MMA: Christian Lee's wrestling skills will be X factor against Nastyukhin


Posted at Apr 12 2021 06:06 PM

ONE lightweight world champion Christian Lee. Handout photo

MANILA, Philippines -- The showdown between ONE lightweight champion Christian Lee and No. 3 contender Timofey Nastyukhin should be a "great match-up," according to former title-holder Eduard Folayang.

The Team Lakay veteran is keeping a close watch on the bout, which takes place at "ONE on TNT II" on April 15 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Folayang has lost four of his last five matches, but he knows he can barge back into contention at any time.

Folayang is anticipating an entertaining scrap between two well-rounded fighters, although he also noted that each man has an advantage heading into the Circle.

"Obviously, the power edge has to go with Timofey because of the sheer knockout potential he brings," said Folayang.

"But Christian has shown in the past that he can deal with powerful strikers, particularly against Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev and Iuri Lapicus," he added.

Folayang is impressed with the 22-year-old Lee, who has won five consecutive matches heading into this title defense. 

"He's close to really beating everyone in the Top 5," Folayang pointed out. "At the same time, you can't underestimate Timofey, he's one of the most dangerous guys in ONE. He has that equalizing power that can end things quickly."

Folayang knows firsthand how powerful Nastyukhin is since the Russian fighter stopped him when they fought in December 2014.

The deciding factor, according to Folayang, will be Lee's wrestling skills, and his ability to control the action.

"Will he be able to keep Timofey down? That's the big question," said Folayang. "Timofey is very strong, and also a good wrestler. This is a great matchup."

"As a fan, I'm excited to see it," he added.

The Lee-Nastyukhin match will headline "ONE on TNT II," the second of a four-part event series.