UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs. Lee – Review
UFC Rochester delivered in terms of entertainment. It was an exciting card throughout, and all it needed was for the main event to cap it off.
And the main delivered — as Kevin Lee’s welterweight debut was spoiled by Rafael Dos Anjos, who with this victory made his return to the win column after a two-fight losing slump.
Lee is the latest victim of the grueling 155 weight cut, and fellow former lightweight in RDA obliged to give him his first dance in the welterweight division.
The bout lived up to the hype. Both fighters built up some bad blood in the days prior to the fight, and the product we were sold was more than satisfactory.
This was a huge victory for RDA, who desperately needed to get back to winning ways in order to stay in the top five of the division. And he did just that, despite looking a little shaky in the first round, the Brazilian never looked to be in too much trouble before securing a fourth-round submission victory.
Lee, as expected, came storming out of the gates. “The Motown Phenom” was very lively in the first round, and utilized a mix of his striking and wrestling to gain an advantage in the first round. But unfortunately for the 170 debutant, it was too little too early to get a savvy veteran like RDA out of there.
Despite looking ever so good at this weight class, Lee’s conditioning issues remained. His exhaustion was more visible with every takedown attempt, and RDA proceeded to take full advantage.
The 34-year-old Brazilian continued to look light on his feet throughout the rounds, as he teed off on his opponent, while also securing multiple takedowns over the rounds.
In the fourth round, the conditioning levels seemed like night and day between the two fighters, and it was time for RDA to start asserting his dominance in this bout. With about two minutes left in the round, Lee shot for what looked like a desperation single leg, only to end up at the feet of RDA, and hoping for mercy.
From there on, Dos Anjos’ BJJ black belt came out to play. The former lightweight champ almost instantly gained top position following Lee’s failed takedown attempt, and smoothly transitioned into an arm triangle — with Lee having nothing but a tap left to give.
An impressive, and important victory for Rafael Dos Anjos, who’s quest for welterweight gold is not over just yet.
As for Kevin Lee, the issue that haunted him in the lightweight division followed him up to 170. And while the potential of the 26-year-old is evident, the next step for the Michigan native should be to master patience and preserving his energy beyond the first round.
Sports journalist currently based in CA, USA.