UFC Fight Night 152 Squared Up: Dos Anjos vs Lee

Jason Paglia

Thursday, May 16, 2019 7:53 PM UTC

Thursday, May. 16, 2019 7:53 PM UTC

Rochester, New York is the site for UFC: Fight Night 152. It all goes down this Saturday night under the lights of the Blue Cross Arena.
<div><h2>Main Event Breakdown</h2><p>If you are a frequent reader of the ‘Squared Up’ series, you know how hard I have been on matchmaker Sean Shelby for lackluster fight cards. Welp, Saturday will be no different. There might be two fights on the entire card that I’m excited to watch and luckily for us the main event is one of them. It centers around the welterweight division this week when lightweight contender Kevin Lee steps up in weight to take on Rafael Dos Anjos (RDA) at 170 lbs. Let’s do what we do and break this fight down to a fine powder.</p><h2>RAFAEL DOS ANJOS (28-11) vs KEVIN LEE (17-4)</h2><p><img alt src="https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/DYRcFLkfP8jcM_y5f3wt4DVMqIc=/0x0:3871x2581/1200x800/filters:focal(0x0:3871x2581)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/52634767/usa-today-9657714.0.jpg" style="width:750px;height:500px;" /></p><p><strong>Rafael Dos Anjos</strong>: Dos Anjos wasn’t a perennial contender from the day he stepped into the Octagon, he had to work for it. He made his debut at UFC: 91, losing by TKO to Jeremy Stephens in 2008. He would take the road less traveled for seven years, and finally, in 2015, he found himself on the doorstep of immortality at UFC: 185. He went into his title fight with Anthony Pettis with a torn MCL and came out with the UFC lightweight championship. Since then he has beaten a who’s who of mixed martial arts including two former champions in Benson Henderson and Robbie Lawler. In 2017, after his fight with Tony Ferguson, RDA went up a weight class to Welterweight. Since the move, he’s won three of his last five fights and will go into the fight with Lee ranked the #3 Welterweight contender in the world.</p><p>― STATS ―</p><table border="1" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1" style="width:700px;"> <tbody> <tr> <td><strong>•Method of Victory</strong></td> <td><strong>•Significant Strikes </strong>(per/min)</td> <td><strong>•Takedowns</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>▪5 wins by TKO</td> <td>▪ 3.71 Landed</td> <td>▪ 40.54% Accuracy</td> </tr> <tr> <td>▪14 wins by Decision</td> <td>▪ 3.18 Absorbed</td> <td>▪ 64.94% Defended</td> </tr> <tr> <td>▪9 wins by Submission</td> <td> </td> <td> </td> </tr> </tbody></table><p> </p><p>― PROS ―</p><p>• <strong>Striking</strong> (The move in 2017 to boxing trainer Jason Perillo has paid off in spades for RDA. He is much smoother in the pocket, his counter game has improved immensely and his volume has increased. Aside from his boxing skills everyone that follows the sport knows his left kick to the body is legendary, which could be a potential issue for Lee.)</p><p>• <strong>Strength</strong> (Over the last two years, RDA has found a home at 170 lbs. and it’s because he had a substantial strength advantage at lightweight. His transition was seamless and we have no idea how Lee will deal with the step up. This should also help RDA with takedowns and ground and pound, should the fight go to the ground.)</p><p>• <strong>Head Movement</strong> (RDA’s head movement is phenomenal. I assume that Lee will want to fight this fight in the pocket. If that’s the case, Dos Anjos’ head movement is constantly off the center line which gives his opponents who are content with staying in the pocket issues.)</p><p>― CONS ―</p><p>• <strong>Pressure</strong> (RDA is a pressure fighter. What do most pressure fighters hate fighting against? PRESSURE FIGHTERS.)</p><p>• <strong>Wrestlers</strong> (For as strong as RDA is, he has had problems with bigger fighters who have gone into the Octagon, taken him down and wrestled him. It’s the closest thing to his kryptonite. You would think that his background in BJJ automatically makes him great in the guard but it hasn’t despite all his submission victories. He has gotten lulled to sleep on his back before and by doing so has lost rounds. Lee does come from a wrestling background but we haven’t seen him use those skills lately.)</p><p>• <strong>Focus</strong> (I thought about making this CON Fight IQ and not Focus but the truth is, RDA always comes into a fight with a well thought out gameplan. The problem with RDA is that sometimes he is winning a fight on cruise control and he loses focus for a split second which has turned a fight or two from a win to a loss. It is worth noting that he is in a main event and ranked 3rd in the world at 170 lbs. right now. Focus shouldn’t be an issue but you never know.)</p><p>Kevin Lee:</p><p><img alt src="https://www.reviewjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/11544755_web1_MMA-UFC216CAPS-100717hf_008.jpg" style="width:750px;height:514px;" /></p><p>Kevin Lee comes from a wrestling background where he wrestled in both high school and college. He went 37-0 in his sophomore campaign at Grand Valley State University and it was then he would forfeit his remaining eligibility and pursue a career in mixed martial arts. Now Kevin Lee stands the #7th ranked Lightweight fighter in the world. Although Lee comes into Saturday night’s main event winning six of his last eight fights, he has dropped two of his last three. He lost his rematch with Iaquinta last time out at UFC on FOX 31 and he also dropped his interim title opportunity against Tony Ferguson at UFC: 216. On Saturday he looks to dip his toe in the pool that is the UFC welterweight division for the first time.