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UFC on Fox 31 results: Al Iaquinta edges out Kevin Lee in thrilling battle

Lightweight contenders Kevin Lee and Al Iaquinta fought each other tonight (Sat., December 15, 2018) inside Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin tonight, the last live and free event on big FOX. Their first matchup, Lee’s UFC debut in 2014, ended in a unanimous decision win for Iaquinta. Both men have come within touching distance of a UFC title since then, a sick Kevin Lee losing to Tony Ferguson and a late-notice Iaquinta putting up a tough but futile performance against Khabib Nurmagomedov.

They touched gloves. Lee circled and jabbed. Iaquinta tried to pick up a single-leg, then landed a flush spinning backfist off his third leg-pick. Iaquinta ate a straight right but ducked Lee’s follow-up swings. Lee landed a body kick, attempted to establish his jab from southpaw, and ate a couple nice combinations from Iaquinta. Lee threw up a high kick off Iaquinta’s arms. Iaquinta blocked another high kick and slipped more punches from Lee before landing a nice hook of his own. He pushed forward, landing another hook off a single-leg attempt. Lee threw up another high kick. When he switched to orthodox from southpaw, Al landed a jab and they traded leg kicks. They traded leather, and Iaquinta landed another hook as Lee nearly slipped.

Both men were content to keep their boxing going in the second round, with Lee switching stances back and forth. Lee finally shot in, and though Al stuffed his initial attempt, Lee grabbed a body lock and just stuffed Iaquinta to the mat, quickly taking his back with the body triangle. He landed hammerfists from the back while controlling on of Al’s wrists. Al eventually spun out and got to his feet. Lee nodded respect at him. Al landed a nice right hand that sent Lee circling back. Al landed a jab, Lee circled and kicked. Al landed a lead uppercut, then a couple more flashy jabs. Lee landed a body kick, had it countered. Al caught a low kick and threw another counter. Lee got cracked by another overhand, threw a nice hook, but ate another overhand as the round ended.

Al landed a hook immediately to open the third round. They traded body kicks. Iaquinta landed a nice counter right hand as Lee threw. Lee landed a nice right straight that snapped Al’s head back. Lee landed a nice body kick. Lee tried a counter knee that just missed, then ate an overhand. He jabbed as Lee kicked. Al tried a shot that didn’t work, Lee shot in and put him on his butt for a moment, but Al scooted to the cage. Lee held onto the waist cinch as Iaquinta tried to stand. Lee held him on all fours, trying to use his weight, then picked Al up and slammed him, taking his back again. He threatened with a rear-naked choke, but Al defended, holding onto Lee’s wrists. Iaquinta tried to turn into Lee, but nothing doing. Lee held onto back mount through the end of the round.

Lee threw a high kick early in the fourth. Iaquinta tried to find his way inside to land that overhand. He cracked Lee with a hard right hand, but Lee seemed unfazed. Another right hand sent Lee circling. Iaquinta landed another hard straight, then landed a looping head kick! Lee countered a leg kick with a straight of his own. Iaquinta stayed patient, kicking Lee’s legs, and they clashed leg kicks. Iaquinta double-jabbed into a right hand that really snapped Lee’s head back, but Kevin Lee was taking the damage well. Iaquinta ate a body kick. Lee landed a nice lead hook from southpaw. Iaquinta landed a nice leg kick. Iaquinta stepped forward, but both fighters connected to end the round.

The fifth and final round seemed poised to decide the contest. Lee jabbed and landed a lead hook from orthodox. Iaquinta stuffed a takedown from Lee, who immediately spun for a heel and got back in on Al’s hips against the cage. Iaquinta connected his hands under Lee, stuffing his takedown attempt, but they remained stuck against the cage. Lee looked certain to get the takedown, but Iaquinta got to his hands and knees. He fought free, with half the round remaining. Iaquinta stalked forward, and Lee countered. Good jab from Al, who ate a headkick but landed a hook-straight combination. Iaquinta and Lee were both throwing, and Al staggered Lee with a hook. Al was in no hurry, staying patient, and Lee stayed circling. Al landed a jab and ate one, then landed another overhand. He ate a hook and landed a combination. The crowd was roaring as he stalked Lee. He landed a front kick to Lee’s chin! Al connected again and again! Lee wouldn’t go down, and they ended with Al roaring in Lee’s bloody face! What an end to the fight!

Ragin’ Al was fairly calm post-fight. “What a fight! Thank you Kevin Lee. You came to fight.” He said with the right preparation, he can beat anyone in the lightweight division. He said if Conor thinks he’s getting a rematch before him, he needs to think again, because he’s the guy Conor needs to go through first.

Lee was crestfallen, saying he thought he put up a good fight, saying he isn’t normally speechless, and congratulated Al, saying he thought he had the first three rounds but if the judges thought Al won, he couldn’t help but take his hat off to him. What a great end to the UFC on Fox era.

Official result: Al Iaquinta def. Kevin Lee by unanimous decision (48-47x2, 49-46)

For complete UFC on FOX 31 results, including play-by-play, click here

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