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Midnight Mania! Kevin Lee promises ‘bigger, stronger, more mature’ version at UFC Vegas 76

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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.


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