Things just went from bad to worse for Lee in his return at UFC Vegas 76, as he got tagged on the feet early and often by Fakhretdinov, who seemed more than comfortable throwing hands during the exchanges. With Lee backing up towards the cage, Fakhretdinov uncorked a perfectly timed overhand right that connected flush on the jaw and sent the Detroit native crashing to the canvas.
Fakhretdinov immediately seized upon the opening by latching onto a guillotine choke, but because of the position with Lee’s head face down on the ground, it was tough to tell if he was trying to hold on or potentially attempting to work free from the submission. Referee Herb Dean eventually realized that Lee was no longer moving, so he rushed in to stop the contest and Fakhretdinov immediately began his celebration.
The first-round stoppage moved Fakhretdinov to 3-0 in the UFC, with his submission of Lee serving as his first finish in the octagon.
“You have to remember, we are the new generation,” Fakhretdinov said afterward. “I have nothing but respect for Kevin Lee. He’s a great fighter.
“Who was over there and said I had boring fights? What do you have to say now? I can punch, I can wrestle. If I have to knock somebody out, that’s what I’ll do.”
It was an ultra impressive showing for Fakhretdinov against his highest profile opponent to date, and it certainly appears like he’s ready for a step up in competition in the UFC’s welterweight division.
As for Lee, this is understandably a disappointing end to his UFC comeback after getting released from the promotion in 2021.