Kevin Lee owned UFC 244, despite the BMF match between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal. Yes, 2019 was an incredible year for MMA. There were many shocking results and brilliant fights. Masvidal’s flying knee knock out of Ben Askren was extraordinary. Justin Gaethje stunned James Vick with one punch. Jessica Andrade slammed Rose Namajunas on the ground to win the UFC strawweight championship. Anthony Pettis delivered a superman punch in the last five seconds of the second round to put down former title contender, Stephen Thompson.
In what was an epic showdown between some of the best in UFC, 2019 saw the rise of promising talents and some shocking results. However, Kevin Lee KO of Gregor Gillespie stands out as one of the least talked about moments in UFC 2019. Lee’s performance against Gillespie also earned him his third UFC Performance of the Night bonus award.
What was so special about the match?
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) November 3, 2019
Kevin Lee was once a strong title contender, seen to be the next in the throne for the championship belt. After some incredible performances, Lee suffered his first loss after a five-match win streak, against Tony Ferguson. Lee fought Ferguson at UFC 216, for the interim lightweight championship. He lost the match via submission in the third round and hasn’t looked the same ever since. However, his performance against Gillespie showed some shimmer of hope for the former title contender.
Lee faced Edson Barboza in his next fight, and despite winning the match via doctor stoppage in the fifth round, he missed weight, tarnishing his hopes for a title match. Soon after losing a hard-fought battle against Al Iaquinta, he made his welterweight debut against former champion Rafael Dos Anjos and suffered a unanimous decision loss at UFC Fight Night.
Despite all the news surrounding how good Lee is, and with words from former welterweight and middleweight champion, Georges St-Pierre – Kevin Lee had a hard time in the division. However, he shut his critics after a blistering knockout of Gregor Gillespie at UFC 244.
Why was Gregor Gillespie one of the toughest opponents in the division?
Gregor Gillespie is probably one of the most accomplished wrestlers in the lightweight division right now. He was a four-time NCAA Division I All-American and 2007 National champion. Gillespie joined MMA back in 2014 and made his UFC debut in 2016. As a fighter, he held 13 fight win streak, with six wins coming inside UFC. The MMA world saw him as a tough opponent for Khabib, who also uses his elite wrestling inside the octagon. However, Kevin Lee spoiled the stats for Gillespie, when he knocked him out with a brutal head kick.
Lee, not only brought the attention back to his fight game but also sent a message across the entire division by taking down someone as dominant as Gregor Gillespie. With an incredible wrestling style and brilliant jujutsu, Gillespie is also an efficient striker with his last victory coming from TKO of Yancy Medeiros.
Kevin Lee KO Gregor Gillespie
With a win over Gillespie, Lee jumped right back into the title picture. However, he will have to win a couple more matches to contend for the title belt yet again. The win over Gillespie must have certainly helped his morale going forward. As for Gillespie, it was the first loss of his MMA career, but he still has a lot of fights left to jump back right in.
Gillespie will look to ensure that he doesn’t get caught off guard by a headkick in his future fights. Lee, who is also a brilliant wrestler, took the fight on the ground and decimated Gillespie in the first round to win the match. UFC 244 started with one of the most brutal knockouts of 2019.
I low-key like Dana White and his decisions, but that doesn't mean I am not a fan of super fights. Always up for a chat related to UFC, Nikhil is a passionate photographer and storyteller.