Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) invaded Mexico City Arena in Mexico City, Mexico, to stage UFC Fight Night 159 last night (Sat., Sept. 21, 2019). The main event of the evening, unfortunately, was over before it began, as Jeremy Stephens was the recipient of an eye poke from Yair Rodriguez just seconds into the fight.
After five minutes of stoppage time, the ringside doctor and referee Herb Dean had no choice but to call the fight in what was truly a bizarre ending to a main event. The Mexican fans were obviously unhappy, hurling bottles and trash into the cage as Stephens was escorted backstage. Rodriguez, meanwhile, was irate, even getting upset at Michael Bisping for trying to conduct the post-fight interview. After a few seconds, “El Pantera” calmed down and even apologized to “The Count” — and to Stephens — for the unfortunate eye poke.
Biggest Winner: Steven Peterson
Let’s get Peterson some love after scoring a crazy, spinning back-fist knockout win over Martin Bravo (see it again here), which was good enough to earn him a cool $50,000 in post-fight bonus cash. Not only that, he was in dire need of a win, as he had previously dropped his last two fights inside the Octagon, and third one would have likely marked the end of his UFC career. Instead, Peterson lives to fight another day (or two), leaving Mexico with some extra pesos in his pocket thanks to his amazing knockout.
Runner Up: Carla Esparza
The honor will have to go to Esparza here, who handed Alexa Grasso a tough loss in a very gritty co-main event fight. The contest was close, as Esparza ate some good shots, as well as escaped a very tight armbar to eventually score a win via majority decision. Of course, “Cookie Monster” can thank her wrestling for helping her get the edge.
While the locals didn’t agree with the call, I felt it wasn’t a robbery by any means. Esparza has now won two in a row, and taking out Grasso is a huge feather in her cap. Esparza still has her work cut out for her if she wants to get back to the big dance, but capitalizing on two straight wins is a good start.
Biggest Loser(s): Rodriguez, Stephens, UFC, the fans ... everybody.
It was truly a terrible ending to the main event, which left fight fans in the arena — as well as millions watching around the world — unsatisfied. More important, though, it has to be a tough ending for both Rodriguez and Stephens.
Both men did all they could to get prepared for such a big fight, with “Lil Heathen” pumping a boat load of cash into his training camp. Rodriguez, meanwhile, had all of his family front row and his hometown fans rooting for him, only to have it end in just 15 seconds. For UFC, that’s obviously the worst case scenario, but it was something that was unavoidable. Moving forward, it’s safe to bet that the promotion will book the fight immediately, assuming Stephens’ eye isn’t in too damaged.
For complete UFC Fight Night 159: “Rodriguez vs. Stephens” results and play-by-play, click HERE!