Photo: UFC Instagram
UFC Fight Night Mexico City’s main event, Saturday between Yair Rodriguez and Jeremy Stephens had an unusual ending which caused the main event fight to be stopped just 15 seconds into the contest. The fans, as well as the UFC brass, usually love quick stoppages. However, not this time.
The fight was stopped due to an eye poke caused by Yair, where in an attempt to evade, Rodriguez caught Stephens in the eye with an accidental swipe to the face.
While waiting for his eye to regain vision from the illegal blow, Stephens used the entire allotted time of 5 minutes to recover. Once the time ran out, there was nothing that Stephens, the doctors or the referee could do. The contest was called off and officially ruled a no contest.
Immediately following the 15 second stoppage, fans of Mexico City made sure to make their frustrations known by throwing bottles, food, memorabilia, cups, booze, beer, etc. into the center of the octagon where the fighters, medical staff, and referees were still working to figure out the situation.
In Rodriguez’s post-fight octagon interview, he stated that he is open to a rematch with Jeremy and expressed that he was feeling “sad” about the outcome of the fight. Later in his other interviews, Rodriguez retracted some of the statements he made, in the octagon.
“Stephens wasn’t even ranked above me,” Rodriguez said when asked again about a potential rescheduling of Saturday’s main event bout.
Rodriguez also went on to point out how he fought Frankie Edgar with one eye shut, questioning the integrity and toughness of Jeremy Stephens.
“Only he knows how he feels,” Yair said.
With the fight ending in a controversial way, I asked a fellow fight fan what he thought of the way the fight ended.
“I think that it was the right stoppage. Stephens ran out of time and the fight had to be stopped. It was clear that his eye was impaired and it was getting worse as time went on. I don’t agree with the fans littering the arena with trash as a display of un approval for the way the fight ended though.” Said Dylan Croy.
The UFC has stated they are looking to reschedule the bout as soon as both fighters are healthy. With the featherweight division looking shallow at the moment, both men are right on the verge of a featherweight title shot against the champ, Max Holloway. If Rodriguez or Stephens can string together a few consecutive wins parlayed with impressive performances, it should be enough to earn a shot at the title.
This fight was eventually rescheduled and the bout happened on October 18, 2019 for a UFC fight night in Boston. Rodriguez walked away with the victory that night in a unanimous decision win. The two fighters set aside their differences and shook hands after the fight.