Weekend Warrior: Mexico City Awaits UFC Fight Night 159

Mesmerizing creativity will confront brute force when Yair Rodriguez meets Jeremy Stephens in the UFC Fight Night 159 headliner on Saturday in Mexico City, their showdown promising fireworks within the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s cutthroat featherweight division.

Cover Photo: Matthew Stockman / Staff (Getty Images)

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Yair Rodriguez

Yair Rodriguez punches Chan Sung Jung. Photo: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC (Getty Images)

Rodriguez, 26, holds the rank of black belt in taekwondo and has established himself as one of the sport’s most promising young fighters. The Ultimate Fighter Latin America winner has rattled off nine victories across his past 10 appearances, a technical knockout loss to former lightweight champion and future Hall of Famer Frankie Edgar in May 2017 his only misstep. Rodriguez last competed at UFC Fight Night 139 on Nov. 10, when he authored the 2018 “Knockout of the Year” with a last-second, no-look upward elbow strike against Chan Sung Jung.

Stephens became a full-time member of the UFC roster in 2007 and has since pieced together quite a career. The 33-year-old Alliance MMA representative ranks second on the UFC’s all-time list in knockdowns landed (18), third in appearances (30) and sixth in total fight time (6:05:33). Stephens has delivered 19 of his 28 career victories by knockout or technical knockout, 11 of them inside one round. His list of victims includes Cole Miller, Dennis Bermudez, Doo Ho Choi, and Josh Emmett. On a two-fight losing streak, Stephens last fought at UFC 235, where he wound up on the wrong side of a unanimous decision against Zabit Magomedsharipov on March 2.

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Jeremy Stephens

Jeremy Stephens punches Zabit Magomedsharipov. Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC / Contributor Getty Images)

UFC Fight Night “Rodriguez vs. Stephens”—which streams live to ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT—also features a women’s strawweight co-main event matching Carla Esparza with Alexa Grasso, a flyweight affair pitting Askar Askarov against Brandon Moreno, a women’s bantamweight tilt pairing Irene Aldana with Vanessa Melo and a featherweight clash slotting Martin Bravo opposite Steven Peterson. In addition, ESPN+ will provide coverage of the entire seven-fight undercard at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT.

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