This year's off to a pretty good start, too. Lightweight Al Iaquinta, the TUF 15 finalist, won his third straight fight on Saturday night, scoring a unanimous decision against a game Kevin Lee at UFC 169 in Newark, N.J. Iaqunita won an entertaining scrap on cards of 29-28, 29-28, and 28-27.
Iaquinta (8-2-1) got off to a fast start in round one, greeting Lee in his Octagon debut with a big left that dropped him, and followed up with strikes to his grounded foe. Later in the round, Iaquinta got a deep heel hook, but couldn't get the submission.
Lee (12-1), for his part, showed poised beyond his 21 years. The Detroit native shook off his poor first round and dominated the second. He got Iaquinta's back early in the ground and got a tight rear-naked choke. Iaquinta escaped, but Lee continued to pour it on and bloodied Iaquinta's nose in a borderline 10-8 round.
WIth the fight hanging in the balance, both guys turned up in round three. But Iaquinta was a little faster, a little stronger -- he stuffed seven of Lee's eight takedown attempts in the fight -- and he landed often over the final minute, which likely sealed the decision in his favor.