Lee Finishes Chiesa With Controversial Choke
The promotional steam built in a May news conference brawl in Dallas ended in bizarre fashion in Sunday’s main event at UFC Fight Night in Oklahoma City.
Following their unexpected onstage spat, Kevin Lee (16-2) beat Michael Chiesa (14-3) by rear-naked choke in the first round, though it’s hard to call it a "submission." Chiesa never tapped out, and yet referee Mario Yamasaki stepped in as if Chiesa had, bringing a stop to the fight.
It was Lee’s fifth consecutive win, as "The Motown Phenom" continues his climb in one of the UFC’s deepest divisions.
"It was just going to be four more rounds of that," Lee said in the postfight interview. "I just follow what the ref tells me. If the referee tells me to stop, I’m going to stop.
"If [Chiesa] wants to do it again, we can. But it was going to just be four more rounds of that."
Despite a controversial ending, Lee dominated the 4 minutes, 37 seconds before the stoppage. It was Chiesa’s first bout since April 2016, and the rust showed. Barely a minute into the fight, Lee picked up Chiesa and slammed "The Maverick" to the canvas. Lee held a 22-3 advantage in significant strikes at the time of the finish.
The 24-year-old Lee improves to 9-2 since joining the UFC. The Detroit native used his time on the mic to call out a top lightweight contender to meet at UFC 219.
"I want Khabib [Nurmagomedov], man," said Lee, who entered ranked No. 11 in the division. "In December, in Detroit, I’m headlining that card. If Khabib don’t want it, Mike can get it in Detroit.
"Khabib, you’ve got the date. You’ve got the time. Let’s get it in, baby."
In the co-main event, Tim Boetsch (21-11) beat Johny Hendricks (18-7) by second-round TKO in front of Hendricks’ home crowd.
Hendricks was a four-time All-American wrestler at Oklahoma State, competing at 157 and 165 pounds. "Big Rigg" missed the 186-pound middleweight limit Saturday morning by 2 pounds and forfeited 20 percent of his purse to Boetsch. The former UFC welterweight champion Hendricks is now 1-1 since moving up to middleweight.
UFC Fight Night Chiesa-Lee — Main-card results
Lightweight: Kevin Lee def. Michael Chiesa via submission (Rd. 1, 4:37)
Catchweight: Tim Boetsch def. Johny Hendricks via TKO (Rd. 2, 0:46)
Women’s strawweight: Felice Herrig def. Justine Kish via decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)
Light heavyweight: Dominick Reyes def. Joachim Christensen via TKO (Rd. 1, 0:29)
Welterweight: Tim Means def. Alex Garcia via decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Featherweight: Dennis Siver def. BJ Penn via maj. decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-27)
Original Story: ESPN