Two featherweights looking to rebound from recent losses will throw down at July 11’s blockbuster UFC 189 pay-per-view (PPV) from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
No. 6-ranked Dennis “The Menace” Bermudez has signed on to face No. 11 Jeremy Stephens in a bout that will be crucial for both fighters in what may be the hottest division in all of UFC.
Bermudez recently saw an impressive seven-fight win streak disappear when former title challenger Ricardo Lamas put him away with a shocking first round guillotine at the promotion’s Mexico debut of UFC 180. He had looked unstoppable during his post-The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 14 run, but fell quickly when faced with top opposition.
Stephens has also seen better times, as the Iowa native dropped his last two bouts against Charles Oliveira and Cub Swanson by decision. The former was a catchweight bout after “Do Bronx” missed weight at the TUF 20 Finale last December, and the latter was a “Fight of the Night”-winning contest at last June’s UFC Fight Night 44 from San Antonio.
Before those two defeats, Stephens also appeared to be a force at 145 pounds, winning three straight bouts over Estevan Payan, Rony Jason, and Darren Elkins to hear his name whispered among as a future title contender at featherweight.
But the division has absolutely exploded in the last year thanks to the insane popularity of Irish title challenger Conor McGregor, and Stephens hasn’t picked a win in that time frame.
That means that “Lil’ Heathen’s” bout with “The Menace” will be must-win if they want to stay afloat in the quickly expanding 145-pound arena, a dynamic that adds even more intrigue to the packed card.
Featherweight champ Jose Aldo will battle McGregor in their long-awaited grudge match in the main event of UFC 189, while welterweight champion Robbie Lawler takes on Rory MacDonald for the belt in the co-main event.
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