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UFC Fight Night 159 start time — Yair Rodriguez vs. Jeremy Stephens: Fight card, odds, predictions, live stream

There are few more compelling fights in combat sports than the classic crossroads matchup between an up-and-coming prospect and a battle-tested veteran. That’s exactly what will go down Saturday night in the featherweight main event of UFC Fight Night 159 when Yair Rodriguez looks to take another step in his promising career against veteran slugger Jeremy Stephens.

Rodriguez (11-2) is coming off one of the most thrilling victories in UFC history with his no-look elbow knockout of “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung in the last second of their fight in November 2018. The elbow delivered an all-time highlight just one second before Rodriguez would have lost a decision to Jung.

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The 26-year-old Rodriguez is in for a tough night against Stephens (28-16), a 30-fight veteran of the Octagon. Stephens has been in against many of the best names in UFC and is no easy out. His combination of powerful strikes and decent grappling base — which leads to an underrated, but brutal ground-and-pound game — can give anyone fits on any given night.

Stephens enters the fight on a two-fight losing skid but the fight is a pick ’em with both men listed at -115. The odds back up just how compelling the fight is on paper.

The co-main event features a similar crossroads bout as women’s strawweights take center cage in Alexa Grasso and Carla Esparza. Grasso, 26, is 3-2 since joining UFC and has the potential to make a leap in a reloading 115-pound division. Esparza, the inaugural strawweight queen, has dropped two of her last three fights but remains a tough out every time she steps in the Octagon. 

Plus, Irene Aldana, 2-1 in her last three, looks to bounce back from a loss to Raquel Pennington when she takes on late-replacement Vanessa Melo. And, Bethe Correia takes on Sijara Eubanks in a critical women’s bantamweight bout.

Here’s the fight card for UFC Fight Night 159 with the latest odds from MGM.

UFC Fight Night 159 card, odds

Favorite Underdog Weightclass

Yair Rodriguez -115

Jeremy Stephens -115

Featherweight

Alexa Grasso -125

Carla Esparza -105

Women’s strawweight

Askar Askarov -175

Brandon Moreno +145

Flyweight

Irene Aldana N/A Vanessa Melo N/A Women’s bantamweight
Martin Bravo -120 Steven Peterson -110 Featherweight

UFC Fight Night 159 viewing information

Date: Sept. 21, 2019 | Start time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Mexico City Arena — Mexico City, Mexico
Stream: ESPN+

Prediction

Yair Rodriguez vs. Jeremy Stephens: Stephens is not going to go away easy, but I lean toward the younger, more dynamic fighter here. As long as Rodriguez can use his speed to keep away from being put on his back and beat on, he should be able to pick his spots to engage and outpoint the veteran to take the win on the scorecards. Pick: Rodriguez via UD

Who wins Rodriguez vs. Stephens? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on all 12 fights at UFC Fight Night 159, all from the incomparable expert who’s up more than $21,000 on MMA in the past year!

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