Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee fight for the interim UFC lightweight title at the main event of UFC 216 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 7th, 2017.

Ferguson vs. Lee remained the headliner despite the UFC adding of the flyweight title bout between champion Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson and Ray Borg to the card. That bout was supposed to headline UFC 215 but Borg pulled out of the fight due to injury. As it stands, the interim 155-pound title bout between El Cucuy and the Motown Phenom remains as the main event.

Interim Title Bout

With Conor McGregor taking the rest of the year off, top ranked lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov has laid low since pulling out of his UFC 209 showdown with Ferguson due to a botched weight cut. Because of those developments, the UFC decided to keep the lightweight division active by ordering the 2nd ranked Ferguson and the #7 guy Lee to fight for the interim belt.

Ferguson has won an incredible 9 fights in a row and is coming off a decision win over former champion Rafael Dos Anjos last November. Lee, meanwhile, has won five consecutive fights, with four coming by stoppage. In his most recent bout, his first headliner, the 24-year old Lee submitted veteran Michael Chisea.

Equally Matched

Ferguson is favored over Lee at -225 against +175 odds at Bovada and most other UFC betting sites. It doesn’t get any better than this for the UFC. These are two equally matched fighters who can hold their own on the feet, in the clinch or on the canvass. It’s hard to pick a winner here because you can make a claim for either side.

Ferguson is a volume striker who has knockout power and who can submit his opponents on the ground. He’s one of the more conditioned fighters in the game and can win anywhere. Six of his last nine wins have come via stoppage.

Takedowns Are Key

Kevin Lee hasn’t lost since his 2015 defeat to Leonardo Santos. Lee is a strong athlete who takes the fight wherever he wants to and win there. He is an underrated striker but his bread and butter are his takedowns and submissions. He has nine takedowns in his last three fights with each of those bouts ending via stoppage.

Ferguson has been in superb form lately but Kevin Lee’s takedowns and superior strength should be the key here. Look for Lee to drag El Cucuy down and derail him from his game plan. Ferguson is excellent on the ground but Lee may be too strong for him on the canvass. It will be hard to stop Tony Ferguson but Kevin Lee will settle for scoring big takedowns. We’re picking Kevin Lee to win by decision or late submission.

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