Tomorrow night on the main card of UFC Vegas 76, we are going to see the return of a former interim title challenger. The Motown Phenom Kevin Lee (19-7) makes his octagon return tomorrow night as he takes on the surging top contender Rinat Fakhretdinov (21-2).
For Fakhretdinov, this is a massive opportunity for him. He made his octagon debut last year and so far he’s gone a perfect 2-0 which includes a decision win over Ultimate Fighter winner Bryan Battle. Overall, he’s won sixteen fights in a row heading into tomorrow night and he’s looking for his biggest win yet.
Kevin Lee lost his UFC debut all the way back in 2014. However, after that loss he went 9-1 in ten fights leading him to an interim title fight with Tony Ferguson. However, starting with the Ferguson fight, Lee would go just 3-5 in his next eight fights.
His last fight came back in March of 2022 against Diego Sanchez in Eagle FC. In that fight, Lee hurt his knee and when the promotion stopped holding events in the US, Lee went back and signed with the UFC. Tomorrow, he makes his return.
UFC Vegas 76
The grappling in this matchup is going to be very interesting. We know how good Fakhretdinov is when it comes to his wrestling and we also know that Kevin Lee has a very strong wrestling base. Fakhretdinov uses his wrestling more for control whereas Lee sets up his ground game and jiu jitsu with his.
On the feet, Fakhretdinov has a decent amount of pop, but does tend to throw looping punches. Kevin Lee has a very solid jab and I could see his kicks playing a factor in this matchup. I do wonder what the cardio will be like for Kevin Lee given the style of fight we might see and the layoff.
So, who wins at UFC Vegas 76? I like Kevin Lee as the underdog here. I think he’s going to come out and really fight behind the jab and his cleaner striking technique will win him rounds. It’s going to be a close one on the scorecards, but I think the Motown Phenom gets a win in his return.
Prediction: Kevin Lee by Decision