With Lightweight champion Conor McGregor on multi-millionaire hiatus, top-ranked division contenders Tony Ferguson (No. 2) and Kevin Lee (No. 7) collided tonight (Sat., Oct. 7, 2017) for the interim division title in the pay-per-view (PPV) main event of UFC 216, which took place inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Of course, the elephant in the room was Lee’s dire weight cut that had many questioning whether or not he could handle the pace and pressure of a proven monster like Ferguson.
In the end Lee couldn’t, tapping to a triangle choke in the third round to “El Cucuy,” who has now won 10 straight Lightweight fights in UFC.
Lee got the action started with a head kick that grazed Ferguson’s face, which he followed up with a solid right hand. Lee continued to fire off combinations as Ferguson looked for an opening. Lee dropped Ferguson with a short shot, but Ferguson got back up immediately holding his eye as if he was poked. Lee looked to pounce, but Ferguson stopped him in his tracks with a hard shot. There was a scramble that led to a Lee takedown, but Ferguson threatened with a triangle choke and then an armbar. Lee spun out of danger and eventually worked his way into full mount. Lee dropped huge elbows and shots as Ferguson scrambled to escape, but he was eventually saved by the bell as Lee landed a cheap shot after the bell.
Ferguson started round two with a nice high kick and then a jab that Lee was able to effectively counter. Lee landed a nice body kick, but Ferguson countered with a straight left. Lee continued to work the body with kicks as Ferguson awkwardly attempted to land pot shots. Ferguson began to find his range and was able to land a sick standing elbow to Lee’s face, which made his nose bleed. That made Lee start talking smack, but he didn’t do much after the shot other than play defense.
Between rounds Ferguson was taunting Lee as his corner worked on his nose. Lee, who told his corner that he was feeling tired, was able to secure a quick takedown to start the third round. Lee worked some ground-and-pound, but nothing effective. Ferguson eventually got back to his feet and began to walk down Lee, whose mouth was wide open. Lee was able to score a takedown, but Ferguson used his momentum to lock in an armbar. Lee instinctively spun and was somehow able to escape — it was hairy — but soon enough, Ferguson had him wrapped up in a triangle choke. It was tight and Lee tried to defend it, but ultimately he could last no longer, tapping rather than napping.
Kudos to both men, but particularly Ferguson, who has done just about everything imaginable in the 155-pound division to earn a belt … with the exception of toppling a certain Irishman.
And in the immortal words of Ferguson, “Defend or vacate motherfucker!”
For complete UFC 216: “Ferguson vs. Lee” results, including play-by-play updates, click here.