Shinya Aoki will make the first defense of his newly won lightweight championship when he meets Christian Lee at ONE Championship: Enter the Dragon in May.
There are cool names for MMA events, and then there’s Enter the Dragon, which may top them all. ONE Championship announced Friday that the May card has now found its headliner. Newly crowned lightweight champion Shinya Aoki will defend the belt he won at the end of March against Christian Lee at the card in Singapore. That’s a quick turnaround, barely six weeks for the Japanese fighter.
Aoki (43–8 (1)) won the belt when he submitted Eduard Folayang at A New Era in Tokyo in March. Former rival and ex-UFC/Bellator lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez was knocked out at the same event, exiting the promotion’s lightweight grand prix.
For now, Aoki will have his sights set on Christian Lee (11-3), brother of ONE atomweight champ Angela Lee. Lee previously challenged for lightweight gold against Martin Nguyen, and will now get a second chance against Aoki. Lee enters the fight on a two-fight win streak, having picked up victories over Kazuki Tokudome and Edward Kelly. His only loss since the Nguyen fight also came against Kelly, via DQ due to an illegal suplex.
Also on the card, Sage Northcutt (11–2) will finally make his ONE Championship debut. He’ll take on Cosmo Alexandre in a previously reported pairing.
Enter the Dragon will also feature a lightweight grand prix semi-final bout between Guseyn Arslanaliev (7-1) and Ariel Sexton (13-4, 1NC). Additionally, the quarter-final round of the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix will launch.
ONE Championship’s Enter the Dragon takes place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore on May 17.