UFC OKC might not have produced spectacular fireworks as most of us would have liked, but it was still a respectable card that unfortunately will be remembered for a referee’s gaffe in the main event.
Kevin Lee (16-2) took on Michael Chiesa (14-3) in the main event of UFC Oklahoma, which had built up some momentum after both fighters brawled at a press conference earlier this year after Lee made comments about Chiesa’s mother, which “Maverick” didn’t take a liking to.
The controversial ending might, unfortunately, end up overshadowing the great performance of Lee, who is now riding a five-fight winning streak and was easily one of the Stars of the Night.
Lee isn’t buying the protest of Chiesa that the fight was stopped too soon. Lee had the choke hold on tight and has stated he didn’t feel that Chiesa was going to be able to escape and feels the referee made the correct call.
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We will never know if Chiesa could have escaped and unfortunately, this will be what most people remember from this fight. But regardless, Lee looked very impressive and it should come as a surprise to anyone if he is able to crack the top ten after his victory, which earned him his third performance of the night bonus.
Lee called out Khabib Nurmagomedov after the fight, but Chiesa has demanded a rematch, something Lee doesn’t seem to be interested in.
Nurmagomedov seems to be looking to face off against Tony Ferguson, possibly for an interim lightweight title, and the opportunity to fight against the UFC’s biggest star, Conor McGregor.
But only if the Irishman decides to continue his MMA career after his boxing match against Floyd Mayweather in August. Lee is stuck in a somewhat odd position because he doesn’t have an obvious opponent at this time.
Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier seem destined to take on one another after their controversial fight earlier this year. Nate Diaz doesn’t appear to be interested in fighting anytime soon. Michael Johnson already has a fight scheduled next month, so maybe a fight against Beneil Dariush would make sense, but that might not seem too attractive to Lee, who has his eyes on the bigger contenders in his division.
Boetsch got somewhat lost on this card and after Johny Hendricks missed weight once again, coming in two pounds over the middleweight limit; most of the talk regarding this fight was about Hendricks weight issues, leaving Boetsch in an awkward position.
Fortunately for him, the fight was not cancelled, and Boetsch went out and dominated the former welterweight champion before eventually landing a head kick in the second round to finish off Big Rig.
His performance earned him a $50,000 bonus from the UFC and maybe a little more time as it had been rumoured that Boetsch might be a candidate to be cut from the roster.
After losing three in a row, The Barbarian has now won three out of his last four fights, staving off any talk of him being released by the UFC, at least for now.
Herrig has roared back into title contention after her dominating loss to Paige VanZant in 2015. Herrig has reeled off three straight wins since that loss and based on the deficiency of contenders in the strawweight division, Herrig could see herself within a title shot with a few more victories.
Based on their close friendship, a fight with Carla Esparza doesn’t seem logical, but Herrig could push for a rematch with VanZant.
One of the more active fighters on social media, Herrig has gained a loyal fan following and showed an emotional side of herself at the post fight conference, where she stated she didn’t feel the UFC has been promoting her enough because she is not too young and not beautiful enough.
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Not sure I agree with her on that one. But her honesty and hard work ethic have endeared her to the fighting public and maybe the UFC will realise this and step up the marketing for The Little Bulldog in the future.