Category Archives: Kevin Lee

USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie rankings, June 27: Welcome to the top-10, Kevin Lee

It certainly won’t come as welcome news to Michael Chiesa, but Kevin Lee is now in the top-10 of the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings.

Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC), of course, scored a controversial submission win over Chiesa (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) in the main event of this past weekend’s UFC Fight Night 112 event, improving his record to 9-1 in his past 10 octagon outings – good enough to move into the top-10 in the world.

That move was just one of several resulting from a busy weekend of MMA action with UFC Fight Night 112, Bellator NYC and Bellator 180. Check out all of the changes in the newest edition of the weekly rankings.

Filed under: AXS TV Fights, Bellator, MMA Rankings, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Trading Shots: Did Michael Chiesa get robbed or saved at UFC Fight Night 112?

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Did referee Mario Yamasaki make a major blunder with his stoppage in the UFC Fight Night 112 main event, or just a minor one? Retired UFC and WEC fighter Danny Downes joins MMAjunkie columnist Ben Fowlkes to discuss in this week’s Trading Shots.

* * * *

Downes: It was a wild weekend in the MMA world, Ben. We had freak injuries, double knockdowns, fading legends and feces. To cap it all off, we ended it with a controversial stoppage.

Somewhere, Steve Mazzagatti breathed a sigh of relief as Mario Yamasaki intervened prematurely in the Kevin Lee vs. Michael Chiesa bout, making him the Internet’s new most hated referee. Since you love to tell us about your recreational jiu-jitsu experience as much as possible, why don’t you share your expertise on this one with us?

Fowlkes: You know, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear that you weren’t using the word “expertise” with total sincerity there.

But hey, since you asked, can I go ahead and be the guy who admits he doesn’t get the controversy on this one? Chiesa was stuck in a rear-naked choke. He wasn’t working an escape. He had 30 seconds left in the round. He stopped defending with his hands and let them float there in front of him, very much like the posture of a man who has lost consciousness.

How surprised can he really be that Mario Yamasaki took this as a sign that he should stop the fight?

Was it slightly premature? Yes, but only slightly. There’s not a ton of risk in letting Chiesa stay in that kind of choke for an extra couple of seconds, so sure, Yamasaki could have done more to verify that he was all the way out before intervening, but it’s disingenuous to act like he ruined the fight just because he denied Chiesa the chance to fall completely asleep.

What am I missing here, Danny? Is there where you tell me about the honor of going out on your shield? Or maybe you think Yamasaki ruined Chiesa’s shot at an MMA version of the rope-a-dope, where you lie so quiet and still inside a choke that you convince the other guy to let go and celebrate, at which point you pounce. Tell me, on the spectrum of referee screw-ups, was this one really that bad?

Downes: As far as referee screw-ups are concerned, this one is definitely minor, mostly because the stakes were so low. While I wold never want to denigrate the honor of being the main event of a UFC Fight Night in Oklahoma City, it wasn’t a title shot. It wasn’t even a rivalry fans really cared about.

As an aside, let me predict that we’re going to see a lot more press conference scuffles revolving around something even dumber than Chiesa’s mom having tickets. How do you tell fighters not to take a swing at each other when, 1) It gets them attention, and 2) 90 percent of the hype package for the fight revolved around that incident?

I’ll admit that I was a little surprised at how upset some fans were at the stoppage, but there a couple of things at work here. First of all, it’s Yamasaki. The MMA universe loves to attack referees, and Yamasaki seems to be the new fall guy. And once you get that reputation (rightly or wrongly), everything you do gets amplified.

Secondly, Chiesa passed your “WTF Test.” He looked dead to rights, but as soon as Yamasaki called it off, he was incensed. That doesn’t mean that we would have gotten out of the choke, but it does produce some doubt.

Third and finally, it’s a choke. It’s uncomfortable and dangerous to watch fighters take unnecessary punches. We all cringe a little when a fighter is knocked out and takes a couple extra hits before the TKO (well, unless that fighter is Michael Bisping).

A rear-naked choke doesn’t produce that same visceral reaction. You’ve touched on this when discussing Ronda Rousey. Some of her mainstream success can be attributed to the fact that she armbarred opponents instead of leaving them a bloody mess. It’s a more palatable type of violence.

Was Chiesa robbed? No, but I do think that Yamasaki did rob him of an opportunity. Even if there were only a five percent chance of escaping, why not give him the benefit of the doubt? What real harm could come from it? Do you think there’s anything to learn from this fight, or did you react like the rest of MMA fans when Chiesa pushed for a rematch? Meh.

