Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweights Kevin Lee and Michel Prazeres look to take another step forward last night (Sat., Feb. 14, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 60 inside 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colorado.
Possessing all the signs of a future contender, Lee definitely had some eyes on him last night. In his first match up with a smothering top player, Lee looked to prove that his wrestling was up to snuff.
Meanwhile, Prazeres entered the bout undefeated as a lightweight and looking to announce himself as a force in the division. At 31 years old, Prazeres needs to make his impact sooner rather than later, and last night was his opportunity to separate himself from the pack.
As usual, Prazeres wasted no time at the start of the bout, immediately shooting for a takedown. Lee scrambled up to his feet quickly, but the Brazilian took his back standing. However, Prazeres was not able to do much with the position, and Lee was soon back to his feet.
For the rest of the round, both men exchanged punches. Neither man really controlled the tempo of the striking, as they both landed some hard shots while standing in front of each other. Near the end of the round, Lee began taking over just a bit, but it was still a very close round overall.
After a brief striking exchange, Prazeres latched back onto his opponent's waist to start the second. He landed a few takedowns on his younger foe, but Lee was always quick to pop right back up. Then, at about the halfway point, Lee landed a takedown on an exhausted Prazeres.
Prazeres stood up fairly fast, but Lee returned him to his back with about two minutes left. From there, Lee controlled his opponent from within the guard until the bell, landing small strikes and putting a stamp on the round.
For much of the final frame, Lee and Prazeres stood flat-footed in front of each other and landed a majority of the strikes they threw. Overall, Lee was the fresher fighter and landed the better strikes during these exchanges.
Then, Lee landed a powerful double leg takedown with about two minutes remaining. It became clear just how tired Prazeres was, as Lee absolutely dominated the Brazilian on the mat with ground strikes. He even threatened the jiu-jitsu black belt with a rear naked choke late, though he could not secure the finish.
Lee's defensive wrestling was pretty excellent in this bout. Prazeres' chain takedowns have largely been unstoppable thus far in his career, and his top game is usually incredibly tight. Instead, Lee stuffed the shots, did damage while Prazeres looked for his takedown, and then reversed takedowns later in the fight.
Though Lee won a majority of the striking exchanges, he allowed it to be closer than necessary. Not only did he stand flat-footed and directly in front of the Brazilian, but he also dropped his lead hand pretty frequently. For his trouble, Lee earned some thick bruises around his eyes.
Next time, Lee should look to follow his game plan and utilize his movement.
Still, that was an impressive performance by the young fighter. Lee hasn't yet earned a top 15 fighter and should continue to be brought along slowly. There are plenty of lightweights in the middle of the division; a match up with any of them would make sense.
Prazeres simply never got into his game in this bout. It's clear that the altitude affected him, as he slowed down before the first round was over. Once he was fatigued, Prazeres simply couldn't compete with his opponent.
This was Prazeres' first loss inside the lightweight division. Expect Prazeres to be matched up with another up-and-coming fighter -- he's a very good litmus test for the division's many prospects -- such as Beneil Dariush.
At UFC Fight Night 60, Kevin Lee handed Michel Prazeres the second loss of his career. How high can the young lightweight climb in such a talent-rich division?
For complete UFC Fight Night 60: "Henderson vs Thatch" results and play-by-play click HERE.