Last night, the UFC returned to our screens with the UFC Rochester card. In the main event, Kevin Lee moved up to welterweight to take on Rafael dos Anjos.
“The Motown Phenom” had some success early on but in the fourth round, RDA took over and submitted Lee to get back into the win column.
With this result, Kevin Lee and Rafael dos Anjos find themselves in very different situations. Here’s what we think should be next for these two fighters.
Rafael dos Anjos
Before this fight, many fans were writing dos Anjos off after two lopsided losses to Colby Covington and Kamaru Usman. But, the former lightweight champion and current third-ranked welterweight showed why he is still at the top of the division. He took Lee down on numerous occasions and ended up submitting him in the fourth round.
Now, it makes sense to pair him with the winner of the Ben Askren vs. Jorge Masvidal fight at UFC 239. This potential matchup could easily produce the next title challenger in the division. If the long-awaited Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington fight doesn’t happen until later this year, this fight could be on the same card.
For Kevin Lee, this first fight at welterweight created more questions than answers. Many thought the cardio problems he experienced at lightweight would be better at welterweight as he would not have to deplete his body as much. He was also expected to have more power. Yet Lee still couldn’t find a path to victory. Although the 26-year-old had moments in this fight, Rafael dos Anjos was just too big of a step-up in competition for his welterweight debut.
Now, Lee needs to decide if he is staying at welterweight or going to lightweight. If he stays at welterweight a fight against Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos makes sense as he is ranked in the bottom end of the welterweight top-15.. If Neil Magny’s current USADA issues don’t keep him out for too long, that fight makes some sense, as well.
If Kevin Lee goes back down to lightweight, he is currently ranked seventh in the division and fighting 13th-ranked Islam Makhachev in September in Abu Dhabi makes total sense. They were rumored to fight before Lee decided to move up, and now if he moves back down, that is the fight to make.
Who do you think Rafael dos Anjos and Kevin Lee should fight next?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 5/19/2019.