The UFC's upcoming return to Germany is rounding into form, with the addition of top ten bantamweight Iuri Alcantara. Alcantara is scheduled to meet rising English fighter Vaughan Lee. The UFC made the official announcement via Twitter on Tuesday.
For Lee, this matchup provides a major stepping stone to vault him into a somewhat stagnant top ten at 135. Coming off a spectacular performance at the TUF China Finale, where he cruised past a shopworn looking Nam Phan, this is the fight to put Lee on track for a title run if he has one in him. The mercurial 31-year old has been in the fight game for over a decade, but his abilities in the cage appear to be just now peaking.
Of course, standing in front of him will be a hell of a challenge in 7th ranked bantamweight Iuri Alcantara. Alcantara is coming off a hard fought 3 rounds against Wilson Reis, which saw him outstrike the BJJ expert, while holding his own on the mat. A loss to Urijah Faber put a temporary stop to Alcantara's own title run, but a win over Lee could help push him back up toward the top 5.
Lee has proven a hot and cold grappler over the years, often exciting, but often submitted. The real change of late has been in his striking, which is looking incredibly fluid and technical. This battle will probably be decided based on whether or not Alcantara has the raw athletic tools to bully Lee on the feet and on the mat. My gut tells me he does, but it should be a great fight.
UFC Fight Night Berlin takes place on May 31st (the same day as the TUF Brazil 3 Finale). Here's a look at the card so far:
Gegard Mousasi vs. Mark Muñoz
Francis Carmont vs. C.B. Dollaway
Luke Barnatt vs. Sean Strickland
Drew Dober vs. Nick Hein
Magnus Cedenblad vs. Krzysztof Jotko
Pawel Pawlak vs. Peter Sobotta
Tom Niinimäki vs. Thiago Tavares
Maximo Blanco vs. Andy Ogle
Ruslan Magomedov vs. Viktor Pešta
Iuri Alcantara vs. Vaughan Lee