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UFC on ESPN 6: Jeremy Stephens vows to 'kill' Yair Rodriguez in grudge match

Anurag Mitra
ANALYST
News
Modified 21 Dec 2019, 00:46 IST

Yair Rodriguez and Jeremy Stephens
Yair Rodriguez and Jeremy Stephens

If there is one thing that sells most in the fight game, it is 'bad blood'. Fans are attracted to a legit rivalry unlike anything else in the sport and the numbers UFC recorded when the likes of Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir, & more recently Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov went toe to toe to settle old scores, is the biggest example of the same.

The eye-poke controversy

The beef between UFC featherweights, Jeremy Stephens and Yair Rodriguez is genuine and the fans are aware of it because they saw it stem right in front of their eyes. A potential barnburner of a main event at UFC Fight Night 159 in Mexico City ended in a chaotic and disappointing no-contest as Yair Rodriguez poked Jeremy Stephens in the eye, rendering him unfit to continue.

The situation worsened further when the fans made their feelings known as they began throwing garbage at Stephens while Rodriguez claimed that he felt Stephens could easily continue, despite the eye gouge but he chose not to because he was scared.

Altercation at the hotel

The eye poke paved the way for a lot of controversy, and the evident bad blood between the featherweights spilled over when they came across one another at a hotel and ended up trading barbs – including homophobic slurs.

Less than a month later, the UFC is providing the pair with an opportunity to settle their beef as they are slated to go head to head once again in the co-main event of UFC on ESPN 6 at the TD Garden in Boston.

In a recent interaction with the media, both Rodriguez and Stephens spoke about their rivalry. (h/t MMA Junkie)

Yair says he has put the whole fiasco behind him

In a statement that comes as a surprise to everyone, Rodriguez claimed that he has made peace with the incident.

“You know what? You’ve got to be able to let go. After meditating a lot and reading books and passing times with myself and friends and talking to my family and stuff, I got to the realization that it is what it is. If you’re living in the past, you’re depressed. If you’re living in the future, you have anxiety. If you’re in the present moment, you’re happy. All I’m doing is focusing on this right here right now, and this is the only thing that we have.”

Stephens wants to 'kill' Rodriguez

On the other hand, his counterpart Stephens is still livid at what went down when the pair met the last time. He made his feelings for Rodriguez known in the interview by screaming '(Expletive) Yair', sending the crowd in attendance into a frenzy. He further went on to claim that he will be looking to 'kill' Rodriguez.

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“I’m feeling good, Cool as a cucumber. Calm like bomb. I’m ready to go off. I’m going to kill this kid. If he don’t die, it doesn’t count. That’s what I’m thinking.”

As the cage door locks behind them on Friday night, there surely won't be any love lost between the pair as they look to settle the rivalry once and for all in what is surely going to be an explosive contest.

Who do you think will earn the bragging rights in this grudge match? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Published 16 Oct 2019, 14:36 IST
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