Daniel Rodriguez Steps In To Fight Kevin Lee | UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs Chikadze
Rising star Daniel Rodriguez gets his biggest opportunity to date as he steps in to face former interim lightweight title challenger Kevin Lee in a welterweight contest at UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs Chikadze.
Lee was originally booked to fight Sean Brady at UFC 264 and was rebooked for August 28 after Lee suffered an injury in camp. However, Brady suffered an injury and had to pull out, which is how Rodriguez came into the equation. For Lee, the fight is his first since a third-round submission loss to Charles Oliveira in March 2020.
The Detroit native has since been sidelined due to knee injuries. First, Lee tore the ACL in his left knee. Three months later, he tore the same ligament in his right knee. Lee, who is now 28 years old, is looking to regain some traction after Tony Ferguson bested him in their interim lightweight title fight in 2017. He has since gone 2-3 and flirted with the welterweight division in a main event loss to Rafael Dos Anjos in May 2019. Afterward, he returned to lightweight, where he scored an iconic head-kick knockout against Gregor Gillespie at UFC 244.
In his return to 170 pounds, Lee was to face the undefeated Brady in a bout many had high expectations for. However, Rodriguez presents another interesting challenge for “The Motown Phenom.”
Rodriguez enters the bout in perhaps the finest form of his young UFC career. After tallying a 3-1 record in his rookie season last year, Rodriguez put on a striking clinic against Mike Perry in April and followed that up with a first-round TKO over Preston Parsons in July.
At 34 years old, Rodriguez continues to make clear improvements as his confidence grows in the Octagon. He already holds the aforementioned win over Perry as well as victories over UFC veteran Tim Means and the always-dangerous Dwight Grant. Lee is the biggest name Rodriguez will face yet.
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