In a surprising comeback to the UFC, former lightweight contender Kevin Lee faced off against Rinat Fakhretdinov at UFC Vegas 76. The match-up was considered a challenging one for Lee, who had recently returned to the promotion after a single win under the Eagle FC banner against Diego Sanchez.
The main question leading into the bout was how long it would take for Rinat to bring the action to the ground. Both started the bout by exchanging punches, with each landing a few jabs.
However, just 40 seconds into the round, Fakhretdinov connected with a powerful 1-2 combination that sent Kevin Lee crashing to the mat. Although Lee appeared to maintain some awareness while on the ground, Rinat wasted no time in transitioning and securing a guillotine. Lee’s grip on Rinat’s midsection indicated that he may not have been completely unconscious. Yet, referee Herb Dean, sensing the potential danger, intervened and stopped the action.
In the interview after, Fakhretdinov humorously quipped, “Who’s saying I have boring fights now?”
With this victory, Rinat Fakhretdinov extended his impressive winning streak to 20 consecutive wins, showcasing his relentless drive and emerging as a promising contender in the welterweight division.
Official Result: Rinat Fakhretdinov defeats Kevin Lee via submission (guillotine choke) at 0:55 of Round 1.
Rinat Fakhretdinov’s remarkable performance has certainly put him on the radar of the welterweight division, and UFC fans will be eagerly anticipating his next move in the Octagon. As for Kevin Lee, this defeat marks a setback in his journey back to the top of the lightweight ranks. However, his undeniable talent and determination suggest that he will bounce back stronger in future bouts.
Lee suffered extensive knee issues in the lead up to his UFC release, and reportedly shredded his ACL against Diego Sanchez. He came out wearing two knee sleeves and seemed rocked on his feet even.