There is only one way a fight between two of the best featherweight prospects in ONE Championship could end — inside the distance.
When former Malaysian amateur mixed martial arts champion Keanu Subba (3-1-0) meets Evolve-MMA’s Christian “The Warrior” Lee (2-0-0) on March 18 at the center of the ONE Cage at ONE: UNION OF WARRIORS, there promises to be fireworks.
The two contenders are scheduled to clash in a three round featherweight bout of epic proportions, one that will surely leave a lasting impression on the rest of the division.
Keanu, younger brother of flyweight standout Gianni Subba, is a former Malaysian Invasion Mixed Martial Arts (MIMMA) featherweight champion.
The 21-year old Subba hones his craft with high-caliber teammates at Bali Muay Thai & MMA Gym in Indonesia.
Surrounded by training partners Andrew and Anthony Leone, his older brother Gianni, and bantamweight standout Casey Suire, Keanu is hard at work preparing for the biggest fight of his young career. To say that he’s pumped up for the upcoming bout is an understatement.
“I’m really excited for this one! There’s a lot of hype going around about Christian,” said Subba. “We’re both coming off first round finishes, it’s a perfect fight for the fans.”
Subba is one of the most promising young talents on ONE Championship’s roster. He is on a three-fight win streak that saw him stop countryman Rayner Kinsiong by technical knockout in his last outing. Prior to that, he’s scored highlight reel finishes against Florian Garel and Donald Tong.
Though most unfathomable of all, is that Subba continues to improve after each and every fight.
“It’s going to be an action-packed fight. I’m ready to throw leather,” said Subba. “I’m comfortable wherever the fight goes.”
Subba’s opponent, Christian Lee, is younger brother of female strawweight standout “Unstoppable” Angela Lee and is also riding the momentum of having stopped his first two opponents as a professional mixed martial artist.
Prior to his ONE Championship and professional MMA debut, Lee was also a former Pankration world champion, having trained primarily at United MMA in Hawaii. Nowadays, he spends most of his time at Singapore’s premiere martial arts gym, Evolve, whenever there’s an upcoming fight.
Lee is also a grappling ace, with the ability to pull hat trick submissions out of nowhere — a trait he shares with sister Angela.
Yet despite the high ceiling for Lee, Subba owns a more extensive amateur and professional MMA background, giving him the advantage in experience, making this fight dead even on paper.
“[Christian] is a nice kid, well rounded. This fight is going to be a treat for the fans,” said Subba.
And it truly is.
By the time the final bell sounds off on this matchup, everyone will be a winner — most especially the fans.
Both Subba and Lee have great enough potentials that a loss for either of them would reap the same benefits as a win. The two young fighters, beyond pushing each other to their limits, represent the future of Asian MMA.
“Training has been awesome. Same as always, with the boys at Bali MMA. Everyone has big fights coming up. I really think this year will be the year that people see Bali MMA fighters shine,” said Subba.
Andrew Leone, Subba’s teammate and part-owner of Bali MMA thinks his man will come out on top.
“Keanu is one of the toughest up-and-coming guys I know,” said Leone. “It’s going to be hard to stop his momentum. I see Keanu getting the finish early.”
Subba and Lee lock horns on 18 March, at the Thuwanna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar as part of the undercard to main event combatants “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang and Egypt’s Mohamed Ali. –By Carlos Cinco
Follow this writer on Twitter @CarlosCincoFCB