UFC Fight Night 159 - Mexico City Breakdown & Predictions
When is UFC Fight Night 159? Saturday 21st September, 2019 – 23:00 start (UK)
Where is UFC Fight Night 159? Mexico City Arena, Mexico City
What channel is UFC Fight Night 159? BT Sport 1
Where can I stream UFC Fight Night 159? BT Sport subscribers can stream the fight online via the BT Sport website
For viewers in the United States, the event will be shown live on ESPN+ which can you sign up to here!
Are tickets still available for UFC Fight Night 159? https://www.ufc.com/tickets
Yair Rodriguez vs Jeremy Stephens
The Mexican highlight reel graces the Mexico City Arena for another mouth-watering main event. Yair Rodriguez returns to take on Jeremy Stephens to put on a show and continue his quest up the featherweight rankings.
Rodriguez blazed into the UFC back in 2014 when he was just 22 years old. He won his first six fights and was making a lot of noise due to his electrifying style but took on a challenge too steep in the form of Frankie Edgar who took him down and mauled him for five rounds and finishing him via TKO. That was in May 2017 and he has only fought once since which began as the ‘fight of the night’ and ended with one of the most spectacular knockouts in UFC history – an elbow in the last second to steal victory from Chan Sung Jung.
Jeremy Stephens is a true UFC veteran making his UFC debut all the way back in 2007. He has compiled 30 fights going on 15-15 which is not bad considering he was fighting when there was no featherweight division. He is a true knockout artist and collected notable scalps including; Rafael dos Anjos, Rony Jason, Dennis Bermudez, Doo Ho Choi and Josh Emmett. However, after breaking Emmett’s skull, Stephens is on a two-fight skid to monsters Jose Aldo and Zabit Magomedsharipov.
Rodriguez is going to try and pick Stephens apart on the feet and pull out all of his tricks to hurt him from range. Stephens only gives up two inches in arm reach and three in leg reach but it is how Rodriguez covers distance that will be the difference.
Stephens is one of the hardest hitters in the division but Rodriguez is likely to frustrate him by circling and hopping in and out of range with kicks and combinations. Stephens just needs to land once but if Rodriguez can fight patiently he can gradually pile on the damage. As it is five rounds, he may even pull off a late finish.
Winner: Rodriguez via KO/TKO
Carla Esparza vs Alexa Grasso
Alexa Grasso has been rewarded for her exceptional performance against Karolina Kowalkiewicz with a big fight on home soil against Carla Esparza who also can’t wait to fight in Mexico City.
Grasso is 3-2 in the UFC but she has fought some of the best strawweights in the world, losing only to Felice Herrig which was a controversial decision and Tatiana Suarez who is mauling the division at the moment. She is only 26 years old and continuing to evolve as we saw in her last fight. She is a solid grappler but stood and traded with the stand-up specialist Kowalkiewicz and outclassed her to earn a unanimous decision.
Esparza is one of the most experienced strawweights in the world and is the first ever UFC strawweight champion who has earned her success with phenomenal wrestling. However, she lost a close split decision to fellow grappler Claudia Gadelha and was swallowed up and finished with ground-and-pound by Suarez. However, she bounced back with he seventh decision win of her career in her last fight against UFC newcomer Virna Jandiroba.
Grasso has the ability to surprise everyone as she gets better with every fight. If she can keep the fight on the feet she can light Esparza up like she did against Kowalkiewicz using constant movement and technical combinations.
However, we are likely to see a classic Esparza performance where she will hunt the takedown and look to keep Grasso on the mat for as long as possible, racking up the points until the bell sounds.
Winner: Esparza via Decision
Brandon Moreno vs Askar Askarov
Two young guns support the main events in Mexico with the home favourite Brandon Moreno back in the UFC to welcome the former ACA flyweight champion Askar Askarov to the big time.
We first saw Moreno on the UFC scene when he was just 22 years old on The Ultimate Fighter: Tournament of Champions. It was an ultra-competitive season and he didn’t make it very far but earned a UFC contract nonetheless. He won his first three fights, but losses to Sergio Pettis and Alexandre Pantoja ended his UFC innings. However, after knocking out Maikel Perez for the Legacy Fighting Alliance he has been given another shot.
Askarov makes his long-awaited debut as an unbeaten champion finishing every one of his fights. He is an assassin on the mat with a full repertoire of submissions including a rare twister in the win column. He is also slick on the feet with huge power for a 125er, especially in his right hand.
The UFC is the true test of top tier martial arts and Askarov and his fans fully expect him to pass. Moreno will be a tough fight as he is experienced and has excellent ground skills, preventing him from being dominated in the grappling exchanges.
The difference is likely to come on the feet. Moreno is dangerous and aggressive but the Russian will use his technique and attack the lead leg with kicks to slow Moreno down and set up the power right-hand. This is not a great match-up for Moreno but he should have the skills to force Askarov to his first decision.
Winner: Askarov via Decision
Martin Bravo vs Steven Peterson
Martin Bravo and Steven Peterson kick off the main card in Mexico with both men coming off two consecutive losses and desperate to get back on the winning track.
Bravo was boasting an impressive unbeaten record of 10-0 before carving his way through The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 3 tournament and finished Claudio Puelles in the finale to top up his win count. However, that was nearly three years ago and has only fought twice since, getting kneed stiff by Humberto Bandenay and then lost a close split decision to Alex Caceres in his last outing back in July last year.
Peterson has been struggling for consistency in recent years and is 1-3 in the UFC. He lost a unanimous decision to Brandon Davis on his debut and responded with a hard-fought split decision over Matt Bessette but is coming off two more unanimous decision losses to Luis Pena and Alex Caceres.
Both men are exciting fighters and very well-rounded. Peterson is desperate to prove what he is capable of and will look to get the fight to the floor where he can attack with ground-and-pound to set up a submission.
However, Bravo is very adept on the ground and has the power and output to take the fight away from Peterson on the feet. The Mexican is buzzing for this opportunity to finally redeem those two losses he can get back to his best in front of his home fans, although Peterson will push him all the way to a decision.
Winner: Bravo via Decision
Striking and grappling stats sourced via FightMetric.