Fowlkes: I think the question of a rematch is where we’re all forced to be honest about what we’re really doing here. Because if you truly think that Chiesa was unfairly and prematurely stopped in a fight that he still had every opportunity to win, then you have to support an immediate rematch. How can you not?

But if, when faced when that proposition, you admit that you don’t feel like you need to see that again, I suspect it’s because you think you know who won that fight. (Either that, or you can stand six more weeks of mom jokes.)

I don’t blame Chiesa for being upset. He’s going to fan the fires of victory until every last ember is cold and black. I also don’t blame Lee for wanting to pocket his win and move on. I can only kind of blame Yamasaki, who came to a reasonable, if somewhat hasty conclusion, given the visual evidence.

But let’s be honest and admit that we’ve criticized refs for being too slow to intervene just like we’re criticizing Yamasaki for being a little quick. We ask for perfection from these people and when they deliver their reward is not getting yelled at on social media. This one might have been imperfect, but I have a hard time believing it altered the outcome. If that’s not the point, I don’t know what is.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Danny Downes, a retired UFC and WEC fighter, is an MMAjunkie contributor who has also written for UFC.com and UFC 360. Follow them on twitter at @benfowlkesMMA and @dannyboydownes.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Michael Chiesa goes off on ref Mario Yamasaki, pleas for rematch after being 'robbed'

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Needless to say, Michael Chiesa is not a fan of Mario Yamasaki.

Chiesa (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) saw the first headlining spot of his UFC career end on a controversial note on Sunday, when referee Yamasaki called a first-round stop to his UFC Fight Night 112 contest with Kevin Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC). Chiesa was on the bad end of a seemingly tight rear-naked choke, but with just a few seconds left on the clock, he was still conscious when Yamasaki stepped in.

Chiesa was at least alert enough to immediately contest the ending of the FS1-televised event at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. Between the stoppage and the official announcement of Lee’s win, Chiesa could be seen angrily pacing around the octagon and mouthing some of his thoughts on the ref (via Twitter):

Chiesa’s feelings on Yamasaki hadn’t changed when he talked to the media immediately after the event. The lightweight’s tirade might have lacked “fancy words,” but it certainly didn’t lack passion.

“This is the main event – that is JV bull(expletive),” Chiesa said. “That guy is too focused on being some kind of playboy in front of the cameras, making his little heart logos. Maybe he should go back and read the (expletive) rule book.

“I’m not trying to sound like a poor sport, but it’s really hard to be positive right now when I’ve been striving for this main-event spot. And I get it. And it feels like I just got (expletive) robbed. It’s hard not to feel that way.”

For Chiesa, the sting was made even worse by his history with stoppages. His last setback before Sunday’s, stemming from a “Fight of the Night” with Joe Lauzon in 2014, was the result of a doctor’s call due to a deep gash above Chiesa’s right eye. Between Lauzon and Lee, Chiesa put together a three-fight winning streak, with wins over Mitch Clarke, Jim Miller and Beneil Dariush.

To make his case as to why the stoppage was premature, the 155-pounder brought up the example of fellow UFC lightweight Al Iaquinta – who rode out a submission attempt by Lee before coming out victorious of their UFC 169 scrap – and broke down his decision-making process.

“I fought the best grapplers at lightweight,” Chiesa said. “The best. They all had my back in Round 1, and I got out every single time. I’ve studied my film on Kevin. It’s a palm-to-palm rear-naked choke. An arm-pump choke. I fight the hands when he’s going RNC, switch to palm-to-palm, shrink your shoulders in, flex your neck, get your elbows in.

“When he loosens up, you elbow down, turn in. I saw there was a short time on the clock. I went into what I know. And the next thing I know the fight is getting stopped.”

Chiesa has yet to look at the footage. But as someone who watches a lot of fights, he said Yamasaki’s call felt “like the worst stoppage ever.” The lightweight also questioned the very fact that “poor official” Yamasaki was even appointed to a headliner in the first place.

“Here’s what’s frustrating: You put a guy who’s just swirled in controversy in charge of a main event?” Chiesa said. “You realize that this defects ours lives. I’m not talking from a financial standpoint – I don’t care about the money. You’re talking – (if) I win this fight I go into the top five. I’m on the brink of a title shot.

