VIDEO: Al Iaquinta And Kevin Lee Go To War In Back And Forth Slugfest

VIDEO: Al Iaquinta And Kevin Lee Go To War In Back And Forth Slugfest

The main event of UFC on FOX 31 between Kevin Lee and Al Iaquinta was more than just a rematch between two of the UFC’s premier lightweights. It was also the final event from the worlds largest MMA organisation to be broadcasted in the USA on the FOX network with the scheduled transfer over to ESPN imminent.

The partnership between the UFC and FOX has produced some of the most memorable moments in the history of the sport from the very first event. In that inaugural card, Junior Dos Santos would claim the UFC Heavyweight Championship with a vicious one-punch knockout of Cain Velasquez in just 64 seconds.

Tonight however the lightweights had been chosen to close the show and it appears the decision paid dividends. The first time the pair fought back in 2014, Lee was just 21 years old, making his UFC debut, and was clearly much greener than he has shown in his recent appearances in the cage. Iaquinta meanwhile came into the bout having already reached the finals of The Ultimate Fighter and was riding a two-fight win streak. In their first fight, Iaquinta used his superior striking and experience to earn a well-fought unanimous decision.

Iaquinta made the walk to the Octagon tonight for the first time since his short notice step-in against Khabib Nurmagomedov following the Conor McGregor bus incident prior to UFC 223. In that fight the licensed realtor put on an admirable showing, doing what McGregor would later fail to do by forcing the champion to a decision. Meanwhile, Lee came into the fight after earning a career-defining decision victory by dominating perennial contender Edson Barboza back in April.

At the staredown, both men clearly showed their respect for one another, although earlier this week Iaquinta told journalists that he wasn’t a fan of Lee’s trash talk and that he hoped they would both continue to be successful following the fight.