Yair Rodriguez takes on Jeremy Stephens at the main event of UFC Fight Night 159 at the Mexico City Arena in Mexico City.
Yair Rodriguez was the winner of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America contest in 2014 and has been fighting in the promotion since that victory. El Pantera is ranked 7th in the official UFC featherweight rankings and he is a three-time winner of the Fight of the Night and also a three-time awardee of Performance of the Night honors in the UFC.
Rodriguez is 26 years old and he stands 5-10 with a reach of 71 inches. El Pantera has a background in Muay Thai, Taekwondo and submission wrestling. He has a record of 11-2 with four knockouts and two submission victories. After suffering his first UFC loss, a knockout to Frankie Edgar in May 2017, he bounced back with a sensational knockout win over Chan Sung Jung on November 2018.
Jeremy Stephens is ranked next to Yair Rodriguez in the UFC rankings at #8 in the featherweight division. He has been in the UFC since 2007 but has never fought for the title. He is known as a knockout artist but he also has a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He is tied with the great Anderson Silva with a record 18 UFC knockouts and is a three-time Knockout of the Night winner.
Known as Li’l Heathen, Stephens has a reach of 71 inches and stands at 5-8 ½. The 33-year-old from San Diego County in California has a professional record of 29-19 with 19 knockouts and two submission wins. Stephens is coming off back to back losses and he has four losses in his last seven fights.
|Tale of the tape||Jeremy Stephens|
|1.8 m||Height||1.73 m|
|65.8 kg||Weight||65.8 kg|
|180.3 cm||Reach||180.3 cm|
Rodriguez isn’t as good on the ground as Stephens is and the Mexican isn’t as powerful with his hands. However, El Pantera is a unique striker who pressures his opponents with a variety of strikes. Watch out for his spinning attacks as it has ended several of his fights. Rodriguez is much faster, quicker and agile than Stephens and I think that will be to his advantage here.
Stephens will go for the kill right from the get-go and I think Rodriguez will try to keep his distance and then attack in spurts. Stephens is the better fighter overall but I think Rodriguez’s youth and athleticism are going to take over here. I think Rodriguez has a lot of holes in his defense but he has enough in his bag to frustrate Stephens. I’m picking Yair Rodriguez to beat Jeremy Stephens by decisions.