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Kenny Florian predicts Jeremy Stephens ends Yair Rodriguez in the second round at UFC Mexico City

UFC Fight Night Rodriguez v Stephens: Ultimate Media Day Photo by Hector Vivas/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC

Two of the most exciting featherweight fighters in the world today will collide later this evening (Sat., Sept. 21, 2019) at UFC Fight Night 159 live on ESPN+ from inside Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City, when veteran knockout artist Jeremy Stephens takes on entertaining striker Yair Rodriguez in the main event.

As two fighters who share the knack for finishing fights in memorable fashion Rodriguez and Stephens should produce nothing short of a Fight of the Night performance when they lock horns in Mexico City. Adding more to the main event showdown is the fact that Stephens desperately needs a win to end a two-fight losing skid and “El Pantera” is trying to build off of his legendary last-second knockout over “Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung back in 2018.

With so much talent shared between the two fighters it’s difficult to pinpoint who has the upper hand. That’s probably why the current betting odds have the main event split at -110.

Needless to say, Rodriguez vs. Stephens has the chance to capture the hearts of fight fans everywhere. It’s such an intriguing matchup that it almost doesn’t matter who wins, as long as they fight to the best of their ability.

“This is such an interesting fight,” said former UFC fighter and current MMA analyst Kenny Florian during a recent episode of Anik & Florian podcast. “I think Jeremy Stephens has insane power. I think he’s a guy that the Mexican fans are gonna absolutely love out there, but he is definitely in enemy territory here with Yair Rodriguez. A guy who again has been training in Mexico City. That stadium is just gonna erupt when he gets out there. He’s extremely exciting, hit probably the craziest knockout I have ever seen with that up elbow against ‘The Korean Zombie.’ The fight will go down as one of the greatest ever as well.”

While Rodriguez has the type of fighting style that could end a contest at the drop of a dime — evident by his knockout over “Korean Zombie” last year — Stephens has enough power and counter ability to make “El Pantera” pay if he happens to get too wild.

“He has a fearlessness and a confidence about him when he goes out to compete that is hard to match,” Florian continued. “His speed is very impressive, he’s gonna have to use his reach out there. My concern for Yair Rodriguez is the fact that he does get hit and because he does have a tendency of getting wild and being fearless, he can get hit with shots obviously.”

So who exactly does Florian see winning this clash in Mexico City? While the former UFC title challenger admits it’s an extremely close call he’s going to stick with the veteran who holds knockout wins over Rafael dos Anjos, Josh Emmett, Dennis Bermudez, Marcus Davis, Rony Jason, and Doo Ho Choi.

“This is a tough one for me,” said Florian. “I can definitely see this one going either way, but I’m gonna go with the slight underdog Jeremy Stephens here to get it down by knockout or TKO in round two.”

Remember, will offer LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 159 event this Saturday (click here), starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” at 5 p.m. ET and continuing on with the 8 p.m. ET main card.

To see more on UFC Fight Night 159: “Rodriguez vs. Stephens” and everything else ESPN+ has to offer, check out our comprehensive event archive right here.

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