Islam Makhachev blasts Kevin Lee for taking Charles Oliveira headliner fight in UFC Brasilia
Kevin Lee looks to be having a career resurgence after changing camps to the Tri Star Gym in Canada with head Firas Zahabi. The new-found confidence showed in his last fight at Madison Square Garden as he knocked out the previously-undefeated Gregor Gillespie in the first round via a brutal head kick.
After the fight, Lee was very clear - he wasn't calling out any champions. Being on a small losing skid before that, he knew that there was work to be done and he had to go at it from the ground up. There was a lot of interest on his end at facing #15 ranked Islam Makhachev - one of the big prospects of the 155-pound division.
The Russian Islam Makhachev gladly obliged, showing mutual interest in that fight - especially since Lee is a higher-ranked opponent with more name value. There was only a tease of the fight and the Russian tweeted out that he was waiting for the contract to be offered.
We finally know why that didn't happen. Lee was offered a headliner spot at UFC Brasilia on March 14th which he has seemingly accepted. Perhaps it's the fact that headlining a Fight Night would be a bigger payday than fighting on the main card of UFC 249.
The Russian responded to Kevin Lee, blasting him for taking the "easy way out":
While some would argue that Oliveira isn't as difficult as Makhachev would be, we don't want to undermine the Brazilian and his abilities. Over the last year and a half, he's fought six times - winning on all six occasions with a finish. There's no denying that the Brasilia main event is exciting and many would hope that Lee will win and Makhachev wins his next fight so they can clash. It seems inevitable at this point.Modified Jan 15, 2020