Kevin Lee did not expect to be fighting Charles Oliveira next but is excited about the scrap.
In the main event of UFC Brasilia on March 14, Lee will look to make it two in a row when he battles the local favorite Oliveira. “The Motown Phenom” says fighting a Brazilian in Brazil is something not many people want to do. But he is excited about the opportunity.
“I have done this throughout my whole career. I’ve had to take the long road and now have to go to Brazil and fight a Brazilian,” Kevin Lee told BJPENN.com. “My last fight I fought a New Yorker in New York and I’m trying to fight the Russian in Russia. That is my M.O. It ain’t going to stop now. It isn’t ideal but I like to do things no one likes to do.”
When this fight was booked, many were surprised it wasn’t Kevin Lee vs. Islam Makhachev after the two agreed to fight one another on social media. But, the fight was not offered until June and Lee wants to be active.
When he told the UFC that, he didn’t know who his opponent would be, but was surprised when it was Oliveira.
“If I’m being honest, Oliveira, I didn’t have my eye on. Sometimes he is really on in a fight and sometimes in a fight, like against Max Holloway he doesn’t really show up and quits,” Kevin Lee explained. “So, to be honest, it is pretty hard to prepare for a guy like that. It’s hard to get going against somebody like that. This one is me competing about myself.”
In this fight, Oliveira is known as a grappler as he has the most submission wins in UFC history. But, in his last two fights, he has scored KO/TKO wins including knocking out Jared Gordon out cold on the feet.
Lee knows Oliveira is a dangerous fighter so it’s all about if he can execute his game plan in order to win.
“He’s got a lot of submission wins but he’s coming off a couple of knockout wins. He’s starting to feel his hands a little more. I’m preparing for everything,” Lee said. “He’s a guy that can do it all too. But, I’m going to put together a better game plan and it will include the ground and on the feet. It is all going to be out who can put together a better performance.”
In the end, Kevin Lee remains confident he will get his hand raised a month and a half away from the fight. He knows he is the better fighter and says the pressure will be on Oliveira given he is headlining a card and has to fight a top-10 opponent.
“I think it will put a little pressure on him too. There is something to be said about him fighting in front of his own people and his first big main event. It all adds up into the fight. That part of it is going to be a stack in my corner. I’m going to put it on him on March 14. I will let him know he’s jumping into the big leagues now,” he concluded.
Who do you think will win the fight between Kevin Lee and Charles Oliveira?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 1/31/2020.