UFC Fight Night: Chiesa vs. Lee Preview
A preview of the upcoming UFC Fight Night event in Oklahoma City.
Updated: June 22, 2017 • 9:15 AM ET
BJ Penn (pictured right) is headed back into a UFC Octagon on Sunday.
Two possible future stars of the UFC’s lightweight division will be on display this Sunday in Oklahoma City at UFC Fight Night 112.
No. 7 ranked lightweight Michael Chiesa will take on No. 12 lightweight Kevin Lee in the card’s main event, and the bad blood between them will be rectified in the process. The two fighters came to blows during the UFC Summer Kickoff press conference in May, as Chiesa’s boiling point was reached when Lee casually made a remark about his mother, which Chiesa, of course, didn’t receive kindly.
“He’s going to headline (UFC Fight Night 112) because of me,” Lee told reporters. “After that, he’s going back to the prelims. But I just hope he shows up, because I know his momma’s got tickets.”
Chiesa then stood up, began shouting at Lee and walked toward the instigator. Lee responded with a punch that seemed to have landed on Chiesa, and the two had to be separated. Instead of disappointment, UFC president Dana White responded to the altercation with a laugh during a subsequent media scrum.
“I heard that Chiesa said, ‘If that’s as hard as he hits, he’s in big trouble when we meet’,” White said.
The two fighters did a great job building anticipation for the fight and should put on a show that will showcase their tremendous talents. Chiesa is riding a three-fight win streak and is 7-2 in the UFC. He has wins over Beneil Dariush, Jim Miller and Al Iaquinta, not to mention Fight of the Night (twice), Submission of the Night (twice) and Performance of the Night honors to his credit. Chiesa brings an unorthodox style and unusual length to the Octagon. At 6-foot-1, the 29-year-old is long for a 155-pounder, and a win over Lee would likely land Chiesa in the division’s top 5.
Lee is just 24 years old and riding a four-fight winning streak. He’s 8-2 in the UFC and Chiesa will be his toughest opponent to date. A win over Chiesa could land him within the top 5 of the division and a matchup with a top 5 fighter. Lee has great wrestling and explosive speed, but will be significantly shorter against Chiesa as he only stands 5-feet-9 inches. Despite the height disadvantage, Lee has a two-inch reach advantage, which could serve as a useful weapon to counter Chiesa’s length.
The co-main event Sunday evening will be a middleweight basher between Tim Boetsch and former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks.
Boetsch made his UFC debut in February 2008, and at 36 years old, he has experienced an up-and-down career. From May 2011 to July 2012, he put together a four-fight win streak, but followed that spurt with two bad losses and hasn’t regained his momentum since. Boetsch is coming off a Round 1 submission loss to Ronaldo Souza at UFC 208, but he brings incredible punching power and a strong chin to the Octagon.
This will be Hendricks’ second fight at middleweight. He had issues making weight at 170 pounds and looked much more comfortable in his last fight at 185 pounds, which was a unanimous decision win over Hector Lombard in February. Hendricks needed the win over Lombard, as he was riding a three-fight losing streak.
From this fight forward, Hendricks will attempt to remind people of the fighter of old. He has won Fight of the Night honors four times and Knockout of the Night three times in his career. Fighting at a more comfortable weight will likely help Hendricks regain the same explosiveness UFC fans witnessed when he put together a six-fight winning streak from March 2011 through March 2013.
The UFC Fight Night main card also includes:
Women’s strawweight fight - No. 13 Felice Herrig (12-6) vs. Justine Kish (6-0)
Light heavyweight fight - Joachim Christensen (14-5) vs. Dominick Reyes (6-0)
Welterweight fight - Tim Means (26-8-1, 1 NC) vs. Alex Garcia (14-3)
Featherweight fight - BJ Penn (16-11-2) vs Dennis Siver (22-11, 1 NC)
The main card can be seen at 9 p.m. Eastern Time on FS1.