UFC 178 Preview: Lightweight Tilt between Jon Tuck and Kevin Lee

UFC 178: Jon Tuck vs Kevin Lee
UFC 178: Jon Tuck vs Kevin Lee

UFC 178 on September 27, 2014 will host a lightweight tilt between Jon “Super Saiyan” Tuck and Kevin “Motown Phenom” Lee.


Both fighters have good records and need to rack up a few wins to establish themselves as a mainstay in the lightweight division. Therefore, these competitors will be hungry to put on a show for the fans and the UFC brass.

Jon Tuck, the MMA Lab representative, started his career off with seven straight wins, six of those being first round finishes via TKO or rear-naked choke. His first five fights took place in his native land of Guam for promotions such as Pacific Xtreme Combat and Gorilla Warfare.

To date his biggest win has to be against former URCC welterweight champion and Team Lakay Wushu member Eduard Folayang. The fight only lasted for eight seconds but it did not lack action. After the initial flurry by Folayang was over, Tuck threw a leg kick and then an overhand right that put his opponent to sleep. Another impressive point is that he took the fight on only 20 days notice.

With a solid 6-0 record on the local circuit, the “Super Saiyan” was contacted by the UFC to try out for The Ultimate Fighter 15 but lost to Al Iaquinta in the elimination round. However, the UFC was enthused enough by his performance to have him make his debut against Zhang Tiequan at UFC on Fuel TV 6 in Macao that following November. Tuck controlled the first two rounds with his superior grappling and almost gassed in the third but toughed it out for a unanimous decision.

His next bout was a duel with Norman Parke, The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes Lightweight Tournament winner, at UFC Fight Night 30 in Manchester, England. From the beginning of the fight Parke kept the pressure on Tuck by moving forward landing combinations while Tuck would throw one punch or kick at a time and move away. The lack in attack by Tuck would lead to him losing on the scorecards.

In his most recent match, he faced off with Jake Lindsey at UFC Fight Night 42 last June in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Coming off the first loss of his career, Tuck came out the gate firing on all cylinders throwing everything at Lindsey but the kitchen sink. They had many good exchanges throughout the fight, rocking each other a few times. Though Tuck looked fatigued through the second and third rounds, he still dominated and eventually Lindsey tapped to heel strikes to the midsection.

Kevin Lee, a top prospect coming out of Detroit, has made a name for himself through the amateur ranks. At only 22, he has accumulated the same amount of pro fights as Tuck with the same record. Although he comes from a wrestling background and has stacked up four submission wins, Lee has some knockout power in his hands.

The “Motown Phenom” made his first appearance at UFC 169 across from Al Iaquinta. Iaquinta used his standup to land solid combinations and was able to fend off most takedown attempts taking rounds one and three. In the second round, Lee was able to use his wrestling to take his opponent’s back to try for chokes but he could not get one locked in. As a result, Iaquinta handed Lee the first defeat of his career.

Five months later, he was slotted against Jesse Ronson at The Ultimate Fighter 19 Finale in Las Vegas. Lee attempted double leg after double leg until Ronson went down but there was not much action on the ground. Consequently, it earned him a split decision win.

Tuck vs Lee: Fight Analysis

Jon Tuck will like to keep the fight standing since he has the advantage in the striking department. Throwing a lot of leg kicks will be optimal in keeping Lee guessing, and then Tuck can launch body shots and head kicks. He will also have to mix in knees to catch Lee while he comes in for double leg takedowns. The “Super Saiyan” does have knockout power so don’t be surprised if he rocks Lee with a punch. On the ground, Tuck is most dangerous on his opponent’s back which has led him to three rear-naked choke submission wins.

The game plan for Kevin Lee will consist of takedowns early and often to fatigue Tuck. Tuck has had some issues with gassing in fights and his takedown defense is suspect. If Lee is able to force Tuck to the ground, he may possibly get into position to go for submission since he has four submission finishes. Basically, all Lee needs to do is throw power shots to set up takedowns and then grind Tuck on the ground. When it gets into the later rounds it will be the best time for Lee to get the finish.