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Monday Morning Hangover: Yair Rodriguez doesn’t seem too interested in Jeremy Stephens rematch

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone as UFC Fight Night 159 blew the roof off Mexico City Arena in Mexico City, Mexico, this past weekend (Sat., Sept. 21, 2019). Plenty of fighters were left feeling the blues, including Alexa Grasso, who came out on the short end of a controversial decision defeat to Carla Esparza. And Martin Bravo, who was knocked out by Steven Peterson with a vicious spinning backfist (see it).

But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?

Yair Rodriguez ... and Jeremy Stephens.

The much-anticipated Featherweight main event came to an anticlimactic end after Rodriguez inadvertently poked Stephens in the eye 15 seconds in, forcing the ringside doctor to put an end to the fight because “Lil Heathen” was unable to open his eye.

Of course, fight fans in attendance didn’t take the news too well, throwing plastic bottles into the Octagon and toward Stephens as he was escorted out of the cage. Rodriguez, meanwhile, was also upset, as he didn’t get the chance to fight in front of his supporters. Afterward, Stephens issued a response to Rodriguez, who stated that even though he was giving Stephens the benefit of the doubt, “lying” to get out of the fight was something the power-puncher would have to live with if that was the case.

An odd statement indeed.

Stephens shut down that ridiculous talk, campaigning for the promotion to run it back as soon as possible. Rodriguez, meanwhile, doesn’t seem too convinced that it may the right move. That’s because he’s the one who wasn’t too sure about fighting Stephens to begin with.

“Jeremy Stephens wasn’t the first on my mind to fight because he’s behind me in the rankings, and because he’s really tough,” Rodriguez told MMA Junkie post-fight. “He’s a really, really tough guy. But basically, it’s the numbers,” he added.

“He’s behind me in the rankings. I was looking for something else. I openly said it since before this happened. Right now, I don’t know. I’m just going to wait and talk to the UFC again and see what they’re thinking and just move on.”

I really don’t see how the promotion can proceed without re-booking this fight as soon as possible.

As far as Rodriguez giving Stephens the benefit of the doubt, that’s great and all, but to even insinuate that there is a chance that Stephens was lying about being unable to continue through no fault of his own is mind-boggling.

Why would a man sign on the dotted line, spend $30,000 on training at elevation, spend six weeks in Mexico preparing for a fight, only to take advantage of a way out 15 seconds in? It just doesn’t add up, regardless of which way you slice it.

Nevertheless, this is a rematch that has to happen, as everyone — fighters especially — were obviously left feeling very unsatisfied.

For complete UFC Fight Night 159: “Rodriguez vs. Stephens” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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