Friday, May 29, Singapore-based American welterweight prospect Christian Lee will be in action for One Championship, where he will defend his One Championship title against Iuri Lapicus. He will be looking to continue his championship reign, as Lee looks to keep his belt and stay atop the promotion. He represents Evolve MMA, a strong camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”
Takedowns: Lee is no Olympic level wrestler by any means, but he is a very good takedown artist in the cage. He is deceptively strong, as he uses his explosiveness when he gets a hold of an opponent and sends them for a ride. He can shoot from the outside, but he’s especially effective in scoring takedowns from the clinch. He has two finishes via slam, showing the tenacity of his ability to throw people around. That said, one of those finishes was ruled a DQ via “illegal suplex”, which I find to be silly to this day. If you watch his most recent fight, which is one of his biggest career wins, you saw him outmuscle top prospect Saygid Arslanaliev, which is an impressive feat in itself.
Ground Game: Once Lee is able to get the takedown, he is in his world. Lee’s ground game is fantastic and is the cause of a majority of his wins. He is quite aggressive on the mat, always looking for a way to finish the bout. His positioning and transitions are a reason he’s able to get to a spot where he can finish the fight. As he gets to those positions, he has effective, damaging ground-and-pound. It is precise and powerful. He also is a gifted submission fighter, scoring four tapouts in various fashions. Another important attribute is that Lee is good from the bottom, as he’s able to get back to his feet when put on his back.
Striking Intangibles: Lee is a solid striker, but there are parts of his on-the-feet game that could use some tightening up. For one, he can overextend when he throws strikes, especially when he’s on the defensive. If you watch his most recent fight with the aforementioned Arslanaliev, as his opponent put him on his heels, Lee moved to get distance and then would throw punches from too far away. As he extended on those strikes, he opened himself up to big counters from the more gifted striker. Also, his hand positioning on defense can be better, as he can be hittable. The one positive in this fashion is Lee’s footwork and movement, as he is agile.
Top-25 World Ranked WW: Lee is just 21 years old and he already owns wins over Shinya Aoki, UFC vet Kazuki Tokudome and fellow top prospect Saygid Arslanaliev. That’s very impressive. Not only that, he’s only getting better. Who would have thought at such a young age that Lee would be the world champion of One Championship? His ground game is already strong, as is his wrestling. If he continues to add skills on the feet and round off his striking skills, he is going to be very tough for most to beat.