Ever willing to play the heel, Kevin Lee sounds like he’s not at all scared, but instead motivated by what he expects to be a loud Brazilian crowd ahead of UFC Brasilia’s main event.
Paired up against jiu-jitsu specialist Charles Oliveira, the ‘Motown Phenom’ wants to ruin the night for Brazilian fans by defeating ‘Do Bronx.’ And he’s preparing to deal with the pressure by looking back to the first time he fought in Brazil, when he took on Francisco Trinaldo and managed to tap him out in the second round.
In an interview with Combate, Lee explained that the pressure is a good thing for him to have ahead of his fight, because it will push him to prepare. And the passion of the crowd gives him a chance to have fun playing to their emotions.
“I like the pressure. Pressure makes diamonds. I like to be the enemy sometimes, go into an arena I don’t know, with people cheering against me. It gives me energy. I’ll be relying on my experience of having fought in Fortaleza. The crowd influences the fight a little bit. They are loud and very passionate about what they do, I’ll make sure they go home upset on Saturday. That’s one of my biggest goals, to shut up the crowd. I’ll have fun with that. I might not be Brazilian, but I’ve been here for five days. I already feel comfortable and at home.”
When it comes to the fight itself, Lee expects nothing short of a war out of his opponent, praising Oliveira’s grappling skills. That said, he also strongly believes his own arsenal matches up very well for this bout.
“I expect a great fight. Charles Oliveira holds the record for most submission wins in UFC history, and he scored knockout wins in his last two fights. He’s very well-rounded and will try to put on a show for his people. I’ve fought many Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelts before, and Charles is the most decorated one among them. I’m pretty thrilled to test myself against him. He’s the most effective submission finisher in the UFC so, if I beat him on the ground, it’ll truly show I’m the best. I think our styles match up very well.”
In his last outing, back in November 2019, Kevin Lee (18-5) scored a highlight reel head kick knockout win against Gregor Gillespie. Before that, the 27-year-old was on a two-fight skid, with a unanimous decision loss to Al Iaquinta and a submission defeat to Rafael dos Anjos in a welterweight bout, back in May 2019.
UFC Fight Night 170 goes down this Saturday, March 14th at the Ginasio Nilson Nelson arena in Brasilia. Aside from Lee vs. Oliveira in the main event, the card is expected to feature a BJJ grappling battle between Demian Maia and Gilbert Burns in the co-main—as well as a light heavyweight all-action fight between Nikita Krylov and Johnny Walker. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more updates as fight night approaches.