Kevin Lee Survives Insane Head Kick to Come Back and Batter Edson Barboza…

Love him or loathe him, Kevin Lee is without a doubt a very tough man. The ‘Motown Phenom’ might be known more for his trash talk these days than his fighting. He did his best to set this to rights at UFC Fight Night 128, in Atlantic City, when he took on Edson Barboza.

The lightweight duo is two of the most entertaining fighters in the division. Barboza has unbelievable kicks, while Lee has a powerful wrestling background. This fight had major implications for the rest of the division. With no definite challenger for champion Khabib Nurmagamedov, this was their chance to stake a claim.

In a great action fight, Lee managed to win by TKO. However, he took some unbelievable damage himself. Keep reading for a full analysis and video highlights of this crazy showdown, where Lee survived the chicken dance to come back and destroy Barboza.

Mandatory Credit: Noah K Murray, USA TODAY Sports.


Lee was coming off the back of an interim title shot against Tony Ferguson. He was outclassed that day, with ‘El Cucuy’ just too wily and sharp for him. Of course, he was suffering from a staph infection, so it’s difficult to gauge how much that affected him. He also missed weight coming into this fight, so it remains to be seen if he moves up or not.

Meanwhile, Barboza’s last fight was against current champion Khabib Nurmagamedov. The Brazilian was soundly beaten that night, in demoralizing style. His face showed that he didn’t know what was happening as Nurmagamedov brutalized him.

Both men knew that this fight was massive. A win would keep them relevant, pushing them forward towards a title shot. A loss could be devastating, as they would slip further back in one of the most tightly-packed and competitive divisions in the UFC.

Chicken Dance

Barboza is one of the slickest kickers in the UFC. However, that’s not much good when you get taken down like Lee did to him in the first minute. He manhandled Barboza the whole way through the fight. Outwrestling him and taking him down, attempting to brutalize him.

It was impressive stuff from the Detroit native. You just can’t count Barboza out though. Standing facing Lee, he unleashed a spinning back heel kick from hell. Incredibly Lee remained standing, but his legs turned to jelly and he wobbled like a chicken. Then, he managed to close the distance and clinch with Barboza.

Surviving this kick was almost as big a statement for Lee as actually winning the fight. It was truly fearsome. A Brazilian heel bouncing off the side of his head. It should have been goodnight then and there, but somehow he hung on for the TKO win.


Lee went on to win in brutal fashion. He took Barboza to the ground and rained elbows down on his head until finally the referee intervened and stopped the fight. It was eerily reminiscent of the way Khabib Nurmagamedov batters his victims. Scary stuff.

There’s no doubt that Lee has star potential. It remains to be seen whether or not that is at lightweight because, let’s not forget, he did miss weight. Actually, if he was even more dehydrated he might not have survived the Barboza kick. However, he is an exciting action fighter, with a lot to say. The UFC likes that.

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