Christian Lee has never shied away from a challenge, especially since becoming the ONE Lightweight World Champion.
“The thing about this fight that’s exciting for me is that Timofey is, in my opinion, one of the most dangerous athletes in the lightweight division. And he’s taken out some of the best names in ONE so far,” Lee said.
“He’s got a knockout win over Eduard Folayang, a knockout win over Eddie Alvarez, and he just took out the [former] #3 contender, Pieter Buist.
“So, I really feel like he’s in the #1 contender spot. He’s definitely deserving of this World Title shot. And just the way our styles line up, he’s a finisher, I’m a finisher, and it’s going to make for a great, exciting fight for the fans.”
Ahead of this main event showdown, Lee is aware of the threat that Nastyukhin presents, especially when it comes to the Russian’s knockout power. However, “The Warrior” promises to match the Raty representative’s grit once they lock horns in the Circle.
“Timofey is a dangerous opponent because he’s always looking for the finish. He does have a very good amount of power in his hands. But I feel like what sets him apart is just the fact that he’s able to make adjustments in his game, and he’s always able to find a way to finish,” Lee admitted.
“I’ve seen him up against good fighters. As I mentioned before, Eduard Folayang and Eddie Alvarez — they’re good strikers themselves. He was able to find holes in their game, take them apart, and eventually get the knockout. So in this matchup, I feel like it’s going to be no different with his game plan.
“I think he’s going to be coming in there looking to take my head off. I think he’ll have a good game plan to try to expose my game, but I’m going to be equally as prepared for his.”
Equally prepared means that Lee will be ready to meet his challenger wherever the match plays out – whether standing or on the canvas.
However, the defending World Champion also a specific strategy in mind.
“Every fight starts on the feet. And so right away, we’ll be going into his strength. And really, that’s where I feel he’s the strongest,” Lee said.
“He’s a well-rounded fighter himself, and I think he has a few submission wins on his record as well. So I do think he’ll be training in every area for the fight. But I definitely see the ground game as his biggest weakness.
“I’m going to stand in there, and I’m going to pick him apart on the feet, and eventually, I’m just going to break him down with my pressure. I don’t think that he’ll be able to withstand the pace that I’m going to bring to him.”
Nastyukhin has power. Nastyukhin has finishing skills. Nastyukhin, in true top-contender form, has the ability to give Lee a real run for his money. But “The Warrior” is the World Champion for reason, and that reason – among others – is confidence.
“I’m not afraid of his power. I’m not afraid of his striking game. I respect the skills that he has on the feet, but ultimately, I’ll take this fight wherever it brings me, and I’ll be looking for the finish on the feet or on the ground,” Lee said.
In the meantime, download the ONE Super App to catch ONE: FISTS OF FURY on 26 February from Singapore, where Christian’s teenage sister, Victoria “The Prodigy” Lee, will make her ONE debut against Sunisa “Thunderstorm” Srisen.