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UFC on ESPN 6 live blog: Yair Rodriguez vs. Jeremy Stephens 2

Yair Rodriguez faces off with Jeremy Stephens ahead of their featherweight rematch Friday at UFC on ESPN 6 in Boston
Thomas Lakes, MMA Fighting

This is the UFC on ESPN 6 live blog for Yair Rodriguez vs. Jeremy Stephens 2, a featherweight bout at Friday’s UFC event at TD Garden in Boston.

In the co-main event, Rodriguez faces Stephens in a rematch of the UFC Mexico City main event from Sept. 21, 2019, that ended in a no contest due to Stephens being unable to continue after an accidental eye poke.

Check out the UFC on ESPN 6 live blog below.

Round 1: Kevin MacDonald on-hand for this co-headliner. Rodriguez right out of the gate with a flying kick that Stephens narrowly avoids. Stephens in hot pursuit, he gets caught by a glancing spinning backfist. Rodriguez goes for an inside trip that is blocked and they’re wrestling against the fence. Stephens has got the whizzer and he blocks a takedown attempt, but takes an elbow as they separate. Calf kick stops Stephens from advancing. Rodriguez with kicks to the body now, Stephens having difficulty closing the distance. Rodriguez zinging punches to the head. Looping axe kick by Rodriguez just misses, he’s opened up the arsenal early. Hard body kick lands for Rodriguez. Jumping knee by Rodriguez hits Stephens in the body and “Lil Heathen” ties him up. Rodriguez ducks in and lands a right over the top. Right to the body by Stephens, but he’s not getting in without taking damage. Switch kick by Rodriguez catches Stephens on the chin, he responds with a straight jab. Stephens is off-balance and he’s put on his back by a counter jab. He quickly recovers. Rodriguez sticks his tongue out at Stephens as the round ends.

MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Rodriguez.

Round 2: Switch kick by Rodriguez is blocked. Undeterred, he successfully follows up with a leg kick, then a body kick. Another hard kick to the body hurts Stephens. Rodriguez lands a leg kick and Stephens goes down. Rodriguez following with punches on the ground, referee giving Stephens every chance to recover. Stephens looks for a single leg, but Rodriguez stays upright and he’s scoring with more punches. It doesn’t look like Stephens can even stand. Rodriguez is all over Stephens with hammer fists. He pursues a D’Arce choke, Stephens defending and Rodriguez lets it go. Stephens manages to get back to his feet with two minutes remaining in the round, he’s still chasing. Rodriguez goes for a spinning strike and Stephens avoids it while also getting a waist lock from behind. He drags Rodriguez down and ends up in Rodriguez’s full guard. Rodriguez preventing Stephens from posturing up, he’s looking for a triangle choke. Rodriguez working to stand against the fence, he’s eating a lot of short punches though. Stephens threatening to steal the round.

MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Rodriguez. Overall, 20-18 Rodriguez.

Round 3: Low blow early in round three and MacDonald calls for a break, but Stephens wants to continue immediately. He’s dragging Rodriguez into a brawl and they’re slinging heavy leather, nothing landing clean in the pocket yet. Rodriguez looking a lot more defensive-minded in this round. Stephens catches a kick and gets a takedown. He’s throwing punches from behind as Rodriguez gets up. They reset in the center of the Octagon, three minutes remaining. Another big takedown for Stephens, Rodriguez again defending with a triangle attempt. Rodriguez’s ground game limiting Stephens’s offense. Stephens in half guard now. He’s had the clear advantage in this round, landing plenty of strikes from the top. They’re all smiles and embrace after the buzzer.

MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Stephens. Overall, 29-28 Rodriguez.

Official result: Yair Rodriguez def. Jeremy Stephens via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)