UFC Fight Night: 159 | Squared Up: Rodriguez vs Stephens Predictions & Analysis

Jason Paglia

Thursday, October 17, 2019 9:38 AM UTC

Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019 9:38 AM UTC

Jeremy Stephens and Yair Rodriguez fought three weeks ago, but after 15 seconds the fight was stopped prematurely. Now they meet again at the co-main event for UFC on ESPN 6.

<div><h2 style="text-align:center">Rodriguez vs Stephens</h2><div style="text-align:center"><a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/fighting/int/ultimate-fighting-championship/jeremy-stephens-vs-yair-rodriguez-3948202/?mtid=126" target="_blank" title="Fighting Odds"><strong>Co-Main Event</strong></a></div><p> </p><p>Welp… Here we go again. The UFC has decided to run it back this week in the co-main event for UFC on ESPN 6. This week the UFC heads to Boston, Massachusetts under the lights of the TD Garden Arena. If by some chance you feel like you’re having ‘déjà vu’, it’s not you. Jeremy Stephens and Yair Rodriguez fought three weeks ago…. For about 15 seconds. They were the main event for UFC Fight Night 159, and an accidental eye poke stopped the fight prematurely. Now they get a chance to run it back as the co-main event for UFC on ESPN 6. Should we expect anything to change here? Let’s get after it!</p><p style="text-align:center"><img alt src="https://www.sportsnet.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/rodriguez_yair-1040x572.jpg" style="width:90%" /></p><h2>Yair Rodriguez</h2><p>Yair Rodriguez is going back home Saturday night. Born in Mexico, he started training in the art of Taekwondo from the age of 5. That would end up being the foundation of his mixed martial arts skill set. He would make his professional MMA debut in October of 2011 on the Mexican regional scene. With a 4-1 record, the UFC signed him to a probational fight contract in 2014. He debuted at UFC: 180 against Leonardo Morales an won his initial fight via unanimous decision.</p><p>Since then, he has accumulated a (7-1) record in the UFC and has cemented himself as a top 15 featherweight staple for the last couple years. He walks into the Octagon Saturday night as the #7 ranked featherweight in the world. Will he continue to ascend and crack the top 5? With a win over Jeremy Stephens it could happen sooner than we think. Below is a look at Yair Rodriguez, by the numbers.</p><p><strong><u>― STATS ―</u></strong></p><p><img alt src="https://images-production-euw2-753931602578.s3.amazonaws.com/5da8398cf2e6ccfc35b46556/original-yair-rodriguez-stats" style="width:100%;height:100%" /></p><p><strong><u>― PROS ―</u></strong></p><p>• <strong>Unpredictability</strong> (There are not many fighters in the UFC today that have a black belt in Taekwondo. That is Yair Rodriguez’s foundation. Taekwondo striking is really interesting. Punches and kicks come from everywhere and every angle possible. That is why Wonder Boy Thompson is so successful with his stand up. Rodriguez is not on Wonderboy’s level, but he is really good and a perplexing puzzle for any fighter to solve.)</p><p>• <strong>Speed</strong> (Yair Rodriguez is lightning quick. Jeremy Stephens has above average speed everywhere, but he is not as fast as Yair Rodriguez.)</p><p>• <strong>Perseverance</strong> (Yair Rodriguez has proved in multiple fights, that when the tough gets going he is unflappable. He’s able to sustain a substantial amount of damage through persevere. Against a fighter that hits as hard as Jeremy Stephens, that is great strength to have.)</p><p> </p><p><u><strong>― CONS ―</strong></u></p><p>• <strong>Pocket Defense</strong> (With Space to work with, Yair Rodriguez’s offensive game is a problem for anyone. The creativity, the kicks, and the athleticism are all great BUT, that ALL GOES AWAY if you can close space on him and force him to fight deep in the pocket. Whoever wins this battle, can very well win the fight.)</p><p>• <strong>Takedown Defense</strong> (Technically his numbers are acceptable, but MMA is also about the eye test. If you can get through his midrange game and get inside, it is VERY easy to take down Yair Rodriguez.)</p><p> </p><p style="text-align:center"><img alt src="https://usatmmajunkie.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/jeremy-stephens-ufc-189.jpg?w=1000&amp;h=600&amp;crop=1" style="width:90%" /></p><h2>Jeremy Stephens</h2><p>Born and raised in Iowa, Jeremy Stephens grew up with a love of baseball and wrestling. After being a high school standout in wrestling he focused his future on becoming a mixed martial artist. In 2005 he became a professional MMA fighter and got out to a phenomenal start fighting in various underground promotions. Finally, with a record of (12-1) the UFC could no longer ignore the success of Stephens. He was scooped up by the promotion and and placed in a fight immediately. At UFC : 71 after winning 12 of his first 13 fights as a pro, he lost his UFC debut against Dim Thomas via submission.