Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee returns to the octagon this summer, faces Rinat Fakhretdinov at UFC on ESPN 48

Kevin Lee will be returning to the big show this summer, as he’s slated to face Russian standout Rinat Fakhretdinov at UFC on ESPN 48.

UFC on ESPN 48 is to go down on July 1, 2023, live from the UFC Apex in Enterprise, Nevada.

There was word of Kevin Lee (19-7) resigning with the Ultimate Fighting Championship earlier this year, as Eagle FC has not been hosting events as of late.

Following a two-fight skid, and a 2-5 run from 2017 to 2021, Lee was released from the UFC, where he signed with Eagle FC not long thereafter, competing for them a single time back in March of 2022 where he defeated The Ultimate Fighter 1 winner Diego Sanchez (UD).

Now he returns to the octagon to face a true Russian killer that’s won 20 of his 21 professional fights to date.

Rinat Fakhretdinov (20-1) hasn’t lost since 2013. That lone defeat came in just his second professional fight, where he was defeated by then 6-1-1 Aigun Akhmedov, who’s since climbed to 19-2-1 as a professional himself.

Over the course of his 19-fight win streak, Fakhretdinov has accumulated 15 finishes. He defeated UFC veteran Eric Spicely (KO) in his bout prior to joining the UFC and has since gone 2-0 with victories over the likes of Andreas Michailidis (UD) and The Ultimate Fighter 29 winner Bryan Battle (UD).

Lee was at one point one of, if not the most hyped talent in the UFC.

Standing 5’9” with a reach of 77”, a solid wrestling background and some of the best back-taking in the entire sport, his future was looking very bright.

Following defeat in his UFC debut, Lee would go 9-1 over his next 10 outings, which included a five-fight win streak from 2016 to 2017 where he defeated the likes of Efrain Escudero (UD), Jake Matthews (TKO), Magomed Mustafaev (rear naked choke), Francisco Trinaldo (rear naked choke), and Michael Chiesa (rear naked choke).

This led up to his interim lightweight title bout with Tony Ferguson, who he absolutely dominated en route to a third-round submission (triangle choke) defeat, a fight he had a staph infection going into.

Lee has been looking to get back to that version of himself ever since. He has picked up incredible victories over Edson Barboza (TKO) and Gregor Gillespie (KO) since, but his consistency has been an issue as of late.

Now that he’s 30 years old, Lee believes he has matured enough as a fighter to make another title run up at 170 lbs.

Who do you see coming out on top in this epic welterweight contest going down at UFC on ESPN 48?

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