Kevin Lee to undergo ACL surgery, sidelined for six months

Mandatory Credit: Buda Mendes – Zuffa LLC

Former UFC interim lightweight title challenger, Kevin ‘The Mo’Town Phenom’ Lee, faces a prolonged period on the sidelines.

The Michigan native has had a topsy-turvy time in recent outings – dropping a hard-fought guillotine to Charles Oliveira in March, after returning to the win column via a stunning first-round high kick knockout of Gregor Gillespie at UFC 244. The recently christened Tristar trainee has revealed to ESPN, he’s suffered a torn ACL – which will keep him from active competition for a period of six months.

It [a torn ACL] used to mean being out for a year,” Lee explained. “They’ve gotten better with the technology and the [physical therapy], so it might even be sooner. I don’t know.

Lee, 27, who’s been tipped for eventual Octagon champion status in the future, now faces another setback, following defeats to both Al Iaquinta, and Rafael dos Anjos over the last eighteen months – the latter coming in a welterweight outing. The former Xtreme Couture trainee also missed weight in his UFC Fight Night Brasília outing with Oliveira, tipping the scales at 158.5-pounds. Speaking with Luke Thomas on the April 17th. edition of, The Luke Thomas Show, Lee elected against revealing how he suffered the injury.

Honestly, not even doing anything that was totally out of the ordinary,” Lee said. “I mean, I’m not going to say specifically how it happened because of insurance, you know. But, it wasn’t something totally out of the ordinary. I think I may have been affected by this whole virus and s**t more than I think. For some reason, I’ve been overly fatigued and my body isn’t feeling great. I zigged when I should have zagged and heard a pop, pretty loud. Since then, I’m unable to move it much.

Lee made his promotional debut all the way back at UFC 169 in a decision loss to the aforementioned, Iaquinta, but has managed some notable wins over Efrain Escudero, Jake Matthews, Magomed Mustafaev, Francisco Trinaldo, Michael Chiesa, and Edson Barboza since. Lee earned an interim 155-pound title clash with Tony Ferguson via his contentious submission of Chiesa, losing admirably via a third-round triangle against ‘El Cucuy’.

Before the defeat to Oliveira in Brazil – Lee spoke of his intentions to clash with Russian wrestling ace, Islam Makhachev in a potential UFC Fight Night headliner in Moscow. Makhachev was pitted with Alexander Hernandez for the April 18th. edition of UFC 249, until the event’s postponement, and travel restrictions imposed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, shelved the pairing.




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