UFC Fight Night 152 will take place on Saturday, May 18th inside the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York.
In the main event of the evening, two of the best welterweights in the world will go head to head, as they both look to get their names back in the win column, hopefully en route to a future title shot. It’s the Brazilian veteran Rafael Dos Anjos, taking on the cocky wrestler Kevin Lee.
RDA will enter the octagon for the first time in 2019, and he’s looking to claim his first win since the end of 2017, where he pummeled Robbie Lawler on the feet for three rounds. Dos Anjos went 0-2 in 2018, as he ran into a couple of wrestlers in Colby Covington and welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. RDA now finds himself in that same position, as he has to deal with yet another wrestler in Kevin Lee.
Kevin Lee, like RDA, is making his first walk to the octagon in 2019 and is also looking to bounce back from a loss. We last saw Kevin Lee in December, where he was beaten by Al Iaquinta for a second time. Kevin Lee has seemingly been hit or miss, but when he is on, he’s a tough man to beat, especially if he gets you down to the ground, and that has to be Lee’s plan on Saturday against Dos Anjos.
Let’s look at the fighters statistics, possible game-plans, advantages and weaknesses, and ultimately pick a winning fighter to come Saturday night.
On the feet
RDA will definitely have an advantage when it comes to blows on the feet.
While the stats don’t exactly show it, Dos Anjos is a much better striker than Lee and prefers to keep the fight standing up. RDA lands approximately 3.62 significant strikes compared to Lee’s 4.06 sig. strikes, per the UFC’s website. This can be attributed to Kevin Lee’s pressure fighting. RDA also has a better defensive clip on the feet, as he blocks 62% of strikes, whereas Lee blocks 52%.
If you want an idea of RDA’s ideal position on the feet, watch his bout against Robbie Lawler. He had the ruthless one against the cage and just unloaded seemingly hundreds of strikes with zero rebuttal, it was possibly Dos Anjos’ best performance in the octagon.
Kevin Lee isn’t necessarily a liability on the feet, but it sure isn’t a comfort zone for the Motown Phenom.
On the ground
As much of an advantage that RDA will have on the feet, go ahead and double that when it comes to how big of an advantage Kevin Lee will have on the mat.
Kevin Lee has landed 44% of his takedowns, his grappling accuracy is amazing. Eight of Lee’s 17 victories have come by submission. Lee averages 3.1 takedowns per 15 minutes, he’s an all-around beast on the ground.
RDA has never actually been submitted before so this will be a great and classic matchup of the striker vs. wrestler.
Whose got what it takes?
If I was RDA’s manager, I would not have accepted this matchup. It’s the third fight in a row where RDA has to go up against a wrestler. If the fight goes anything like the Covington or Usman fight, it’s gonna be another long night for Dos Anjos.
Kevin Lee needs a big bounce-back win here. The Iaquinta fight was one that many thought Lee would win, leading towards another future title shot. Lee seemingly has to win this fight if he wants to be treated as a serious contender in the future. RDA, seemingly on the downside of his career, wants to show he still has gas in the tank and can win big fights.
I’m going with Kevin Lee here. It seems like its another one of those fights where the pressure from the wrestler is going to overwhelm the striker. If RDA can stuff takedowns like he hasn’t been able to before, then he could eventually put away Lee, but he’s never stopped a great wrestler before.
Prediction: Lee via decision