At UFC Fight Night Mexico City last night, a wonderful night of fights was marred by a restless Mexico City crowd.
Objects were hurled into the Octagon as referee Herb Dean called an official ‘No Contest’, after Jeremy Stephens was deemed unable to continue by our cage-side doctor, as he suffered an eye rake just fifteen seconds into the opening round. In the premier exchange, Rodriguez whipped two leg kicks before reaching with an opened hand which raked the eye of the Iowa native Stephens, who immediately signaled the infringement to experienced referee Herb Dean, this allowed Stephens a total of five minutes to allow his spasming eye to relax, the bout was eventually called off due to the injury. A fight that promised so much in the way of entertainment was stopped inside the opening fifteen seconds, with Stephens later telling how he suffered a corneal abrasion with some bruising, but he also called for a rematch within the month.
Earning Fight of the Night honors with their extremely exciting co-main event showing, Carla Esparza and Mexico’s Alexa Grasso were showered with plaudits after their relentless three round back and forth display. Ultimately, it was inaugural strawweight best Esparza’s grappling which swayed the judges, to the surprise of many, as she narrowly claimed a 28-28, 29-28 and a 29-28 majority decision. Grasso, a naturally talented striker who has made leaps and bounds with her boxing in recent years, repeatedly forced Esparza to retreat with stinging right hands, but couldn’t wrap up her first Octagon finish via strikes. Below, check out what I think is next for our headliner and co-headliner stars.
Yair Rodriguez vs. Jeremy Stephens:
This one’s pretty cut-and-dry. The certain unfinished business barely got started last night. UFC Fight Night Boston is in need of a co-main event in a month’s time, after the original clash between Zabit Magomedsharipov and Calvin Kattar was moved to Moscow. They should definitely book Yair Rodriguez vs. Jeremy Stephens II for the TD Garden. Rodriguez spoke after the fight with former middleweight champion Michael Bisping about how he wanted to fight the tops guys in the division, and later went on to emphasis this point when he spoke to Dan Hardy and Karen Bryant about how he needs to talk with his management and that he didn’t necessarily want to take the fight with Stephens due to his lower ranked status, but make no mistake, this one needs a re-run.
Carla Esparza vs. Alexa Grasso:
Former strawweight best Carla ‘Cookie Monster’ Esparza is in the midst of a title challenge for sure. She’s picked up two wins in two, and will more than likely leapfrog Michelle Waterson into the #7 rank at 115-pounds come tomorrow morning. With Joanna Jedrzejczyk and the aforementioned Waterson headlining UFC Fight Night Tampa on October 12th. the winner of said clash will more than likely meet Zhang Weili in a title tilt. Whomever leaves Florida in defeat may find themselves paired with the once more rising Esparza. The #4 ranked Nina Ansaroff met with Esparza back in 2010, in a split decision defeat, is it time to see that pairing again almost ten years later?
For the promising Guadalajara prospect Alexa Grasso, It’s back to the drawing board once again. The 26-year-old looked nothing short of spectacular in her unanimous decision victory over one-time title chaser and the consensus superior striker Karolina Kowalkiewicz, but last night, reverted to her one win, one loss in succession with the promotion. Grasso’s striking and boxing in particular is extremely dangerous against anyone within the top ten of the division, and a meeting with the similarly deadly Marina Rodriguez makes a lot of sense.