</p><p>Since his initial fight in the UFC, he has been one of the most active fighters on the roster. 30 fights in the UFC since 2007 is one of the better runs for the promotion in UFC history. His longevity has been incredible and while he has a ton of miles on the tread, he is still on the tail end of his prime. He walks into the Octagon the #8 ranked featherweight fighter in the world. Below is a look at Jeremy Stephens, by the numbers.</p><p><u><strong>― STATS ―</strong></u></p><p><img alt src="https://images-production-euw2-753931602578.s3.amazonaws.com/5da839d4f2e6ccfc35b46557/original-jeremy-stephens-stats" style="width:100%;height:100%" /></p><p><u><strong>― PROS ―</strong></u></p><p>• <strong>Power</strong> (Even the casual fans know the amount of power that Jeremy Stephens has in his hands. There might be a couple fighters in the division that have the ability to end a fight in a second like Jeremy Stephens….maybe.)</p><p>• <strong>Pressure</strong> (There aren’t many fighters in the division that start as fast as Jeremy Stephens does. The pedal is on the floor from the first minute of the fight. He will instantly try to pressure Rodriguez and cut the cage in half. He does it well. Will it work?)</p><p>• <strong>Stamina</strong> (Stephens’ gas tank is incredible. We have seen him in a plethora of 5 round main event fights and in all of them he has been as fresh in the 5th round as he was in the 1st.)</p><p> </p><p><u><strong>― CONS ―</strong></u></p><p>• <strong>One Sided</strong> (Jeremy Stephens really only fights one way. His coaches may come out with different game plans for different fighters but at the end of the day Stephens fights one way. He head hunts for a knockout every minute of every fight. Because of that, he doesn’t not win a lot of decisions which is a problem for him. If this fight goes the distance, Yair’s hand probably gets raised.)</p><p>• <strong>Ground Game</strong> (Jeremy Stephens has a solid wrestling foundation and if he gets you down he is fully capable of great top control, BUT his BJJ leaves a lot to be desired. He is set in his ways on how he likes to get victories and he just doesn’t view BJJ as one of them. The problem is his opponents know this as well and it is one less thing they have to worry about.)</p><p style="text-align:center"><img alt src="https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--QzrUoU1e--/c_scale,f_auto,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/17wwvcry020hhjpg.jpg" style="width:90%" /></p><h2><strong>THE VERDICT</strong></h2><p>So, who wins this fight? I literally have no idea. It is anyone’s fight, a complete toss up. They are both creative enough strikers to find a way to hit the button and drop their opponent. The key to this fight is the battle of range. If Yair Rodriguez can stay at range and dance in and out giving damage and not taking it, than it’s his fight to win.</p><p>On the flip side, if Jeremy Stephens can get past Yair’s athleticism, the Taekwondo black belt, and the creative striking from range, he can win this fight. He needs to bring the brawl into the pocket. Can he do it? I just don’t know.</p><p>The good news is it doesn’t matter if I don’t know who wins this fight because that is not our angle going in. It’s all about the distance baby. While I am not sure who wins the fight, I am pretty sure that someone is hitting the button inside of 15 minutes and ending it. Both men are too good at striking for someone not to catch the other and get a knockout win. 3 weeks ago this was a 5 round fight and the odds were (1.73). Now that this fight has 2 less rounds we should be looking at a much better price. My guess is 2.00 to 2.20. Whatever it is, we are on it for a unit. We are going back to the well. Let’s try this again.</p><p><strong>UFC Betting Tip</strong>: Fight Goes the Distance (NO) at anything over (1.95).</p><p><a href="http://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=168&amp;a=4417b7df-a48f-47f3-9b45-f79858bc083a&amp;f=3"><img alt src="https://images-production-euw2-753931602578.s3.amazonaws.com/5d582dcf927b95968483da5f/original-10-bet-new-customer-welcome-bonus" style="width:100%" /></a></p></div>
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