“The opportunity got taken away from me. Now Kevin technically has got a win over me, swirled in controversy. That’s taken away from him. And then the fans. You think the fans want to watch a main event on a Sunday night end like this? No. It’s just pathetic. I really feel like this is a (expletive) dream. Between the Joe Lauzon fight and this, (I can’t believe it).”

Chiesa, however, doesn’t intend to leave it alone. On the official end of things, he plans to appeal the call with the local commission. But not overly confident that’s going to get him anywhere, he also wants a chance to make things right in the octagon.

“We’re going to seek due diligence,” Chiesa said. “This really is bull(expletive). Chances are it’s not going to get overturned, but I’m not going to go down without a fight. And best case scenario, I get a (expletive) rematch in Detroit. I’ll fight him in his backyard. I’ll fight him right now.”

While Lee reiterated his desire to meet Khabib Nurmagomedov next, Chiesa doesn’t see that happening. And while he maintains there is no personal beef with Lee, in spite of the heated press conference moment the two had shared weeks before, he is absolutely driven to get a do-over.

“If you think you really beat me, then beat me again,” Chiesa said. “Prove it. There’s no way you’re going to ride this win thinking you won. You did not beat me. You did not beat me. There’s no way. I’m fine. I heard he’s limping around on crutches. He’s supposed to be the striker. I landed one punch and put him on his ass. Let’s run it back.

“I want to prove that I was going to win that fight. I want to prove that I got robbed. And I want to prove Yamasaki that he’s so (expletive) wrong that he can’t even see straight.”

Between the controversy and their pre-fight shennanigans, Chiesa said that, promotion-wise, the matchup is a no-brainer. And he is so confident that he can beat Lee that he’ll not only give him a trilogy – he’ll let his new favorite ref join the cage with them.

“I’ll let Yamasaki actually be the ref both times,” Chiesa said. “And his poor officiating won’t be able to (expletive) do anything with the results, because I’ll make it very definitive.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 112 video highlights: Kevin Lee vs. Michael Chiesa

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A referee error from Mario Yamasaki brought an end to a grudge match between Kevin Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) and Michael Chiesa (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) in their headliner at UFC Fight Night 112, with Lee scoring a controversial submission win at the 4:37 mark of Round 1.

The lightweight bout was the main event of today’s UFC Fight Night 112 event at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. It aired on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

Check out the highlights above.

Also see:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Kevin Lee says Michael Chiesa 'went limp,' shrugs off UFC Fight Night 112 controversy

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OKLAHOMA CITY – UFC lightweight Kevin Lee contends Michael Chiesa went limp, prompting referee Mario Yamasaki to step in and stop their grudge match at UFC Fight Night 112.

Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) doesn’t quite get the controversy surrounding the fight, which immediately erupted when Chiesa (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) didn’t tap and appeared to be fully conscious when Yamasaki stepped in late in the first round.

“(Chiesa) went limp,” Lee said backstage at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla., which hosted the FS1-televised headliner. “You can see he’s fighting the choke. I switch from palm to palm; as soon as I do, his arms go limp.”

Lee’s nonchalance was not shared by all. UFC President Dana White even chimed in his disgust, calling Yamasaki “Mario Mazzagatti” after another hated official, Steve Mazzagatti.

“Mario’s a very experienced ref,” Lee said. “Mario saw it and stopped the fight. If he wouldn’t have, there was still 45 seconds left in the fight. I don’t see what the controversy is about. It wasn’t like I was going to let go.”

Chiesa immediately protested the stoppage and yelled at Yamasaki before taking the high road in his post-fight interview, calling for a rematch.

Despite the controversial finish, Lee said he’d be open to that idea. Yet he prefers to face opponents like the one he called out after his fifth straight UFC win: Khabib Nurmagomedov (24-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC).

“I will (rematch Chiesa) just for the easy money, but it will wake me up a bit more to fight one of these big names,” Lee said.

The other goal, he said, is to bring the UFC to his hometown of Detroit by the end of the year. Nothing has changed about that, except for the top-10 ranking that’s should be attached to his name from here on out.

Watch Lee’s full interview above.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Dana White rips Mario Yamasaki on Instagram after UFC Fight Night 112 headliner stoppage

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Move over, Steve Mazzagatti. UFC President Dana White has a new favorite target when it comes to referees.

White even borrowed the last name of his most hated referee to encapsulate his feelings after Mario Yamasaki botched a call in the headliner of UFC Fight Night 112, referring to the veteran official as “Mario Mazzagatti” on Instagram following the FS1-televised event at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Instagram Photo

“Mario Mazzagatti does it again!!!” the UFC official wrote. “This guy is more concerned with doing this dumb ass heart bull(expletive) then Ref’n the fight!!! Steals a great moment from Lee or let Mike fight it or tap.

