ROAD FC 22 preview: Champ Kwon A-Sol and Lee Kwang-Hee battle for LW strap

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ROAD FC 22 Lightweight Championship
ROAD FC 22 Lightweight Championship

On Saturday, March 21, 2015 in Seoul, South Korea at JangChung Gymnasium, ROAD FC lightweight kingpin Kwon A-Sol will defend his title against longtime rival Lee Kwang-Hee.

Lightweight champion Kwon “The Korean Bad Boy” A-Sol and challenger Lee “Crazy” Kwang-Hee have a long history between them. In fact, this is not the first time they are meeting with a title on the line.

In their second meeting back in August of 2007 at Spirit MC 12, they battled for the 155lb interim title. The first three rounds were a back and forth affair with each fighter having their moments. As a result, when it went to the judges after the third frame, they elected to go an extra round to determine the winner. For the first two minutes they stood toe-to-toe and traded shots. Then, Lee caught Kwon with a left hook to the liver and that is when “Crazy” swarmed in with punches, knees, and kicks which led to the finish.

However, the first contest was not as lengthy. Five months before their title fight they met at Spirit MC Interleague 5. The first round began with Lee winging punches from the hip and Kwon meticulously working his way towards his opponent with a good jab and outside leg kicks. Even though Lee was rocked a few times by Kwon with straight right hands, he eventually connected with a looping left hook that put the lights out.

All this history has lead to a title fight in the ROAD FC. It is funny how things work out in the world of MMA. Nonetheless, it only makes sense to put a challenger in front of the champ that has not only defeated him, but finished him twice before.

Kwon vs Lee: Fight Analysis

Kwon A-Sol on Weight
LW Champ Kwon A-Sol on Weight

Kwon “The Korean Bad Boy” A-Sol

MMA Record:  19 wins (9 TKO/KOs, 3 Submissions, 7 Decisions), 9 Losses (4 KO/TKO, 1 Submission, 4 Decisions)

Years Pro: 9 1/2 years

Ways to Win: Three main factors for Kwon to have a dominant performance are wrestling, ground and pound, and cardio. Over the years, the Team One mainstay has grown to become a huge lightweight. This is going to have to be utilized when he has to continuously dump Lee on his back. The type of performance he needs is similar to the one Johny Hendricks put on Matt Brown at UFC 185. Set up his takedowns with his striking and keep Lee where he is the least dangerous.

Also, “The Korean Bad Boy” has some serious power in his ground and pound. During his title fight against Takasuke Kume, Kwon was blasting him with some heavy shots on the ground that basically won him the belt. What he has to do is get into those spots early and have Lee fight from a defensive position.

Nevertheless, all of these aspects will not matter unless he can keep an unrelenting pace for the whole fight. It will not be easy to unceasingly attempt takedowns and press forward to keep Lee from setting his feet to land haymakers. Kwon does not possess the power that Lee holds in his hands so it will be fitting to stick him against the fence and grind on him from time to time. In the end, all of this will not be possible without a full gas tank.

Challenger Lee Kwang-Hee
Challenger Lee Kwang-Hee

Lee “Crazy” Kwang-Hee

MMA Record: 8 wins (6 TKO/KOs, 1 Submission, 1 Decision), 4 losses (2 TKO/KOs, 2 Submissions)

Years Pro:  10 years

Ways to Win: Psychologically, Lee has the edge since he has already knocked out Kwon twice. He will need to use this to his advantage to get into his opponent’s head early and often by taunting him into a slugfest. Having him throw his game plan out the window will play right into the hands of Lee. That is when “Crazy” is at his best, in the middle of a storm swinging for the fences.

Since Kwon will be implementing an all-around game, Lee will have to be careful of takedowns. If he can shrug off the first few attempts then maybe Kwon might give up on that strategy and just go with boxing. Because Kwon is a lot bigger than he was in 2007, Lee might have to use up a lot more energy defending but if he doesn’t he’ll be on his back fighting from a position that is not to his liking.

And of course the last and most obvious tool in his arsenal is his left hand. He was born with the power to separate individuals from their senses with one swing. If he lands that monster left hook on the champion’s chin, there will be a new king in the lightweight division.

ROAD FC 22 Weigh-ins
ROAD FC 22 Weigh-ins – Courtesy of ROAD FC

Final Thoughts

In this main event, both fighters have something to gain but the champion is looking to get revenge on top of retaining his title. These guys go back but no love is lost when they step into the cage. Even at the weigh-ins, the faceoff ended with the champ grabbing the challenger by the throat and pushing him across the stage. The tension is high and the fans are eating it up.

The first minute or two will indicate to the viewing audience how this contest will end. If Kwon, the champion, comes out trying to control the cage and mix in takedowns then the fight will go into the later rounds. However, if Lee lures him into a boxing match then it’s going to be a quick night for one of them.

The lightweight division does not have a clear contender next in line so we could be on the horizon of a rematch if it is a close fight and the champion keeps his title. It is unfortunate that a champion will have a difficult time defending his championship strap because there are not enough fighters worthy in his weight class so maybe some featherweights can move up and challenge the 155ers.