Do Gyeom Lee is the New URCC Featherweight Champion!
Last Saturday’s URCC 27: Rebellion saw a passing of the mantle from champion to challenger in the featherweight championship main event of the evening.
The challenger, South Korean Do Gyeom Lee, slayed URCC featherweight champion Red Romero with a ground-and-pound victory in the second round.
Lee barely survived the first frame when Red connected with an insane flying roundhouse kick and followed it up with a barrage of strikes. The Korean dropped several times as he was chased by Romero across the cage. Uncannily, he was able to recover and tried to land a few strikes before the bell rang.
Undaunted, Lee entered the second round aggressively. Standing southpaw, Lee tried a rushing 1-2-1 combination, with the third one connecting cleanly on Romero. Red backed up, trying to feint the damage done by Lee, but Lee smelled blood and went after him. Combining unrelenting strikes with vicious knees, Lee caught Romero with at least two knees, causing Romero to crumble onto the mat. Stepping over his visibly hurt opponent and raining down 6, 7, 8 unanswered strikes, referee Joey Lepiten had to call a stop to the contest, declaring Lee as the new URCC featherweight champion.
The 26-year-old fighter admitted that he was tentative during the first round. “I was hesitant at the beginning of the match,” Lee told MMA Philippines in his native tongue. “I have to know which tactic I have to use for the rest of the fight.” With Romero, who is known for his striking ferocity, having a longer reach, Lee was unlike his overaggressive self as we saw him against Drex Zamboanga in URCC 26.
Returning to his corner after he was almost knocked out, Lee’s coach blinkered him if he can still fight. Lee just nodded with a smile. “I remembered that this fight is for my family. I have to keep going.”
Lee commended his opponent for the near finish and valiant effort. “I have to admit, it was not easy. Honestly, my team and I reviewed his fights before I came [to the Philippines]. I studied his style, the way he strikes. His skill set. I was ready. But still he caught me. Red is a very good fighter; I admire him. But this is a sport, and I had to do what I had to do.”
According to URCC president Alvin Aguilar, Do Gyeom Lee’s heart and will to win was the reason he won this fight, while Red could have been complacent entering the fight’s second salvo. “Everybody thought that was it, he was winning,” Aguilar told the press after the event. “His negligence got him hurt and caged and that spelled out the difference.”
Aguilar adds, “Romero has to get his mind back into the game first. In life, everything is a lesson. If he thinks that way, he can give us a hell of a fight. After he raises his level, then he will be good to go.”
Asked if there could be a possible rematch, Aguilar said that will depend on Romero’s condition. “We can ask for a rematch, let us see what happens. As for now, Red has to regroup and rethink things and get there.”