The main event of the evening sees no. 7 ranked UFC® featherweight Yair “El Pantera” Rodriguez and no. 8 ranked UFC featherweight Jeremy “Lil Heathen” Stephens face off at Mexico City Arena.
Rodriguez, who hasn’t fought since his stunning KO in the last second of his bout with “The Korean Zombie” last November, enters the fight having won 10 of his last 11 contests and has the added advantage of fighting in front of a home crowd.
His opponent, Stephens, however, is a UFC veteran who has 44 career fights under his belt compared to Rodriguez’s 13. Somewhat of a knockout artist, 19 of Stephen’s 28 victories have come via KO. This promises to be an exciting encounter and it will be interesting to see whether the experience of Stephens’ or the youth of Rodriguez triumphs in this one.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: RODRIGUEZ vs. STEPHENS also features a number of female athletes in action on both the main card and the prelims.
In the co-main event, Mexican Alexa Grasso is an action on home territory taking on American Carla “Cookie Monster” Esparza in a strawweight bout, where both athletes will hope a win will help them rise through the competitive women’s strawweight division.
Also fighting on home soil, Mexico’s Irene Aldana takes on Brazil’s Vanessa Melo in the bantamweight division on the main card, in what will also be Melo’s first UFC contest. In the prelims, Ariane Carnelossi faces Angela “Overkill” Hill, while Sijara “Sarj” Eubanks is up against Bethe “Pitbull” Correia.
Scotsman Paul “Bearjew” Craig returns to the Octagon® in a light heavyweight match up against Vinicius “Mamute” Moreira in the prelims. Craig, a former football coach and teacher born in Airdrie, is among a stronghold of Scottish athletes alongside Joanne Calderwood and Stevie Ray. Since his UFC debut in October 2016, Craig’s three victories have all come via submission, one of which was nominated for ‘Comeback of the Year’ in this year’s MMA Awards, after his stunning late victory over Magomed Ankalaev at UFC London last year.
Standing in the Scot’s way, Moreira will provide a stern test, having won 5 of his last 7 MMA contests, although his first two UFC fights were a challenging start resulting in a defeat, the Brazilian will be aiming to take advantage of his superior stature and wrestle Craig for a submission, steering clear of the Scot’s fast striking.
UFC newcomer in action this weekend is Russian-born Askar Askarov, who makes his UFC debut against Mexican Brandon “The Assassin Baby” Moreno. Askarov joins the UFC with promising set of skills and will be looking to show his expertise this weekend when he touches gloves with Moreno. Moreno will be taking on Askarov as his first bout of 2019 and holds the experience of competing within the UFC since 2016.
Yair “El Pantera” Rodriguez vs Jeremy “Lil Heathen” Stephens
Carla “Cookie Monster” Esparza vs. Alexa Grasso
Brandon “The Assassin Baby” Moreno vs. Askar Askarov
Irene Aldana vs. Vanessa Melo
Martin “El Toro” Bravo vs. Steven “Ocho” Peterson
Jose “El Teco” Quinonez vs. Carlos “Perro Malo” Huachin
Marco “El Toro” Polo Reyes vs. Kyle “The Monster” Nelson
Ariane Carnelossi vs. Angela “Overkill” Hill
Sergio Pettis vs. Tyson Nam
Vinicius “Mamute” Moreira vs. Paul “Bearjew” Craig
Sijara “Sarj” Eubanks vs. Bethe “Pitbull” Correia
Claudio “El Nino” Puelles vs. Marcos “Dhalsim” Mariano
Tune in to watch all the action live as it unfolds this weekend. Available in South Africa on Supersport 211 from 2am otherwise catch it on UFC Fight pass