The final UFC show on Fox happens this weekend with UFC on Fox 31 at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The main event of the finale is a lightweight showdown between Kevin “The Motown Phenom” Lee versus “Raging” Al Iaquinta.

This is the second fight between these two lightweight contenders as they fought at UFC 169 in 2014. That bout was Kevin Lee’s UFC debut and Al Iaquinta welcomed the Motown Phenom by dealing him a unanimous decision loss. Four years later, Lee gets his chance for revenge as the two meet again inside the octagon.

Motown Phenom

Kevin Lee successfully bounced back from his submission loss to Tony Ferguson last year at UFC 216 with big win over former title challenger Edson Barboza. Lee rallied back after getting almost knocked out in the third round and stopped Barboza via TKO (doctor stoppage) in the fifth and final round. Lee outstruck Barboza 233-64 and took him down four times before opening a nasty cut on the Brazilian’s eye which caused the doctor to stop the fight.

Lee is currently ranked 4th in the UFC lightweight division. He has a record of 17-3 with 2 knockouts and 7 submissions. The Motown Phenom stands 5-9 with a reach of 77 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance. Lee lands 4.06 significant strikes per minute and lands 3.33 takedowns per fifteen minutes. He also averages 1.1 submission attempts per fight.

What’re the Odds?

Kevin Lee vs Al Iaquinta
Moneyline Odds: Lee -280, Iaquinta +240
Odds from as of 12/14/18

Raging Al

We last saw Al Iaquinta step in on one day notice to challenge Khabib Nurmagomedov in what was supposed to be a UFC lightweight title bout. The bout turned out to be a one-sided beating for Ragin Al as Nurmagomedov outstruck him 172-43. But if there was anything positive about his performance, it was that Khabib never got to finish him despite getting outstruck and taken down a total of six times. The bout was only the second in two years for Iaquinta who briefly quit the sport to pursue his career as a realty broker.

Despite his limited appearance, Iaquinta is ranked 8th in the lightweight division. He has a record of 13-4-1 with 7 knockouts and 1 submission. Iaquinta is 5-9 with a reach of 70 inches and is an orthodox fighter. Iaquinta lands 4.26 significant strikes per minute, secures 0.98 takedowns per 15 minutes and has a 77% takedown defense.

Who Wins?

Since their fight bout, Iaquinta has fought just a total of seven times, going 5-2 over that period. On the other hand, Kevin Lee has fought a dozen times since that defeat as he’s gone 10-2 during that stretch. Lee has fought at least twice a year while Raging Al sat out two years after an injury, contract dispute and a stint as realty agent. After his comeback fight against Diego Sanchez, Iaquinta sat out another year  before fighting Nurmagomedov last April.

Save for his loss to Ferguson, Kevin Lee is on a roll right now as he’s landed a total of 15 takedowns in his last five bouts. Most recently, Lee was superb on his feet against Edson Barboza but we all know that wrestling is his strength. The Motown Phenom is always looking for the takedown, looking to create an opportunity to submit his opponent.

On the other hand, Iaquinta hasn’t picked up enough rounds to be called consistent. He’s been on and off in the last couple of years and only has two fights since 2015. We didn’t see anything commendable from him in his last fight against Khabib except that he was durable enough to go the distance against the Russian Eagle. That’s significant here because Lee is known to have a poor ( not necessarily glass) chin so if these two go toe to toe, Iaquinta may have the edge in durability.

Betting Prediction

But common sense tells us that Lee is going to use his wrestling and grappling skills to keep this fight on the ground. As always, he will be looking for the takedown at every opportunity. Once he has the advantage, Lee is aggressive in going for the finish and he has excellent submission skills. We’ve seen Iaquinta surrender his back several times in his previous bouts and I see that happening in this bout. If Iaquinta doesn’t find Lee’s chin early, Lee is going to tire Iaquinta until Ragin Al blinks and gets submitted.

Prediction: Kevin Lee via submission

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