Former interim lightweight title contender Kevin Lee made his welterweight debut against Rafael dos Anjos in the main event of last night’s (Sat., May 18, 2019) UFC on ESPN+ 10 from the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York.
Unfortunately, things didn’t work out for ‘The Motown Phenom.’ Despite some solid moments in the fight, former lightweight champ dos Anjos submitted Lee in the fourth round (highlights here) with an arm-triangle choke.
The defeat was Lee’s third loss in his last four fights. Perhaps more importantly, it cast doubt on his ability to contend with the top level of the talented welterweight division. Lee came out strong early but faded late. What’s more is that dos Anjos had lost his last two fights to elite, pressuring wrestlers like him. ‘The Motown Phenom’ proved a far cry from Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington’s efforts against ‘RDA.’
Lee was understandably disheartened. After his defeat, he responded to his performance backstage with a very emotional statement via the UFC on Twitter:
“Don’t know what happened out there. Thought I did everything right leading up to this fight. Tried to eliminate every little distraction. Everything that wasn’t good for me. I swear, I just felt like everything was falling into place and was talking to me even before I walked out there. Still wasn’t enough, you know? This sh**, sometimes it be like, the highest highs and lowest lows. This sh** really make you question what you believe in. But, I’ve been through a lot of sh** in my life. This ain’t, this really ain’t gonna be sh**.”
Headed To The Hospital
A true moment of vulnerability from a defeated fighter, but one that deserves a ton of credit for addressing the loss on a platform as public as social media.
But the mental anguish wasn’t all Lee underwent in Rochester, as TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter reported he was taken to the hospital after the loss:
Where Is Lee’s Future At?
Lee’s welterweight debut was a rough one, to say the least. He’s long campaigned for a 165-pound division in the UFC. Dana White has seemingly rebuffed him at every turn, however.
Regardless, Lee has shown a tendency to fade in big fights at both 155 and 170 pounds. He has all the talent to be one of the best, yet his best weight class may not even be real in the UFC right now. Maybe he won’t get the chance to find out.
Until he does, he’ll have to shore up the things that cost him once again. We hope he makes it out of the hospital with no serious injuries, and all the best to him as he heals up.