Two featherweight contenders who still hope to earn a shot at the title belt will meet in the main event at UFC Fight Night 159 on Saturday in Mexico City, as Yair Rodriguez (11-2) takes on Jeremy Stephens (28-16) in what promises to be an exciting matchup. Rodriguez – a native of Parral, Chihuahua – has a slight edge on the UFC odds according to oddsmakers at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com as a -120 favorite (bet $120 to win $100).
Coming off a fifth-round knockout of Chan Sung Jung at UFC Fight Night 139 about 10 months ago, the 26-year-old Rodriguez had looked like he was in line for a title shot before falling to Frankie Edgar via second-round TKO in his previous fight at UFC 211. He has earned a post-fight bonus in four of his past five bouts and owns a 7-1 mark in the UFC overall going back to 2014 when he won The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America.
Meanwhile, the 33-year-old Stephens has dropped back-to-back fights since winning three in a row but is still chasing that elusive title shot. He has won 19 of 21 bouts when there is a knockout involved, although he is 7-11 in 18 that have gone to the judges. In his last fight, he dropped a unanimous decision to Zabit Magomedsharopov at UFC 235. Stephens is a -110 underdog (bet $110 to win $100) at sports betting sites as he attempts to end his skid.
The co-main event will also have some Mexican flavor with Guadalajara product Alexa Grasso (11-2) facing former women’s strawweight champion Carla Esparza (14-6). In what is expected to be another close matchup, Grasso is a consensus -120 favorite over the American Esparza (+100), who ended a two-fight losing streak with a UD victory against Brazilian Virna Jandiroba at UFC Fight Night 150 on April 27.
Grasso has alternated wins and losses in her five bouts in the promotion since joining the UFC following an unbeaten run in Invicta. The 26-year-old earned an impressive UD over Karolina Kowalkiewicz at UFC 238 on June 8 for the biggest win of her young career after suffering her first stoppage loss by rear-naked choke submission in the first round to Tatiana Suarez at UFC Fight Night 129 a little more than a year earlier.
Source: New feed