Another weekend means another night of high-quality UFC action. This time the octagon showing comes live from Mexico and the featherweight clash between Yair Rodriguez and Jeremy Stephens promises to be an event that could take the MMA giant to an unprecedented height in the country. They may not be the most established of names, but the quality that both men have could grab the attention of the fight fans.
There will be an awful lot of pressure of Yair Rodriguez on Saturday evening as the Mexican expansion rests on his shoulders. Rodriguez has already been showing signs that he could be capable of going to the next level. Although the two defeats on his record do show that he clearly has a glass ceiling. His recent defeat against Frankie Edgar was a clear indication of that as he schooled Rodriguez throughout before eventually winning by TKO. However, he bounced back from that disappointment with an excellent showing last time out against Chan Sung Jung, where he beat his opponent with a vicious KO elbow. His fights have already been entertaining and that has been the case since his bout against Charles Rosa. Since the split decision victory, he has been a must-watch occasion for MMA fans. He has the ability to be dynamic in the octagon, but with that comes a sense that there is a layer of unpredictability when he takes to the octagon. Fans are never sure whether we are going to get the fighter that looks to KO his opponent, or whether he would prefer to fight sensibly and get the win via decision. With the stakes on Saturday, it would seem that he would be looking for an explosive KO victory to secure him another fight with somebody that could put him in the title picture.
Stephens meanwhile comes into the bout on the back of a pretty poor record over recent times. He has lost his last two against Zabit Magomedsharipov and Jose Aldo. Prior to that, he had won three straight; including two via TKO/KO finishes against Josh Emmett and Doo Ho Choi. Before his victory over Gilbert Melendez, he had lost three out of four, and five out of seven. He has shared the octagon with some famous names during that time including Max Holloway and Frankie Edgar, but there is a sense that he is somewhere in between the best and the rest. That is highlighted by the fact that he is 0.81 to win this bout with BetXChange. He hasn’t been able to make the step up to face the very best in the division, but he is better than those that are ranked below him. That’s what makes this fight such a fascinating watch, as it could be one that could put Rodriguez firmly on the map within this division.
Tale of the Tape
|1.8 m||Height||1.75 m|
|65.8 kg||Weight||65.8 kg|
|180.3 cm||Reach||180.3 cm|
The step-up in competition is something that Rodriguez needs, and this bout is clearly just that. A win here for the Mexican could be huge but he would need to find a way to finish his opponent off. It could be a massive night in Mexico for the home town favourite, and it could be a memorable knockout finish.