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Round 1: Mark Smith the third man in the cage for this fight. Stephens backing up and looking to counter, he lands a nice leg kick as Magomedsharipov takes his time finding the range. Spinning backfist by Stephens misses. Magomedsharipov with an inside leg kick of his own, then a kick to the body. Both guys staying in the center of the Octagon, using lots of feints to try and set things up. Hard leg kick by Magomedsharipov has Stephens stumbling. One to the inside causes Stephens to stumble again. Body punch by Stephens. Great lateral movement by Magomedsharipov and Stephens is having trouble scoring even as he’s walking Magomedsharipov down. Magomedsharipov with a glancing straight left, but the action is stopped by a low blow. After a break, Magomedsharipov unloads with a 360 spinning roundhouse kick that misses and then a Showtime kick off the fence that Stephens avoid. Kick to the body by Magomedsharipov as the round closes.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Magomedsharipov.
Round 2: Second round starts with another low blow and Smith calls for a break, but the action quickly resumes. Stephens probing with his jab to set up an overhand right. Hook kick by Magomedsharipov lands up high. Counter punch by Magomedsharipov lands to the body. Magomedsharipov steps into a straight left. Stephens is scoring with that outside leg kick. Solid right hand connects for Stephens, that seems to quicken Magomedsharipov’s pace. Short uppercut by Stephens and Magomedsharipov answers with a clean left to the body. Single leg by Magomedsharipov and Stephens is able to sprawl at first, but Magomedsharipov gets a body lock and drags him down. Stephens back up with Magomedsharipov all over him. Back take by Magomedsharipov. He’s bullying Stephens from this position and he gets a hook in. Stephens is preventing Magomedsharipov from advancing from that position, but Magomedsharipov has an angle to land punches and elbows from. Magomedsharipov briefly reaches full mount before Stephens rolls over again. Magomedsharipov had both hooks in, but Stephens slips out. Round ends with Magomedsharipov on top and the fighters shove each other as they’re broken up.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Magomedsharipov. Overall, 20-18 Magomedsharipov.
Round 3: Inside leg kick by Stephens. He throws a looping right then a backfist, Magomedsharipov staying just out of range. They exchange left hands. Stephens marching forward but his power punches are falling short against Magomedsharipov’s active defense. Shot by Magomedsharipov is stuffed and he gets caught with a punch on the way out. Stephens with a couple of punches to the body, Magomedsharipov hits Stephens’s body with a knee. Constant pressure by Stephens and he stuffs another takedown. Lead elbow by Magomedsharipov lands, but he eats another counter for his troubles. Leaping knee to the body by Magomedsharipov. Stephens has all the volume in this round though. They’re scrapping in the final 15 seconds. Magomedsharipov attempts a takedown and a wild kick at the end.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Stephens. Overall, 29-28 Magomedsharipov.
Official result: Zabit Magomedsharipov def. Jeremy Stephens via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)