</p><p>― STATS ―</p><table border="1" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1" style="width:700px;"> <tbody> <tr> <td><strong>•Method of Victory</strong></td> <td><strong>•Significant Strikes </strong>(per/min)</td> <td><strong>•Takedowns</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>▪2 wins by TKO</td> <td>▪ 4.06 Landed</td> <td>▪ 42.67% Accuracy</td> </tr> <tr> <td>▪7 wins by Decision</td> <td>▪ 2.96 Absorbed</td> <td>▪ 75.01% Defended</td> </tr> <tr> <td>▪8 wins by Submission</td> <td> </td> <td> </td> </tr> </tbody></table><p> </p><p>― PROS ―</p><p>• <strong>Wrestling</strong> (While Lee doesn’t fall back on his wrestling enough, it is his greatest strength. Often most paths to victories for Lee flows through his wrestling game. The problem with Lee is he gets stuck in these boxing matches where he is serviceable and forgets about the skill that brought him to the dance in the first place.)</p><p>• <strong>Striking</strong> (Lee is not the better striker in this fight, but he is still an above average striker in the pocket and a PRO nonetheless.)</p><p>• <strong>Takedowns</strong> (This falls in line with his wrestling but it is not the same thing. Takedowns are an art form and Kevin Lee’s double leg is one of the best in the sport. The problem is we never know if he will use it.)</p><p>― CONS ―</p><p>•<strong>Chin</strong> (It’s not good…. Like at all. His chin was bad fighting at 155, now he steps up against a fighter in RDA who has more than enough power to put Lee down. If RDA hits the button, get ready for the chicken wing legs.)</p><p>•<strong>High Caliber Competition</strong> (Every time Kevin Lee has had the opportunity to prove himself against a top 5 opponent he has failed. At a certain point you have to ask yourself if this is a mental issue or is he the best of the rest, and not the best of the best.)</p><p>•<strong>The Unknown</strong> (One of the biggest factors Saturday night is the unknown. Dos Anjos has a two-year head start at the new weight class and this is fight #1 for Lee at 170 lbs. We have no idea <a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/fighting/int/ultimate-fighting-championship/kevin-lee-vs-rafael-dos-anjos-3795268/?mtgid=307&amp;mtid=396" target="_blank">how the added fifteen pounds will affect Lee’s cardio for a normal three round fight, never mind the five-round main event</a> on Saturday night. Unknowns are generally bad when handicapping MMA, especially moves up in weight.)</p><p><img alt src="https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--QzrUoU1e--/c_scale,f_auto,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/17wwvcry020hhjpg.jpg" style="width:750px;height:422px;" /></p><h2>THE VERDICT</h2><p>Let me preface this at the start by saying, I am not a fan of Kevin Lee. I don’t know what it is about him, but he rarely impresses me when I watch him fight. He looked severely outclassed in his rematch with ‘Ragin’ Al. He was slower and more fatigued than the usual. If that fight was any indication of the Lee we will see against RDA, he is in trouble. Fight after fight Lee gets further and further away from what made him a top ten contender in the first place, his wrestling. If he is going to win this fight, he needs to duplicate the game plan he had against Tony Ferguson. He was beating Tony badly on the ground before Ferguson threw up a triangle and submitted him. If he goes in there and dusts off his wrestling game, he has a path to victory. I just can’t trust him to do that. Lee gets lulled into these boxing matches against better strikers and he loses. That is what happened in his last fight against Iaquinta. If he would have taken Al down round after round he would have won that fight and he wouldn’t be fighting Dos Anjos this weekend at a new weight class. <a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/fighting/int/ultimate-fighting-championship/kevin-lee-vs-rafael-dos-anjos-3795268/?mtid=126" target="_blank">The other reason it’s hard to back Lee Saturday is the unknown</a>. The move up in weight is a big deal when it’s the first time. Lee tired late in the Iaquinta fight and now he will have an additional fifteen pounds on him in a five round fight, that’s an issue.</p><p>On the flip side, I am a big fan of Rafael dos Anjos at welterweight. He has looked really good. I expected him to have trouble against Lawler, he didn’t. Physically he was a bear at 155 and his strength has transitioned well at 170 lbs. He didn’t pick up the victory against Colby Covington but he was game until the end. I don’t blame RDA for the loss against Usman either, he is at the tail end of his prime and Usman just entered his. The loss looks a lot better now considering Usman just took the strap off Tyron Woodley in dominating fashion. Here are the facts. Does Lee have a path to victory if he relies heavily on his wrestling? YES. Do I trust Lee to wrestle and not get stuck in a traditional boxing/kickboxing match? NO. If that’s the case, RDA is a better striker and knows what his body can and cannot do at 170 lbs. At this price, I have to back Rafael dos Anjos.</p><h2>THE PICK</h2><p><a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/fighting/int/ultimate-fighting-championship/kevin-lee-vs-rafael-dos-anjos-3795268/?mtgid=307&amp;mtid=126" target="_blank">Rafael dos Anjos to win at 10/11 (1.90)</a></p></div>
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