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Kiamrian Abbasov at the ONE: Full Circle ceremonial weigh-ins. Photos: ONE Championship.

ONE Championship: Kiamrian Abbasov warns Christian Lee ‘the rules are different’ at welterweight

  • Lightweight MMA champ Lee will challenge Abbasov for welterweight gold at ONE on Prime Video 4 on November 19 in Singapore.
  • Welterweight champion says opponent is ‘a good, explosive fighter’ but aims to take him to deep waters – ‘I know his weaknesses’

Kiamrian Abbasov believes Christian Lee is making a mistake moving up to the ONE Championship welterweight division.

Lee, the promotion’s lightweight champion, will make his welterweight debut in the main event of ONE on Prime Video 4 on November 19 in Singapore, challenging Abbasov for the division’s title.

If he wins, he will become one of just a few two-division champs in ONE history, but that is not the way Abbasov sees things going.

Christian Lee celebrates with his wife and daughter after reclaiming the ONE lightweight title with a TKO of Ok Rae-yoon.

“Christian is a good opponent,” the Kyrgyzstani welterweight, 29, said. “He is a good, explosive fighter, but I know his weaknesses and I am not a guy from his division – the rules are different here.”

Lee, 26, has proven himself as one of ONE’s top fighters, with impressive wins over lightweight contenders like Ok Rae-yoon, Timofey Nastyukhin, Saygid “Dagi” Arslanaliev and Shinya Aoki.

While Abbasov likes his chances against the Canadian-American lightweight champion, he also recognises that the match-up comes with its share of risks.

“Everybody has a chance,” he said. “This is going to be the type of a fight where you cannot predict anything and you definitely cannot underestimate your opponent.”

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Abbasov (23-5) knows a thing or two about Lee’s two-division ambition, having attempted to swipe the ONE middleweight title from Reinier de Ridder in February. That fight did not go his way, as he was submitted in round two, but he claims to have grown from the experience, and believes he will have Lee beat in every area in Singapore.

“When I was moving up a level, I lacked some skills, which I am working hard on now,” he said.

“I prefer not to rely only on my wrestling. If he will feel like trading punches, he is welcome. That is what we like to do. But if he feels brave enough to wrestle then I can take him to deep waters, and we will see who has more oxygen.”

Kiamrian Abbasov (right) lands a left hand on Zebaztian Kadestam.

The welterweight champ also believes he will have a mental advantage in the fight, and aims to test Lee’s mettle in the Circle on the night.

“It is all about character, willpower, and determination,” he said. “We will see if he can show it in the cage. I am ready.”

Abbasov has not fought since his February loss to De Ridder. Before that failed bid for the middleweight title, he defended his welterweight belt with a stoppage of James Nakashima. He won the title in October 2019 with a decision defeat of Zebaztian Kadestam.

Lee (16-4) was last in action in August, when he posted a second-round stoppage win over Ok, reclaiming the ONE lightweight belt after a controversial split-decision loss to the South Korean last year.