the 31-year-old South Korean star. They first met at ONE: Revolution last September, when Lee was the defending champion. Ok won the fight by unanimous decision, but it was one of the most controversial verdicts in the promotion’s history.

Christian Lee looks for a rear-naked choke against Ok Rae-yoon.

“I haven’t obsessively watched the fight – maybe five times,” he said. “Every time I try to step back and watch the fight without any bias, but I still feel that I won. I go through the ONE Championship scoring criteria for the fights, and I still don’t see how I lost it in any way.”

The only criticism Lee has of his performance is that his endurance began to fade in the final rounds of the fight.

He does not intend to make that mistake again.

“The only thing that I judge myself on is the fact that I started to get tired throughout the fight. Through 25 minutes of pushing the pace, trying to go for the finish.

ONE 160 line-up revealed with Ok vs Lee headliner

“In this next match, I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen. I’m going to make sure I can push the pace hard without breaking a sweat. I plan on finishing him much sooner than that, but if it does go five rounds, that’s not going to happen again.”

Lee is focused on much more than his cardio as he prepares for his rematch with Ok. The former champion promises he has made “big improvements in every area”.

He suspects Ok will also have improved in the year since they last fought but isn’t expecting the champion to change much about his strategy.

Ok Rae-yoon celebrates his lightweight title win against Christian Lee at ONE: Revolution.

“I think he’s going to be training really hard,” Lee said. “I think he’s going to try to knock me out. But I think we’re going to see more of the same from Ok. He’s going to try to stick to that same game plan that’s been working for him.

“I’m going to be working harder than ever to make sure that there’s nothing Ok Rae-yoon can do to stop me from winning this fight.”

If the fight goes Lee’s way, a tie-breaking trilogy between the two lightweights is a definite possibility. Yet the former is not sure it will be necessary.

Christian Lee pressures Ok Rae-yoon against the cage.

“If the fight goes similar to how it went before and I win a five-round decision, then of course, there should be a trilogy,” he said. “But if I go out there and I finish him – finish him quick like I plan to – I really don’t see the need for a third fight, because I do feel I won the first fight. It all depends on how the fight goes.”

Whatever the future holds, Lee intends to close out the summer as the ONE lightweight champion.

“I’m 100 per cent confident that I’m going to win this fight and I’m going to be champion again,” he said. “I’m very much looking forward to getting my title back.”