Lee vs Iaquinta 2: A rundown of this rivalry
Top 10 lightweights Kevin Lee (No. 5) and Al Iaquinta (No. 9) are set to run it back as the rematch Kevin Lee has been vocally campaigning for has finally been booked as the main event when the UFC make their trip to Milwaukee later this year.
A rematch almost five years in the making, Kevin Lee is eyeing redemption against 'Raging' Al on December 15 with a potential title shot on the horizon for Lee if he gets his hand raised in this classic rematch.
The First Fight
Kevin Lee and Al Iaquinta first faced each other at UFC 169 on Feb 01, 2014 when Lee made his octagon debut against the much experienced Iaquinta in his hometown of New Jersey.
Raging Al was the one who got his hand raised after securing a unanimous decision victory after 3 competitive rounds and handing the 'Motown Phenom' his first career loss and a bitter welcome to the biggest stage of MMA.
The path to the rematch
Both Lee and Iaquinta have been on successful runs since their first clash. Raging Al went on to lose his very next fight against Mitch Clarke but bounced back to win his next five fights in a row beating some top talent like Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal and Diego Sanchez.
Al Iaquinta then faced the reigning Lightweight King, Khabib Nurmagomedov on a short notice of two days at UFC 223 and delivered a compelling five-round contest to eventually lose to Khabib but was by far the most successful anyone has ever been against 'The Eagle'. It's safe to say that the loss raised Al's stock rather than set him back.
Kevin Lee took the Iaquinta loss to heart and has been on a absolute tear on the Lightweight division racking up one dominant win after another.
Barring his two defeats against Leonardo Santos on UFC 194 and his Interim Title Fight defeat against Tony Ferguson at UFC 216, Kevin Lee has looked virtually flawless in his rise to become a top contender and a prospective future champion at 155 lbs.
With dominant wins over likes of Jake Matthews, Michael Chiesa and Edson Barboza, Kevin Lee has made a name or himself as a relentless force who can give the current champion a tough time given the chance, another fight he has been vocally campaigning for.
Stylistically this rematch is a treat for hardcore and casual fans alike with both Lee and Iaquinta being known to be well-conditioned wrestlers with sound striking techniques.
Both these men have the confidence and the grit and conditioning to deliver an exciting and technical fight.
Kevin Lee as always will be looking to impose his world-class wrestling and put the grind on Iaquinta and prove to the world that he is the most dominant grappler in the division as he has always said.
Iaquinta possesses well-schooled boxing techniques and a strong wrestling and BJJ base, thanks to his camp on Matt Serra-Ray Longo.
Raging Al's grappling skills were on full display in his fight against Nurmagomedov when he gave the Russian phenom a tough time in both securing takedowns and establishing any sort of control on the ground; something which no one else in the world has done till today.
All in all, it will be very interesting to see if Kevin Lee's pressure and wresting can break Al Iaquinta's grit or if Raging Al can overcome the storm and declare himself as a legit top contender at 155 lbs.