Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen successfully defended his One Championship featherweight title overnight, edging Christian Lee by split decision.
The event, One: Unstoppable Dreams took place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday night and was broadcast live to Australia on the promotions official app.
Fighting in his opponents home-town, it was a much harder outing for the Australian-Vietnamese than their 2016 outing which Nguyen took with a first-round submission.
Nineteen year-old Lee started strongly, securing a big takedown and moved to mount early in the bout. Nguyen worked his way back up though was forced to defend both a guillotine and d’arce attempt from his opponent as Nguyen ultimately wriggled and slid out.
From there it proved to be a rather frustratingly tactical battle with Nguyen taking centre of the cage and attempting to trade with Lee who was circling and looking to counter. The pace was not to the referee’s liking and Yuji Shimada gave a stern warning to both fighters midway through the second round. Lee landed a nice shot on the restart though Nguyen pressed the pace but was left frustratingly shaking his head at the end of the round.
Lee landed a solid jab and shot in for a single leg takedown in the third round that Nguyen was able to escape. A strong leg kick caught Lee off balance as he stumbled to the other side of the cage before Shimada gave both fighters another warning for lack of activity and shortly after official yellow card to both Nguyen and Lee. Nguyen was unsuccessful with a takedown attempt late in the round but landed some short knees in the clinch as the round ended. Nguyen showed his frustration to the referee in between rounds.
Nguyen got this one IMO. Despite a strong start, just simply not a title winning performance by Lee. Nguyen’s low kicks definitely the most effective strike of the fight. pic.twitter.com/S8Gdvf1Tib
— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) May 18, 2018
Within seconds of the fourth round Lee flurried and went for the takedown that was defended by the current champ. Nguyen continued with strong leg kicks and used a nice change of level to connect with a left punch. Lee landed a pair of takedowns but on neither attempt was able to keep Nguyen down for longer than a second. With the crowd becoming vocally restless, Nguyen perfectly timed a takedown dumping his opponent to the canvas as he followed in with heavy ground-and-pound from inside the guard.
Nguyen made easy-work of Lee’s early takedown attempt in the fifth round before dropping Lee with a big right hook. Lee recovered and connected with a right of his own before dropping levels for an ineffective takedown attempt. Nguyen timed a nice left off the exchange as the Sydney based fighter remained calm and continued to press the action. The 29-year-old landed a series of knees against the cage and the accumulated leg damage finally took it’s toll with Nguyen landing flush in the final seconds.
Lee frustrated the champion early and the 19-year-old came close to causing the upset but Nguyen got the split decision nod to earn his first defence of the featherweight strap.
“First of all, I take full responsibility! I’m so sorry Singapore for putting on a shit performance. That’s not like me and you guys know it’s like me at all,” as the boos slowly turned to applause.
“You know I come to finish. I’m so sorry. My next fight, I guarantee a finish,” before the champ thanked his family, coaches, sponsors and team at KMA Top Team.
Nguyen climbs to 11-2 as a professional with Lee dropping to 9-2, both losses to Martin Nguyen.
The main event featured Angela Lee making her long anticipated return to competition following a near career ending car crash last year. She battled Mei Yamaguchi in rematch of their 2016 classic. The 21-year-old, older sister to Christian Lee came out on top again, winning a unanimous decision to take her record to 9-0. Yamaguchi drops to 19-10-1.
Results (Muay-Thai Super Series):
Results (Kickboxing Super Series):