Welcome to Midnight Mania!
There’s a lot of pressure on Kevin Lee this weekend at UFC Vegas 76, which goes down this Saturday (July 1, 2023) inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s been just about two years since he was released from the UFC roster following a pair of losses to Daniel Rodriguez and Charles Oliveira. Afterward, he joined the Eagle FC roster, beat a glacial Diego Sanchez in an ugly fight, and was eventually re-signed by UFC.
It’s been a long while since “MoTown Phenom” challenged for UFC interim gold opposite Tony Ferguson. He hasn’t managed to really impress in some time, and he’s not being given an easy opponent in his return to the UFC Welterweight division. Rinat Fakhretdinov (21-2) is a dynamic wrestler with big power in his hands, and he’s riding a 16-fight win streak into their “Prelims” headliner.
Fortunately, Lee is promising a new and improved version of himself. Finally healthy from his repeated knee injuries, Lee believes he’ll be able to deliver on the potential he’s demonstrated on several occasions previously.
“The fans haven’t really seen me since I fought Charles Oliveira (in March 2020), and they’re gonna see a different version of me in this fight,” Lee said (via MMA Junkie). “A bigger, stronger, more mature, faster version. I’m excited to show that I’ve been in the dark for these three years, and now I get to come to the light.”
“Mentally I feel more clear, more clarity. I feel more put together,” Lee continued. “I think you’re gonna see a much more experienced me, and I think that’s what’s really gonna show through in this fight. He hasn’t fought anybody at this level. I might not have fought for a while, but I’ve got 18 fights in the UFC against former world champions, against current world champions, against a lot of different dudes. I think me relying on experience and being a strong, still athletic guy is going to shine through.”
Will that be enough to outlast “The Gladiator?” Fakhretdinov is a top prospect, so if Lee can overcome that challenge, it goes a long way in proving Lee’s potential to succeed as a UFC Welterweight moving forward.
Sean Strickland is a menace to society but in a fairly amusing way.
A Sean Strickland road rage compilation pic.twitter.com/zS6RDrgCb9— Mircea (@MMAMircea) June 28, 2023
Brendan Allen vs. Roman Dolidze sounds like a sure-fire banger.
Brendan Allen (@BrendanAllenMMA) told me the UFC immediately offered a fight against Roman Dolidze on Saturday after he knocked out Bruno Miranda. Main event in September. Allen has declined for now, really would like Dricus Du Plessis next if possible. pic.twitter.com/Tax4wvWOgg— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) June 28, 2023
The difference between me and Allen is that I will NEVER say no. Give me a name and I will be there for the main event in September, no excuses! pic.twitter.com/B8O8a3uJUC— Roman Dolidze (@romandolidzeufc) June 28, 2023
Jiri Prochazka’s shoulder is still recovering, but that won’t stop “BJP” from mountaineering in Chamonix! Rocky IV-style training montage when?
Some incredible fighters have come from Allstars MMA in Sweden.
OG pic from Allstars Gym— ჯუდოჩად (@judobetter995) June 28, 2023
Ilia Topuria pic.twitter.com/FAr0e9aBAu
There’s nothing more fun than delusional fight fans.
Haunting imagery that may upset sensitive fight fans:
The photoshop generative fill request was to remove the beard and I’m so sorry pic.twitter.com/LuCFjYoYdI— Connoisseur of Combat (@ConOfCombat) June 28, 2023
Despite the global nature of combat sports, geography remains a complicated matter in the MMA sphere.
Last week, Rogan said that the Thrilla in Manila was in Africa. This week, Bisping said that the Rumble in the Jungle was in Manila. pic.twitter.com/u0839339qb— Borrachinha Depot (@FullContactMTWF) June 28, 2023
Slips, rips, and KO clips
Doing a grueling eight week training camp and then winning in a single punch has to be a spectacular feeling.
Another MMA sub-genre just dropped!
A perfect read and counter to the overhand right:
It’s Max Griffin fight week, so enjoy one of his meme posts.
Midnight Music: I’m back in New Jersey with my mom, so the music curation has once again been handed off for a week or so. Enjoy!
Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.