UFC Fight Night: Lee vs. Iaquinta 2 Preview
A preview of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card, set to take place in Milwaukee.
Updated: Dec. 12, 2018 • 11:35 AM ET
Milwaukee will host this weekend's UFC Fight Night event.
The UFC will be in Milwaukee this Saturday with a main event featuring a dynamic fight in the lightweight division. No. 4 ranked lightweight Kevin Lee will face No. 8 Al Iaquinta in a rematch from UFC 169 in 2014. Iaquinta won the first fight via unanimous decision, but both fighters have grown significantly since, making Saturday’s fight a very intriguing matchup.
Lee is coming off the biggest win of his career, a fifth-round TKO due to doctor’s stoppage over Edson Barboza in April. Lee dominated the fight and even survived a signature Barboza wheel kick, a blow that no fighter had previously been able to absorb. The win was a great rebound for Lee after losing to Tony Ferguson in an interim lightweight title fight at UFC 216.
Lee (17-3) could be one win away from challenging for the lightweight title, as the 26-year-old from Detroit has victories over Barboza, Michael Chiesa and Francisco Trinaldo. After making his UFC debut against Iaquinta at just 22 years old, Lee believes things will go differently this time around.
“When I fight Al, I’m gonna humiliate him,” Lee said via Submission Radio. “I’m gonna just show that I’m better than him everywhere. How the fight goes will be up to him.
“He’s a very tough guy. He will stay in there for as long as you let him, but I’ll make him quit and he’ll get up out of there. I think I’ll put that man to sleep.”
Iaquinta is coming off a short notice fight in which he challenged for the title against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 in April. While Nurmagomedov won the fight via unanimous decision, Iaquinta exposed holes in his game that no other fighter had been able to. Even in a losing effort, Iaquinta landed on fight fans’ radars and proved how dangerous he is to top contenders in the lightweight division.
Iaquinta (13-4-1) was on a five-fight winning streak heading into the bout with Nurmagomedov with key victories over Lee, Diego Sanchez, Jorge Masvidal, Joe Lauzon and Ross Pearson in his career. Even though the 31-year-old New York native already has a victory over Lee, he knows he’ll face a different fighter on Saturday.
“He’s definitely bigger and stronger,” Iaquinta said via MMA Fighting. “More mature as a fighter, probably less mature as a person. He’s polished, he’s seasoned. Now he’s been in there with really tough guys. He was cocky when he came into the UFC, he kind of thought that he was gonna run through everything.”
The winner between Lee and Iaquinta will definitely enter the title conversation, as it remains uncertain who Nurmagomedov will fight next. Lee has repeatedly called out the champion and Iaquinta has gone five rounds with him, so either would pose as an intriguing matchup.
Saturday’s co-main event will also be in the lightweight division, as No. 5 Edson Barboza faces No. 14 Dan Hooker.
Barboza (19-6), who made his UFC debut at UFC 123 in 2010, is trying to rebound from consecutive losses to Lee and Nurmagomedov. The 32-year-old owns several highlight reel knockouts in his career and has fought some of the best in the lightweight division with victories over Beneil Dariush, Gilbert Melendez, Anthony Pettis, Paul Felder, Bobby Green, Evan Dunham and Ross Pearson. The Brazilian needs to find a way to defeat an up-and-coming contender in Hooker if he wants to stay in the top five of one of the most competitive division’s in the UFC.
Hooker has won four straight fights with finishes in all of them, most recently knocking out Gilbert Burns in the first round at UFC 226 in July. The 28-year-old from of Auckland, New Zealand has also defeated Jim Miller, Marc Diakiese and Ross Pearson.
He’s 7-3 in the UFC and 17-7 overall, but Hooker will face the toughest test of his career on Saturday. A win over Barboza could catapult him into the top 10 of the lightweight division and announce his presence as a true title contender.
Also on the main card
Bantamweight bout - No. 11 Rob Font vs. No. 2 Sergio Pettis
Lightweight bout - Jim Miller vs. Charles Oliveira
Welterweight bout - Zak Ottow vs. Dwight Grant
Women’s flyweight bout - No. 10 Jessica-Rose Clark vs. No. 15 Andrea Lee
Lightweight bout - Bobby Green vs. Drakkar Klose
Lightweight bout - Jared Gordon vs. Joaquim Silva
Middleweight bout - Gerald Meerschaert vs. Jack Hermansson
Featherweight bout - Dan Ige vs. Jordan Griffin
UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims
Light heavyweight bout - Adam Milstead vs. Mike Rodriguez
Middleweight bout - Trevor Smith vs. Zak Cummings
Heavyweight bout - Chris De La Rocha vs. Juan Adams
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