UFC Fight Night 159 Set For Yair Rodriguez Breakout Performance
The former Ultimate Fighter: Latin America winner returns to action this Saturday night live on ESPN+ against Jeremy Stephens.
Yair Rodriguez is coming off one of the biggest wins of his mixed martial arts career.
Now, Rodriguez will try to keep that momentum going when he heads to Mexico City, Mexico for UFC Fight Night 159.
The ESPN+ event streams live from Mexico City Arena as Rodriguez headlines the card against fellow featherweight contender Jeremy Stephens.
Yair Rodriguez KOs Chan Sung Jung
It will be the perfect time for the Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico native to make another splash and impact on the UFC and the featherweight division against a strong veteran in Stephen. Rodriguez is coming off a fifth round knockout via a perfectly-placed and timed elbow vs. Yair Rodriguez. The stoppage marked the latest in UFC history and earned Rodriguez both “Performance of the Night” and “Fight of the Night” status.
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After putting together a six-fight win streak to begin his UFC career, a run that includes a second round finish of former UFC champion BJ Penn, a knockout via flying head kick on Andre Fili and decisions over Alex Caceres and Dan Hooker, officials set “El Pantera” up with former UFC champion and top contender Frankie Edgar.
Rodriguez was unable to secure the win, but he showed plenty of heart and determination before the Octagon-side doctor called a stop to the contest after the second round. Related: UFC Fight Night 139 Results: Yair Rodriguez Scores Memorable Victory
The 26-year-old is a former winner of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America, claiming his title in 2014. Now, he gets another crack at a main event victory inside the Octagon by taking on Stephens.
Stephens, 33 years old, is looking to get back into the win column following back-to-back losses to Zabit Magomedsharipov and Jose Aldo. Prior to the slide, the veteran had picked up three consecutive wins, earning fight-night bonuses in all three against former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez, Doo Ho Choi and Josh Emmett.
One only has to glance through Stephens’ UFC career to see that he never backs down from a challenge. The Iowa native has faced of against the likes of Din Thomas, Joe Lauzon, former UFC champion Anthony Pettis, Donald Cerrone, Yves Edwards, Cub Swanson, UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway and ohers.
And Stephens holds wins over such fighters as former UFC champion Rafael dos Anjos, Cole MIller, Darren Elkins and former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Baroa.
Other key bouts set for this Saturday night from Mexico City include Carla Esparza vs. Alexa Grasso, Sijara Eubanks vs. Bethe Correia and Tyson Nam vs. Sergio Pettis.
UFC Fight Night 159: Rodriguez Vs. Stephens
MAIN CARD (ESPN+)
Featherweight: Yair Rodriguez vs. Jeremy Stephens
Women’s Strawweight: Carla Esparza vs. Alexa Grasso
Flyweight: Brandon Moreno vs. Askar Askarov
Women’s Bantamweight: Irene Aldana vs. Steven Peterson
PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN+)
Bantamweight: Jose Alberto Quinonez vs. Carlos Huachin
Featherweight: Polo Reyes vs. Kyle Nelson
Women’s Strawweight: Ariane Carnelossi vs. Angela Hill
Light Heavyweight: Vinicius Moreira vs. Paul Craig
Women’s Bantamweight: Sijara Eubanks vs. Bethe Correia
Lightweight: Claudio Puelles vs. Marcos Rosa Mariano