The Great Debate: Michael Chiesa vs Kevin Lee

The Great Debate is back after a 1-week hiatus. The newly crowned champion Cory Groeneveld will defend his title against the man that he took it from, Justin Peck. This week we will be debating the UFC Oklahoma City main event, between Michael Chiese and Kevin Lee. Cory will be arguing for Lee while Justin will be arguing for Chiesa.


Why Michael Chiesa Will Win (By Justin Peck):

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This week for our Great Debate, I was lucky enough to draw a rematch against Cory. He defeated me last week to take the crown, but you bet your ass I’m ready to take it back.

We are on opposite sides of the fence for the Lightweight bout between Michael Chiesa (#9) and Kevin Lee(HM). I will be debating on behalf of Chiesa.

Oddly enough, both fighters started their UFC careers against Al Iaquinta. Chiesa came away victorious, Kevin Lee did not. As we continue to look at each fighter’s resume, we can see a difference in the opponents each fighter has faced (although Lee’s two losses were against very good opponents). Chiesa has defeated established talents in the UFC, whereas Kevin Lee has defeated less experienced fighters. Based on this, it’s hard not to give the experience edge to Chiesa.

Both fighters are very good wrestlers. That being said, Chiesa has submitted other great wrestlers before. In his fight against Jim Miller, he recovered from an early mistake and was able to take Miller down in the 2nd round. He then hurt him with some hard punches before taking his back to secure the win.

Lee has a pretty incredible reach for someone at this weight class at 77”. It will be a 2” advantage for him over Chiesa, but I’m not reading too much into it. As a striker, Lee does not defend very well, as made evident in his fight against Francisco Trinaldo where he was hurt twice in the first round, once to the chin and once to the body. The reach advantage goes out the window when you face a fighter with good movement and Chiesa is unorthodox as they come.

Lee is effective with his ground and pound but I don’t think he’ll get himself into a position to use it. Chiesa is great during scrambles and hard to keep down in general. I believe the fight will remain on the feet much more than many others are predicting, which will allow Chiesa to rack up the points as the fight goes on.

Prediction: Chiesa by DEC

Why Kevin Lee Will Win (By Cory Groenveld):

This week we get a main event that will feature Michael Chiesa vs Kevin Lee. This should be a close matchup that really could go either way, but I will tell you why I think Kevin Lee will walk out of the octagon victoriously this Sunday.

First off lets look at momentum. Both Lee and Chiesa are coming into this fight on winning streaks. Lee is on a 4 fight winning streak with stoppages in his last 3 fights, and Chiesa is on a 3 fight winning streak. You could say momentum wouldn’t favor either, but you have to consider that Chiesa hasn’t fought in 14 months. I expect there to be a little rust in the return to the octagon which favors Lee.

Next let’s look at their style of fighting. I think you are going to see both fighters want to bring this fight to the mat. Both are known for winning fights via submission. In their MMA careers, Lee has 7 wins by submission and Chiesa has 10. Although Chiesa has 10 wins via submission, he also has lost a fight by being submitted. Something that has not happened to Lee. I like Lee’s takedown defense slightly better than Chiesa. Another slight advantage for Lee.

The final reason I like Lee is if for some reason this does turn into a boxing match, or Lee decides to go that route, he has the ability to get that KO punch. When comparing the two, Lee averages 3.55 significant strikes per minute compared to Chiesa who lands 2.26 significant strikes per minute. That’s more than 1 full punch every minute. Also, striking percentage favors Lee at 40.4% vs 37.3%. Once again I don’t expect it to be a boxing match, but if Lee decides to abandon the ground game and go to a fist fight, I like him a lot more than Chiesa.

I predict that Lee will win by 2nd Round submission.



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