Kevin Lee was gunning for an impressive showing on Wednesday night in San Diego, and he got the job done with a dominant submission win to tap out James Moontasri.
Lee and Moontasri had an intense staredown on Friday during the weigh-ins and the animosity carried over 24 hours later once they stepped into the Octagon together.
Moontasri motioned to touch gloves when the fight started, but Lee wanted none of it.
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The Michigan-based fighter wasted no time going after Moontasri with a heavy-handed striking attack, constantly backing him up against the cage.
Moontasri tried to counter, but instead poked Lee in the eye, which caused a momentary pause to the fight. The accidental eye poke must have angered Lee because he came out like a ball of fire and immediately latched onto Moontasri before flinging him to the mat.
Lee quickly transitioned to back control and within seconds he had his arms around Moontasri’s neck, wrapping up the rear-naked choke. Moontasri tried to fight free, but to no avail, and he was forced to tap out at just under the three-minute mark of the first round.
"When I do get the takedown, it’s all over," Lee said after the win. "Once I get that squeeze on it, it’s all over."
Lee has now won four fights in a row as he looks to begin climbing the ranks of the ultra-deel UFC lightweight division.