Dennis Bermudez warned Jeremy Stephens that he was in the wrong weight class after two straight losses and then "'Lil Heathen" came in four pounds heavy for their Featherweight fight tonight (Sat., July 11, 2015) at UFC 189 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Stephens wasn't about to hear all that.
The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 14 runner-up came out of the gate guns blazing, attacking with a takedown and then drilling Stephens with a huge punch that clearly left an impression. Bermudez kept the intense pressure along the cage as blood from Stephens' face poured over his back.
Little more than two minutes in, Bermudez took Stephens' back at the bottom of the cage and softened him up with rabbit punches from the rear. Stephen was able to escape out the back eventually, but his face was a bloody mess, apparently from an inadvertent headbutt.
Both fighters traded huge punches in the center of the Octagon and then tussled along the fence as the first frame came to a close.
Both fighters canceled each other out with leg kicks to start the second, but a follow-up had Bermudez limping. Bermudez landed a nice shot, but Stephens countered with a bomb that dropped him to his knees. Stephens was unable to immediately capitalize as the action returned to the center of the Octagon, where "'Lil Heathen" continued to punish his lead leg.
Stephens landed another thunderous shot, which Bermudez was somehow able to absorb and keep coming forward. In fact, he landed a "Superman" punch as Stephens was uncorking a kick to score a perfectly-timed knockdown.
The final minute of round two was a raucus back-and-forth brawl.
Third and final round and it was pretty much anyone's fight to win ... or lose. Stephens went back to kicking, and then landed a devastating fade-away jumping knee that folded up Bermudez at the bottom of the cage. Stephens dove in to finish what he started, but there was no need, Bermudez was already hurt in a bad way and could not intelligently defend himself any further.
It was an incredible highlight-reel finish for Stephens, who needed a win in the worst way after his scale fail yesterday.
For complete results from UFC 189: "Mendes vs. McGregor," including play-by-play updates, click here.