Over the past few months, several sports books have Tony Ferguson as a slight favorite to beat Kevin Lee at UFC 216. According to bestfightodds.com, most sportsbooks have Ferguson at around -220 which means a person would’ve bet $220 to win 100. Although he is the favorite, I believe that Kevin Lee has the skill set necessary to pull off the upset at UFC 216.
For about the past two years, Ferguson has shown a tendency to constantly try to walk down his opponents in an attempt to get them into striking range. This trend has helped Ferguson win the all of his UFC fights because his opponents didn’t have the stamina to cut angles in the process of moving backward to avoid any strikes from landing. Due to this, some adversaries are forced to give into his pressure because they would attempt to cut angles and experience early fatigue from a lack of stamina which would put them in a position to have to exchange with him. On the other hand, some opponents concluded that they were better off trading punches with him because they were aware of the fact that they didn’t have the stamina to cut angles. As a result of this, Ferguson would have ample opportunities to get within his striking range and inflict damage on his opponents. During these occasions, he would faint the left hand in an attempt to get the opponent to move their head to the right or momentarily distract them which would open the door for the straight right to land. Furthermore, on occasion, he would run forward and throw a lead left uppercut to make the opponent think about multiple things throughout the fight.
However, Ferguson’s fighting style should play right into the strategy of Kevin Lee because Tony will already be within grappling range. As a result of this, Lee can drop down to shoot for a single or double leg takedown without having to waste energy trying to get the opponent into grappling range. If he gets a firm grasp of the legs Lee will try to complete the takedown in open space or push him to the fence to reattempt the takedown. Lee should maintain this strategy during the early rounds as it will keep him active while at the same time limiting Ferguson’s attack and draining his energy.