“Nobody gives a (expletive) that u can make a heart with ur hands like a 12 year old girl they want u to pay attention to what’s going on in the fight and do ur job.”

Of course, there weren’t many voices in support of Yamasaki’s performance after he stopped a grudge match between Kevin Lee and Michael Chiesa in the first round. Lee had locked in a rear-naked choke and was just seconds away from putting Chiesa to sleep when Yamasaki intervened and called off the bout at the 4:37 mark of the opening frame.

Chiesa immediately protested the call, screaming at Yamasaki, “I didn’t tap.” He then implored Lee to run back the fight in December, though Lee seemed more interested in a fight with would-be UFC interim lightweight challenger Khabib Nurmagomedov.

The ending lent a sour note to an otherwise strong main card, though it wasn’t the first bad call for Yamaski during the fight card. He watched as Maryna Moroz (8-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) blatantly held the gloves of ex-women’s strawweight champ Carla Esparza (12-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) as they grappled on the mat, and then stood the fight up for a lack of action despite Esparza’s complaints.

Yamasaki has been a UFC referee for more than a decade, but he hadn’t drawn this type of response until tonight in Oklahoma City. It won’t be a surprise if Chiesa appeals the official result.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Tony Ferguson asked Kevin Lee a question on FS1's UFC post show, and a full-blown beef ensued

Kevin Lee seems to have a plethora of options for his next fight after defeating Michael Chiesa in Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 112 headliner.

Not only could Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) potentially face Chiesa (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) in a rematch after their bout ended in a premature stoppage, but “The Motown Phenom” also called out Khabib Nurmagomedov in his post-fight interview.

The most surprising setup for a future fight came after the event had wrapped, though. When Lee made an appearance on FS1’s UFC Fight Night 112 post-fight show, where fellow lightweight contender Tony Ferguson was on the desk as an analyst, fireworks erupted between the two men.

Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) asked Lee a question about getting DDT’d by Chiesa, which Lee took exception to, beginning an argument which lasted several minutes.

Check it out here:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 112 bonuses: Controversy in main event, but Kevin Lee still gets $50,000

OKLAHOMA CITY – Jeremy Kimball, Dominick Reyes, Tim Boetsch, Kevin Lee each earned $50,000 bonuses for their performances at Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 112 event.

All four fighters earned “Performance of the Night” honors; no “Fight of the Night” was given.

UFC officials announced the winners following the event, which MMAjunkie attended.

Kimball (15-6 MMA, 1-1 UFC) took out Josh Stansbury (8-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) in the first fight of the night in their light heavyweight bout.

On the main card, Reyes (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) had a flawless UFC debut when he stopped Joachim Christensen (14-6 MMA, 1-3 UFC) in the first round. Boetsch (21-11 MMA, 12-10 UFC) took out Johny Hendricks (18-7 MMA, 13-7 UFC) with a second-round TKO. And in the main event, Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) got past Michael Chiesa (14-3 MMA, 7-23 UFC) – but with a little help from referee Mario Yamasaki

UFC Fight Night 112 took place Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. The main card aired on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Twitter reacts to Kevin Lee's controversial win vs. Michael Chiesa at UFC Fight Night 112

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Kevin Lee’s first UFC main-event victory was marred by controversy at UFC Fight Night 112, which took place at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla., and aired on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) recorded his fifth consecutive victory in the lightweight division when he beat “The Ultimate Fighter 15” winner Michael Chiesa (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) by second-round submission. The stoppage, however, came prematurely when referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the action before Chiesa tapped or went unconscious.

Check below for the top Twitter reactions to Chiesa’s victory over Lee in the UFC Fight Night 112 main event.

* * * *

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 112 results: Kevin Lee defeats Michael Chiesa after controversial 1st-round stoppage

A referee error from Mario Yamasaki brought an end to a grudge match between Kevin Lee and Michael Chiesa at the 4:37 mark of the opening round at UFC Fight Night 112.

Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) had sunk in a rear-naked choke and was on the precipice of choking Chiesa (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) unconscious, leading Yamasaki to step in and wave off the bout. The only problem was, Chiesa didn’t go out, and he didn’t tap.

The lightweight bout was the main event of today’s UFC Fight Night 112 event at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. It aired on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 112 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s John Morgan contributed to this report on site in Oklahoma City.)

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Source: MMA Junkie