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Gillespie suffers first loss with head-kick KO at UFC 244

Kevin Lee knocked out Gregor Gillespie at UFC 244 (Photo/sport.bt.com)

Gregor Gillespie, 2007 NCAA champ and four-time All-American for Edinboro University, suffered the first loss of his nearly six-year pro MMA career with a first-round head-kick knockout at the hands -- or, actually, foot -- of fellow former college wrestler Kevin Lee at UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday night.

Here's how CBS Sports opened its report on the Gillespie-Lee lightweight (155-pound) bout:

"Gregor Gillespie entered the Octagon to face Kevin Lee at UFC 244 as an undefeated prospect with a decorated background in amateur wrestling. Lee was a step up in competition for Gillespie, and the fight turned out to be a step too far for the New York native fighting in front of a hometown crowd at Madison Square Garden."

MMAfighting.com set the stage for its account of the bout thusly:

"Kevin Lee re-introduced himself to the lightweight division in a big way on Saturday night.

"'The Motown Phenom' earned a potential knockout of the year after demolishing previously undefeated prospect Gregor Gillespie with a picture-perfect head kick at 2:47 into the opening round at UFC 244."

"In a fight between two top grapplers, Lee and Gillespie seemed content to trade jabs on the feet through the first minute of the opening round," MMAfighting.com continued. "Lee had the reach advantage but he ate several stiff jabs from Gillespie that opened a cut on his fight during the one of the early exchanges.

"Gillespie did try for one half-hearted takedown but he didn't utilize his wrestling outside of that lone attempt. Lee made him pay for that decision by constantly head hunting with power punches that eventually set up the fight-ending sequence.

"After landing several overhand rights, Lee found a home for that punch one more time, which turned Gillespie around and set him up for the head kick that followed.

"Lee's foot connected flush as Gillespie's jaw swung around before he dropped violently to the canvas as the referee rushed into stop the fight."

The 32-year-old Gillespie is now 13-1 in a career going back to January 2014. Prior to the loss, the former Fighting Scot wrestler was 6-0 in the UFC with his five most recent fights ending via KO or submission. Lee, 27, improves to 18-5 overall in a seven-and-a-half year pro career launched after wrestling at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, overcoming losses in his last two most recent bouts prior to UFC 244.

After the victory, Lee said, "I needed to make [a statement] tonight. My back was against the wall. I'm coming out here facing the most decorated wrestler in the division and I wanted to put on a show."

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