Join us today (September 21st) on Bloody Elbow for live results, discussion, round scoring, and play-by-play as UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez vs. Stephens goes down in Mexico City, Mexico.
The headliner comes in the featherweight division and should be a thriller. Mexico’s own Yair Rodriguez take on the hard-hitting Jeremy Stephens in a five-round scrap, while the co-main features former strawweight champion Carla Esparza against Mexico’s Alexa Grasso in an important bout in that division.
The seven-fight preliminary card starts at 5pm ET/2pm PT on ESPN+, while the five-fight main card will kick off at 8pm ET/5pm PT on ESPN+. There will only be play-by-play provided for the main card, while the prelims will have results updates.
Check out this week’s MMA Vivisection for predictions, analysis and betting odds on the each matchup.
The full bout order is as follows:
Main Card (ESPN+, 8 PM ET)
Yair Rodriguez vs. Jeremy Stephens
Round 1 – Front kick to the face already for Yair. And an eye poke by Yair in 15 seconds. Exactly what everyone wanted to see. Stephens says to Herb Dean “he got me good.” Herb calls the doctor in to have Stephens take a look. Stephens is trying to open his left eye but he can’t. Herb gives him more time. I think he’s giving him the full five minutes. Stephens can’t open his eye still. Fight is over and the fans are throwing garbage into the Octagon. Wow.
Official result: Yair Rodriguez vs. Jeremy Stephens ends in a no contest at :15 of round 1 (accidental eye poke)
Carla Esparza vs. Alexa Grasso
Round 1 – Feel out process in the opening minute. Left by Grasso is answered with a heavier counter right by the former champion. Grasso measuring her jab. First shot by Esparza nearly ends up in disaster for her, as Grasso was close to scrambling into mount. Esparza now in Grasso’s guard. Two upkicks from Grasso as she gets back to her feet and stuffs a takedown. Just missed on a head kick that would’ve absolutely knocked Esparza out cold. Both women connect on short punches on the inside. Leaping left hook by Esparza, but Grasso stuffs another takedown. There’s an underhooks battle going on towards the fence, but Esparza gets Grasso down with a head-and-arm throw. Grasso back to her feet with seconds left and landing a 1-2. Straight right by Alexa before the horn sounds. 10-9 Esparza.
Round 2 – Counter left hook by Grasso as Esparza came forward. Great takedown by Esparza as Grasso is aggressive with her guard. Mini-slam by Carla in Alexa’s guard. Grasso taking some body shots while she looks to control Carla’s head. Not much of an offensive onslaught from Esparza from the top but she is in control. Good elbows by Esparza and she takes the back for a moment, but Grasso turns into her. Scramble ensues and Esparza lands a knee as Grasso comes back up. Nice right cross by Grasso backs Esparza up. Big overhand right by Esparza! Sloppy shot by Esparza initially but Grasso can’t defend the next one. Late sweep attempt by Alexa definitely won’t win her the round. 20-18 Esparza.
Round 3 – Grasso lands a jab but she definitely needs a finish. Big shots by Grasso and Esparza is hurt! Carla is wobbly! She throws a kick and falls but Carla does not follow her to the mat. Grasso being oddly patient with Esparza a bit unsteady. Great sprawl by Grasso and then once again, but the second time saw Esparza land a knee to the body. Hard right hand by Grasso. Another takedown by Esparza but Grasso has the whizzer. Grasso goes for the crucifix position, transitions to the armbar, but it’s to no avail. Esparza on top with under 2:30 to go. Dangerous armbar this time and Esparza does not tap! Wow! That looked like it could’ve been the end. Triangle by Grasso with elbows from the bottom. Esparza is out of trouble with 75 seconds to go. Grasso gets back to her feet with under 30 left. They slug away and Grasso is going for the KO! Esparza survives! 29-28 Esparza.
Official result: Carla Esparza def. Alexa Grasso by majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Brandon Moreno vs. Askar Askarov
Round 1 – Jab by Moreno. A hard leg kick by Askarov. Askar has got a hold of a leg, now trying to take the back standing. Askarov gets the body lock and tries to slam him but there’s no slam to be had. In the ensuring scramble, Askarov lands on top. He looks to take the back on the ground and he’s got the body triangle already. Hard elbows by Askarov, Moreno scrambles and is caught in a triangle, then an armbar. Moreno is free and into Askaraov’s guard. Big elbow from the bottom by Askarov. Moreno landing some ground-and-pound of his own but takes an upkick. Moreno dives back into Askarov’s guard with 90 seconds left. Askarov returns to his feet but he is wobbled by a left hook! Moreno connects on a right hand. Counter right by Askarov but Moreno comes back with a good shot. Moreno with a right hand and an uppercut. Askarov literally chasing Moreno for a takedown and Moreno acts like it’s a track meet. Well that was something! 10-9 Moreno.
Round 2 – Askarov starts with a body kick. Moreno is short on a right hand but laces him with an uppercut and a heavy looking left hook. Big knee by Moreno and Askarov drives him to the mat for the takedown. Askarov positioning for back mount again but he can’t get it. Moreno is back up only for a moment and in the scramble Moreno is able to shake him off. Askarov takes a big uppercut and again looks for the bodylock takedown. Wicked throw by Askarov puts Moreno down and in side control. Moreno limiting the damage on the ground, foot sweeps the Russian and gets back to his feet. Left lands for Askarov, and he pushes forward again for the takedown. A trip by Askarov gets Moreno down only for a moment, but again he scrambles back up. Spinning backfist misfires for Askar. Clinch uppercut by Moreno. ANother clinch yields a knee to the body by Askarov. Sloppy power shots exchanged and Askar gets the better of that exchange. Left hook to the body and a right hand by Moreno, and another right! Head kick looked to have dropped Askarov briefly! Awkward spot for Askarov as Moreno is basically in a loose reverse triangle position for the last 20 seconds. 20-18 Moreno.
