Tony Ferguson has been crowned as the UFC interim lightweight champion via a triangle choke finish over Kevin Lee.
After all the back-and-forth tirades during the pre-fight build-up, Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee finally met at the center of the Octagon as the headliner of UFC 216. But it was “El Cucuy” who emerged victorious to bag the UFC interim lightweight title.
What was the high point of the fight?
Ferguson’s unorthodox style was expected to be in full effect in the fight, but it was Lee who actually had the slight edge in the opening minutes. “The Motown Phenom” was even able to finish the first round strong when he ended up in full mount and landed elbows from up top, which had Ferguson in legitimate trouble.
The next rounds that followed showed a more slowed down Lee, and this was when Ferguson capitalized by landing hard punches from different angles. Lee did fight hard in the third round with his wrestling, but bringing the fight to the mat proved to be a wrong move to make.
Ferguson showed finesse fighting from the guard, transitioning from one submission attack to another. After an unsuccessful armbar attempt, the 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu fighter moved to a triangle choke that had Lee tapping at the 4:02 mark of the third round.
Where do these two go from here?
Lee admitted to Joe Rogan during the post-fight interview that he was indeed battling a case of staph infection, which explained the lump on his left chest. There would be the “what-ifs” if he entered the fight in better condition, but he is a surging 25-year-old fighter who can definitely bounce back. If he does not push through with his plan of moving up in weight, I personally would want to see him fight someone like Edson Barboza, who is also looking for a solid fight for himself.
Ferguson is now the UFC interim lightweight champion, and by rational thinking, he should be next in line to face current undisputed champion Conor McGregor. But since the UFC has always defied the rankings logic when it comes to “The Notorious”, perhaps he can finally fight Khabib Nurmagomedov, next. That is, of course, if “The Eagle” would be able to come out healthy this time around.
Watch in now, later, or never?
One may think that Demetrious Johnson’s finish just the fight prior would be a tough act to follow, but Ferguson did put on an exciting performance, as well. This is also a must-watch contest.
WE HAVE AN INTERIM LIGHTWEIGHT [email protected] #UFC216 pic.twitter.com/OoYrxHfSLc
— UFC (@ufc) October 8, 2017