Christian Lee called himself the best lightweight fighter in the world prior to ONE on TNT 2, and he did everything possible to back up that statement with a stunning performance to defend his lightweight title on Wednesday night.
The 22-year-old phenom needed less than two minutes to dispatch Timofey Nastyukhin with a brutal counter left hand that sent the Russian down to the canvas in the first round. Despite his best attempt to get back up again, Nastyukhin was just getting blitzed with punches from Lee and he never had the chance to recover.
The referee stepped into stop the contest at 1:13 into the opening round.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better story,” Lee said after his latest title defense. “I trained 10 very hard weeks leading up to this match. This was the most important fight of my life. Very soon, I’m going to become a father so this fight was dedicated to my baby girl Leah on the way and my wife Katie back at home.
“Timofey, he’s a dangerous opponent. He likes to go in there and he goes for the knockout. So our game plan was just to capitalize on that. Speed and accuracy beats power so that’s what happened tonight.”
The lightweight title fight was expected to pit Lee’s well-rounded skill set against Nastyukhin’s blistering power but the champion from Hawaii appeared more than happy to trade hands with the challenger.
Lee was quick to establish his speed advantage while timing the power shots coming from Nastyukhin, which is exactly what set up the shot that led to the finish. Just as Nastyukhin rushed forward, Lee ducked down and then launched the left hand that crumbled his opponent down to the canvas.
Lee unloaded a barrage of punches that ultimately stopped the fight, though Nastyukhin did complain to the referee that he could have continued. Replays showed that Nastyukhin was definitely dazed after a pair of knockdowns, so it didn’t appear there was any real controversy with the stoppage.
“If I was in his shoes, I would probably be feeling the same,” Lee said about Nastyukhin’s complains regarding the end of the fight. “I’m sure he felt that he could have continued but the way I hurt him right there, I was about to take his back and look for a submission. So I feel confident I would have won the fight either way.”
After spending the early part of his career as a featherweight, Lee has flourished as a lightweight with four straight wins in the division including three TKO finishes. ONE Championship boasts a deep lightweight division, but Lee has already taken out a number of the top contenders as he continues to establish himself as one of the top fighters in the world, regardless of promotion.
In the co-main event, American Janet Todd put on an impressive display in a Muay Thai bout against Anne Line Hogstad as the reigning ONE kickboxing atomweight champion took a step towards adding another belt to her collection.
After putting on a volume striking display through the first two rounds that saw Todd landing the better combinations, she delivered the finish in the third with a lightning quick body kick that folded Hogstad in half.
Janet Todd FOLDS Anne Line Hogstad in half! @tntdrama @BR_MMA @brlive #WeAreONE #ONEChampionship #ONEonTNT2 pic.twitter.com/kiJNsBnr30— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) April 15, 2021
As soon as the kick landed, Hogstad winced in pain and then doubled over as she crumbled to the ground with Todd waiting to see if her opponent could recover. As the referee reached the end of his 10-count it was clear that Hogstad hadn’t recovered and the fight was stopped.
The end came at 1:36 in the third round as Todd picks up her sixth consecutive win on the ONE Championship roster.
Full results from ONE on TNT 2:
Christian Lee def. Timofey Nastyukhin via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 1:13
Janet Todd def. Anne Line Hogstad via TKO (body kick) - Round 3, 1:36
Yoshiki Nakahara def. Shinechagtga Zoltsetseg via disqualification (illegal kick) - Round 2
Shuo Wang def. Kyu Sung Kim via KO (elbow) - Round 3, 1:51 | (Watch finish)
Shuya Kamikubo def. Mitchell Chamale via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 2, 2:13