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Luke Lessi Wants To Put American Muay Thai On The Map At ONE Fight Night 19

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Luke Lessei almost upset Smokin’ Jo Nattawut in his ONE Championship debut to shake up the featherweight Muay Thai division. However, he still came out a winner by putting himself on the map. Now he returns to try and pick up his first win in the promotion against Eddie Abasolo at ONE Fight Night 19 on Friday, February 16.

After seeing Abasolo also come off a narrow defeat to an elite opponent, Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong, Lessei is excited for what’s to come. It is a match where he wants to elevate American Muay Thai to the next level. “The Chef” sees the parallels playing into this next fight as they each seek a career-defining victory.

“Two Americans trying to become the number one American, both coming off of battles against Thai fighters who are ranked. I mean, it’s kind of like this is like America’s best. You really don’t know what could happen in this fight,” Lessei told ONE.

Lessei’s debut was a thrilling war that won Fight of the Night. But that is still not what he wants to showcase inside the ring. He was disappointed that he was not as clean with his strikes and plans to correct course in Bangkok.

“I’m not sure what [Abasolo is] thinking, but I know how bad I want to win, and I know how bad I want to change the momentum because I don’t want to be known as the tough, durable guy. That’s not how I came up. I came up with clean technique, clean knockouts, efficient setups, and I’m a creator. I like to have created Muay Thai and technical, traditional Muay Thai,” the Iowan expressed.

In his return to Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, Lessei is out to showcase his technique against his fellow American. “The Chef” believes that is what brought him to the dance in the first place. Although he is prepared for anything, Lessei does not want to keep utilizing his durability.

“They already saw that I’m tough [in my last fight]. I’ve kind of got the people’s champ energy. So now I want to show the new fans what I’ve been doing for years, and I want to show the fans that have been around this whole time why they love me, for ‘The Chef’ moves, for all the s*** that they’ve been seeing in my seminars and the Instagram videos and s*** like that. That’s what I’m out to show,” Lessei explained.

If it becomes another three-round war, Lessei is confident he will still come out on top. It is a belief in part due to his upbringing in Iowa. The #5-ranked featherweight contender is proud of where he is from and the values of hard work instilled in him.

“I got this working man mentality. I’ve been working with my hands my whole life – construction, building s***, from the Midwest, the working class, out in the cold, using f****** hammers. We’re both smooth. I’ve been smooth. I have technique. I’m a lifelong martial artist. But who has a little bit more grit? Everybody has grit at this point, but I think I have a little bit more of an edge when it comes to toughness and grit when going against Eddie,” the featherweight said.

“The Chef” may want to bring the heat, but it may be a slow boil. He describes the stylistic clash as a chess match with Abasolo. Still, he expects to be able to utilize all of his tools inside his kitchen that is the squared circle and walk out with a knockout finish.

“I think right now the mindset going into it, the camp I’m having, I think I’m going to get Eddie out of there before three rounds. I think I’ll stop his smoothness and hit him with some combinations that are going to make him suffer. It’ll get called. I think the fight’s going to get called late in the second or in the third round. I’m going to try to put him away,” Lessei pontificated.

ONE Fight Night 19 airs live on Friday, February 16, from Bangkok. The action begins at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST on Prime Video. The event is free for all Amazon Prime subscribers in the U.S. and Canada.

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Jeremy Brand is an experienced MMA writer and columnist. He is the founder of, and has represented the company with media credentials at many mixed martial arts fights. Jeremy is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, training in BC, Canada.

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