Round 3 – They hug it out to start the final frame. Moreno slams home a right hand and now he’s the one who gets the takedown! Well there’s a surprise. Moreno is in Askarov’s guard. Askar has a triangle attempt, then an omoplata, and Moreno fights out of both and cracks Askarov with heavy ground strikes. Askarov throwing elbows and hammerfists from his back. Moreno with a left to the face of Askarov. Brandon still on top while Askarov tries to sweep. Askar not letting him get past his guard. Big shot by Moreno and he takes the back of Askarov! He’s going for the rear-naked choke but he’s not got it at the moment. He adjusts but Askarov defends. Moreno has spent over a minute with back control but Askarov reverses position in the dying seconds. 30-27 Moreno.
Official result: Brandon Moreno vs. Askar Askarov ends in split draw (28-28, 30-27 Moreno, 29-28 Askarov)
Irene Aldana vs. Vanessa Melo
Round 1 – Aldana working her jab early. Follows up with a right hand off the jab. Nice leg kick by Aldana that the whole arena could hear. Melo with a left hook that catches Aldana’s attention. Aldana with an uppercut to the body and a leg kick. Melo continuing to come forward but she absorbs a body shot and a right over the top, then a left hook to the body. Great body work from Aldana. Leg kick by Irene and another one. Aldana piecing Melo up thus far. Heavy leg kick by Aldana and another left hook upstairs, followed by one down stairs. Aldana is in a groove! Dominant round. 10-9 Aldana.
Round 2 – Melo charging forward, throwing a lot of shots and not landing much of anything. Stiff jab by Aldana. Sharp outside leg kick by the Mexican once more. Right hand by Aldana scores, then she throws a straight right to the body. Sneaky left hook by Aldana. Spinning back kick to the body by Aldana. Melo shoots for a takedown and it’s not successful. Great 1-2 by Aldana gets the crowd excited. Melo with a left hook but Aldana lands three shots immediately afterward. Double jab by Aldana but the second one is the only one landing. Good shots by Melo that catch Aldana but Irene is still in control. Aldana with a jab and a right cross, plus another right hand off a fake uppercut. Aldana going back to the body, both women land head shots as the round ends. 20-18 Aldana.
Round 3 – Melo closing the distance and tying Aldana up against the fence. Irena reverses her and lands a knee to the body. Inside leg kick by Melo, Aldana answers with a left hook. Good left hook by Melo to counter an Aldana front kick. Aldana going back to her jab. Wheel kick by Aldana comes SO CLOSE to landing. Two jabs by Aldana and a front kick to the body. Aldana whiffs on a left uppercut with 2:30 to go. Doesn’t miss on the left hook, though. Ripping body shot and Melo felt that. Left hand by Melo but she needs more than that. Jab by Aldana again, and another right hand down the middle. Two-piece combo capped off with a left hook to the liver. Two right hands by Aldana and a leg kick. She’s picked up the pace. Melo way off on a spinning backfist. Strong right hand by Aldana and Melo is hurt! Melo is gassed and flat footed! One more body shot and the horn sounds. Great performance by Aldana. 30-27 Aldana.
Official result: Irene Aldana def. Vanessa Melo by unanimous decision (30-26 x3)
Martin Bravo vs. Steven Peterson
Round 1 – Bravo misses on a leg kick. They exchange leg kicks and Bravo misses on a spinning backfist. Nice counter by Bravo. Body kick by Peterson. Bravo sticks the jab, changes levels and takes Peterson down. Peterson gets back to his feet and they start swinging away. Two lefts connect for Bravo. Spinning back kick to the body by Bravo, Peterson fires back with the same strike and misses. Bravo drops Peterson after catching a kick and landing a punch. Peterson is up again but he’s getting outclassed so far. Bravo with a right hand around the guard. Peterson slams home an overhand right. Body kick and jab for Bravo. The Mexican drops for a single leg and Peterson defends. Right hand by Peterson and a jab that Bravo smiles at. More success with that jab for Bravo. Looping right by Bravo connects, and he comes forward with a body kick and Peterson responds with a right hand. Great pace thus far. Left hook by Bravo, body kick for Peterson, round ends. 10-9 Bravo.
Round 2 – Peterson comes out aggressively and throws a flying knee. Sharp right hand by Peterson, but he gets overly aggressive and Bravo ducks under and complets a takedown. Peterson regains his footing but eats a body kick and right hand along the way. Body kick by Bravo but a right hand from Peterson. Nice right hand from Bravo. HUGE SPINNING BACKFIST BY PETERSON AND BRAVO IS OUT COLD! MY GOODNESS! Bravo threw a spinning backfist and missed, Peterson countered with the same strike and wiped him out.
Official result: Steven Peterson def. Martin Bravo by KO (spinning backfist) at 1:31 of round 2
Preliminary Card (ESPN+, 5 PM ET)
Jose Alberto Quinonez def. Carlos Huachin by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Kyle Nelson def. Polo Reyes by KO (strikes) at 1:36 of round 1
Angela Hill def. Ariane Carnelossi by TKO (cut) at 1:56 of round 3
Sergio Pettis def. Tyson Nam by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Paul Craig def. Vinicius Moreira by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:19 of round 1
Bethe Correia def. Sijara Eubanks by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Claudio Puelles def. Marcos Rosa Mariano by unanimous decision (30-25 x3)
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