Perennial UFC featherweight contender, Jeremy ‘Lil’ Heathen’ Stephens has been forced to withdraw from his UFC Vegas 13 pairing with division upstart, Arnold ‘Almighty’ Allen on November 7 – citing an injury, according to a report from MMA Junkie’s, Nolan King.
Stephens, who was previously linked with an eye-catching featherweight pairing with fellow former lightweight, Edson Barboza for a UFC Fight Island event this month, declined the offer, on that occasion citing a need for more time to prepare for the cut to 145-pounds following his tipping of the scales before his UFC 249 knockout loss to Calvin Kattar.
Stephens was subsequently replaced by Sodiq Yussuf, who was himself replaced by Makwan Amirkhani after he was forced to withdraw due to passport issues – with Barboza ultimately sealing his first victory since his drop to featherweight in a unanimous decision win.
It’s currently unknown if the promotion will attempt to find a short-notice replacement for Ipswich native, Allen who most recently featured at UFC Fight Night Raleigh in late January – taking home a unanimous decision win over Nik Lentz to score his seventh-successive Octagon success.
34-year-old Des Moines, Iowa native Stephens is a thirteen-year, whopping thirty-four fight Octagon veteran. A renowned knockout artist, the Alliance MMA mainstay has managed to score an incredible nineteen knockout wins from twenty-eight overall.
With a 28-18 professional record, Stephens has secured notable wins over Josh Emmett, Doo Ho Choi, former Strikeforce lightweight best, Gilbert Melendez, former bantamweight champion, Renan Barao, The Ultimate Fighter 14 finalist, Dennis Bermudez, and a memorable 2008 knockout over former lightweight titleholder, Rafael dos Anjos.
For Allen, the 26-year-old currently sits at #9 in the promotion’s 145-pound ranks, with an unbeaten 7-0 record under the UFC’s banner. Taking wins against the above mentioned, Lentz and common-opposition, Melendez – Allen has also scored impressive victories over Mads Burnell, and the previously noted, Amirkhani.
UFC Vegas 13 takes place on November 7 from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada – with a high-stakes potential light heavyweight title eliminator between one-time title challengers, Thiago ‘Marreta’ Santos and Glover Teixeira expected to take place at the third time of asking.