Having shared the cage with Charles Oliveira in the past, Kevin Lee knew it would take someone special to defeat ‘Do Bronx’ and end his eleven-fight winning streak.
Enter Islam Makhachev.
Makhachev snapped Oliveira’s win streak with a dominant submission victory over the Brazilian at UFC 280 to become the new lightweight champion and solidify himself as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, following in the footsteps of retired UFC legend and fellow Dagestani Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Lee, who Oliveira submitted in 2020, was reluctant to make an official prediction before the fight but admitted Makhachev ‘exceeded all expectations’ with his performance and was blown away by the result.
He told MMA reporter James Lynch: “Yeah, I mean, that was a great fight, great fight. I think they set that fight up perfectly, you know. I think having Charles [Oliveira] go to the Middle East to do that fight was a genius move. I feel like [Islam Makhachev] exceeded all expectations. You know, he did way better in the grappling than I expected. He looked a whole lot stronger out there. And Charles looked off and looked upset at the result.”
“That was really one of the fights where I didn’t predict it,” he added. “And I really didn’t put any prediction into my head. Because I knew that that fight could go either way. Those guys are both very, very skilled. Their styles just match up real good. I knew whoever was going to win the grappling was going to win the fight.”
Lee fought in the UFC for seven years (2014 to 2021) before parting ways with the fight promotion last year following back-to-back losses to Charles Oliveira and Daniel Rodriguez. He last fought at Eagle FC 46 where he defeated fellow UFC veteran Diego Sanchez via unanimous decision.
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