Kevin Lee
The Motown Phenom


Falls in welterweight debut
May 18, 2019
Lee lost to Rafael dos Anjos via submission (arm-triangle) at 3:47 of Round 4 at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Rochester, New York.
Lee started quickly in his welterweight debut before the gas tank quickly hit empty. "The Motown Phenom" looked ripped and comfortable with the extra 15 pounds on his frame, but his inability to conserve his energy led to his downfall. Lee had his greatest success at lightweight when he fought a physical style and out-muscled his competition, but that type of game isn't going to play at 170 pounds where his opposition is bigger and stronger. If Lee plans on remaining at welterweight, he is going to have to alter his game plan to be successful. This could potentially be a leaning experience for the talented 26-year-old, but if tonight is any indication, his best work will likely come at 155 pounds despite an incredibly difficult weight cut. Sporting a 1-3 record in his last four fights, Lee's next move is very much in question.
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Making move to welterweight
March 20, 2019
Lee will fight at the welterweight level against Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Rochester on May 18, Damon Martin of reports.
Lee has reportedly been thinking about making the move up to welterweight for a while now due to his struggles cutting down to 155 pounds. He'll now look to redeem himself in this new division after losing to Al Iaquinta last December. Even though Lee is moving up, he'll still have a slight height advantage and eight inches in reach on dos Anjos, who is a former lightweight fighter as well. Statistically, Lee holds edges in striking volume, takedowns landed and takedown defense, though the stats for dos Anjos are a bit skewed after he was taken down 12 times by now-champion Kamaru Usman. The winner here will have a case for a title shot, especially if finished in convincing fashion.
Left speechless in upset loss
December 15, 2018
Lee lost to Al Iaquinta via unanimous decision (47-48, 47-48, 46-49) at UFC on Fox 31 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Saturday.
There was a lot of talk leading up to this fight about how different it was going to look from when the two first met in 2014 but the dynamics remained largely the same, with Iaquinta winning the fight on the feet and Lee having his moments on the ground. The 26-year-old appeared to be close to ending the fight with a choke in two separate rounds but was unable to find the finish, leaving him to get pressured and outstruck for the majority of the fight. Lee was absolutely crestfallen when the decision was read but it was certainly justifiable, as "The Motown Phenom" just seemed to be beaten to the punch far too often to have the fight won comfortably. It's clear that Lee sees himself in the title picture with guys like Conor McGregor and Tony Ferguson but his boxing simply must improve before he can become one of the elite fighters in the division. He falls to 17-4 in professional MMA as a result of the loss.
To headline Milwaukee card against Al Iaquinta
October 10, 2018
Lee will face Al Iaquinta in a lightweight bout at UFC on Fox 31 in Milwaukee on Dec. 15, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
Lee is coming off a TKO win over Edson Barboza at UFC Fight Night in Atlantic City in April, which put him back in the win column after falling to Tony Ferguson via submission at UFC 216 in October for the interim title belt. The 26-year-old has emerged victorious in six of his last seven trips to the octagon, but he'll have his hands full against a veteran fighter in Iaquinta, who is 13-4 as a professional, including a unanimous decision victory over Lee at UFC 169 in 2014. In that original matchup against Iaquinta (Lee's UFC debut), Lee was able to record a takedown and pass guard, but lost the striking battle 39-to-49. That pace doesn't necessarily bode well for fantasy results, but each fighter has seen their striking evolve significantly since that matchup, and this time around, it will be a five-round fight.
Looks great in stopping Edson Barboza Saturday
April 21, 2018
Lee defeated Edson Barboza via TKO (doctor's stoppage) at 2:18 of Round 5 at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Atlantic City.
Lee's wrestling and pressure won him this fight, but it was his chin that held up in a moment of crisis in Round 3. The Motown Phenom was able to dominate Barboza with his ground-and-pound in Rounds 1 and 2. As soon as the bell rang for the third frame, Lee nearly had his head taken off by one of Barboza's signature kicks. Lee was clearly in trouble and it looked like he may not survive, but he recovered quickly, made it through the frame and went back to his wrestling in Round 4. It was smooth sailing from then on. Lee's strong performance is somewhat muted by the fact he missed weight on Friday. Lee has shown no desire to move up to welterweight, but he is going to have to seriously consider it if the weight cutting issues continue. Lee is 6-1 in his last seven fights dating back to April 2016.
Will remain in Saturday's fight
April 20, 2018
Lee, despite missing weight, will still fight Edson Barboza on Saturday at UFC Fight Night in Atlantic City, Ariel Helwani of reports.
Lee weighed in at 157, one pound over the 156-pound weight limit, but he and his team announced shortly after that Lee would remain in Saturday's main event. As a result, according to Brett Okamoto of ESPN, Lee will have to forfeit 20 percent of his purse.