UFC Fight Night 112: Chiesa vs. Lee
Date: June 25, 2017
Arena: Chesapeake Energy Arena
City: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Lightweight bout: Kevin Lee (-135) vs. Michael Chiesa (+125)
Fight Breakdown: The main event for UFC Fight Night 112 will be a lightweight contest scheduled for five rounds between prospects “The MoTown Phenom” Kevin Lee and Michael “Maverick” Chiesa. Lee is listed as a slight betting favorite at -135 ($135 to win $100) with Chiesa sitting as a small +125 underdog ($100 to win $125) based on Reduced Juice lines at Several Bookmakers.
“The MoTown Phenom” Kevin Lee (15-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) is coming off a second-round rear-naked choke submission win over Francisco Trinaldo and rides a four-fight winning streak into this matchup. Lee is a talented wrestler who is quite effective with both the single and double-leg takedowns. He makes excellent transitions on the mat, doing a great job advancing from position to position. He is also a decent boxer who is light on his feet. He has a solid lead jab, a nice uppercut and throws a heavy overhand right. He has a good high kick and also works kicks to the body really well. That said, Lee mainly uses his striking to set up his takedowns. He likes to get his opponents up against the cage, where he does damage with his knees. Then when he decides to take the fight down to the mat, he employs a solid ground-and-pound attack. The Detroit native has decent striking defense, good submission defense and great takedown defense. He works a great front choke, which he has finished a couple of his recent opponents with outside of the UFC. Lee is a well-conditioned, durable fighter who generally does a good job of listening to his coaches when inside the cage. This is his first five-round fight in the UFC, and I think he will be ready for five rounds of action, if necessary, though his cardio is something to keep an eye on come rounds four and five.
Michael “Maverick” Chiesa (14-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) last saw action at UFC on FOX 19 more than a year ago, when he earned a second-round, come-from-behind rear-naked choke win over Beneil Dariush, which put him at three wins in a row at 155 pounds. The Ultimate Fighter Season 15 winner has a ton of heart and is constantly improving his all-around game. His striking has improved leaps and bounds since his time on the reality television series, and his ground game has gotten better as well. Chiesa is a durable fighter, but he cuts a lot of weight to make the lightweight limit, which results in him sometimes slowing down in the third round of his fights, as was evident in his outing against Mitch Clarke. He completely dominated the Canadian for the first two rounds and then lost the third and final round. He is a fighter who has no quit in him, but his cardio is something to keep an eye on here, as it is his first five-round main event too.
Gabe’s Call: Lee by Submission (technical rear naked choke, 3:49 round 2)
Gabe’s Thoughts: Both of these 155-pounders are good at taking their opponents backs and putting them away. I think there is a good chance one of them gains that position in this matchup and wraps up the show. I give a slight wrestling advantage to Lee, so I favor his chances of getting in a position to finish this fight. But I see no betting value for a straight play on either fighter here, so I like the Total of Under 2.5 rounds more, as I do favor the chances of this fight ending within two-and-a-half rounds of action.
Gabe’s Recommended Play: Under 2.5 rounds (-112)