The MMA world is mourning the loss of former ONE Championship lightweight title challenger Iuri Lapicus, who tragically passed away following a motorcycle accident late last week. He was just 27 years old.
The Moldovan fighter, who challenged for the ONE lightweight title in October 2020, was a prolific finisher of fights, with a 100 percent finish rate. In his 17-fight career, he won 14, lost twice, with one no-contest.
Lapicus arrived in ONE in 2019 with a 12-0 record and finished noted Thai striker Shannon Wiratchai with a third-round rear-naked choke at ONE: Enter the Dragon, but it was his second appearance that cemented his reputation as a serious threat to the promotion’s lightweight title.
That performance, a 67-second finish of former featherweight champion Marat Gafurov, using the Russian’s go-to submission, the rear-naked choke, served notice that Lapicus was a major threat to the promotion’s best.
Despite his potential, Lapicus couldn’t quite take his skills all the way to a ONE world title as he was knocked out in the first round by two-division champion Christian Lee at ONE: Inside the Matrix in October 2020.
A no-contest with former UFC and Bellator champion Eddie Alvarez followed, before his last career appearance, a first-round KO defeat to former ONE welterweight champion Zebaztian Kadestam at ONE Fight Night 1 in August 2022.
Following the news of Lapicus’ untimely passing, ONE Championship released a statement, saying, “The ONE Championship team is heartbroken over the tragic passing of Iuri Lapicus. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones at this difficult time.”