Kevin Lee was victorious in his first appearance in Eagle FC, but it likely came at a major cost.
The former UFC interim title challenger picked up a unanimous decision win over Diego Sanchez in the Eagle FC 46 main event, but afterward he revealed that the first kick landed in the fight may have torn his knee apart in the process.
“I probably blew out my ACL or something major,” Lee said following the win. “Every time I tried to push off of it, it was slipping and sliding, so I’m going to go straight from here to the hospital.”
As soon as the fight started, Sanchez targeted Lee with a calf kick that had an immediate impact and left the Detroit native favoring his lead leg throughout the rest of the bout. Despite the injury, Lee continued to stay on the attack with his striking while also muscling Sanchez around the cage whenever they engaged in the clinch.
Lee’s biggest advantage came from his grappling. He took advantage of his wrestling pedigree to put Sanchez down on the ground several times throughout the fight, where he peppered away with punches and elbows from the top.
With five minutes remaining, Lee continued to stalk Sanchez across the cage, which helped to keep him away from more of the leg kicks that were obviously giving him trouble throughout the fight. Sanchez tried to up his volume in the final round in an attempt to change his fortunes as he sought to turn the tables on Lee. Unfortunately, it was short-lived success, as Lee connected with a short punch that wobbled Sanchez and sent him to the canvas, which ended any chance of a comeback.
Lee closed the fight with more ground and pound to secure his unanimous decision victory, with all three judges scoring the fight 30-27 for “The Motown Phenom.”
It was the second loss in a row for Sanchez and his first since leaving the UFC after spending 15 years with the promotion. Sanchez admitted that he wasn’t at his best on Friday night after being previously hospitalized with COVID-19, but he still plans to continue with his career as he hopes to bounce back stronger the next time out.
“This one was coming out of the hospital,” Sanchez said. “I definitely want to finish out my contract with Eagle FC. I’ve got two more fights. So I want to finish out these last two fights and show the real Diego Sanchez.
“Nothing to take off of Kevin Lee, because he’s 29, he’s a great athletic phenom. He earned the victory tonight and I take my hat off to him. It’s his night tonight.”
As for Lee, his main concern will be assessing the possible damage to his knee, but he’s still confident about his future with Eagle FC after inking a four-fight deal with the company following the end to his UFC run.
“I bring the fight every time,” Lee said. “Every time you see me, you’re going to get a good, exciting ass fight. That was my game plan. Blowing out my knee, the very first strike that he threw kind of tore my knee, so it shut down the right kick, but I feel like I overcame a lot in this fight and I really showed some championship material mentally.
“Look, there’s no doubt: I’m the best 165’er out here. The best guy for anybody who wants to weigh 165. I feel like we need to be fighting for a title. Keep naming them. So the next fight, I feel needs to be for the belt. I hear Donald Trump is getting back into promoting so it would be kind of fun if he picked that next opponent.”
Rizvan Kuniev makes short work of Anthony Hamilton
Eagle FC heavyweight champion Rizvan Kuniev needed less than two minutes to dispatch Anthony Hamilton to defend his title in the Eagle FC 46 co-main event.
Kuniev, who competed in Dana White’s Contender Series this past September, made short work out of the former UFC heavyweight after connecting with a spinning heel kick during an early exchange in the opening round. Once Hamilton was hurt, Kuniev went in for the kill as he sought to overwhelm his opponent before snatching a standing guillotine choke.
Trapped against the cage with the choke only sinking deeper and deeper, Hamilton had no choice but to tap out, with the end coming at 1:17 in the opening round.
The submission marked Kuniev’s 10th consecutive win in a row overall as he continued to rule over the Eagle FC heavyweight division. Now he’ll be keeping a close eye on the upcoming card on May 20, where former UFC champion Junior Dos Santos will clash with Yorgan De Castro in a fight that will likely determine the next No. 1 contender for the title.
Ray Borg continues his winning ways
Ray Borg picked up his third win in a row since exiting the UFC with a hard-fought split decision over Bellator veteran Ricky Bandejas.
Two judges scored the fight 29-28 for Borg, with the third official giving the same 29-28 score to Bandejas.
Battling through an extremely swollen eye and a cut in the same place, Borg controlled the action early with his wrestling, but had to stand and strike with Bandejas for the majority of the second half in the fight. When Bandejas was able to use his height and reach advantage, his jab gave the former UFC title challenger problems.
Borg eventually found his way inside again, but this time he was jumping forward with big hooks from the left and right side that started to catch Bandejas off guard. In a razor-close third round that likely decided the fight, Borg landed a couple of stinging shots that seemingly rattled Bandejas, which by extension slowed down his overall offense as well.
It was those exchanges that helped Borg edge his way past Bandejas to get the split decision win as he continued his winning streak on Friday night. After competing in both January and March, Borg is now looking towards the Eagle FC card scheduled in May with hopes of staying very busy in 2022.
“You want to throw me on May, let’s go,” Borg said when addressing Eagle FC owner Khabib Nurmagomedov. “Let’s do something.”
Full results for Eagle FC 46:
- Kevin Lee def. Diego Sanchez by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Rizvan Kuniev def. Anthony Hamilton via submission (guillotine choke) at 1:17, R1
- Ray Borg def. Ricky Bandejas via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
- Hendesson Ferreira def. Zach Juusola via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Raimond Magomedaliev def. Impa Kasanganay via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
- Ikram Aliskerov def. Nah-Shon Burnell via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Irwin Rivera def. Firdavs Khasanov via TKO (strikes) at 4:48, R2
- Archie Colgan def. Dylan Mantello via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Tyler Ray def. Thomas Webb via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
- Sitik Muduev def. Caio Uruguai via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Ryder Newman def. Emmanuel Walo via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)