Yair Rodriguez will be making his first octagon appearance in over 10 months when he returns to action against Jeremy Stephens on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 159 as a slight -110 underdog on the UFC odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Rodriguez established his place in the UFC record books in his last outing. The 26-year-old knocked out Chan Sung Jung with just one second remaining in the final round of their five-round clash at UFC Fight Night 139 to pay out on -135 odds and improve his professional MMA record to 11-2 going into Saturday night’s bout at Mexico City Arena.
Rodriguez’s victory came on the heels of his first defeat since joining the UFC in 2014. The Mexico City native saw his UFC 211 clash with former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar stopped by the doctors in the second round, ending an eight-fight win streak. However, Rodriguez returned to familiar form in his most recent outing, earning Performance of the Night and Fight of the Night bonuses, each for the third time in his career.
Stephens enters the octagon for Saturday night’s featherweight tilt pegged as a small -120 favorite despite falling to defeat in each of his past two outings. Stephens followed up a first-round TKO loss to former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo with a disappointing unanimous decision loss to Zabit Magomedsharipov at UFC 235 while sporting +245 odds.
Those defeats ended a three-fight win streak that equaled the longest run of success that Stephens has enjoyed since joining the UFC back in 2007. In addition, they dropped the 33-year-old American’s record to a middling 5-7 over his past 12 fights, a run that began with a unanimous decision loss to Cub Swanson over five years ago at UFC Fight Night 44. That marked the only time that Stephens has seen a fight last into championship rounds in his 12 years with the UFC.
Elsewhere on the UFC Fight Night Mexico City odds, former champion Carla Esparza looks to continue her climb back into contention in the UFC women’s strawweight division as she battles Alexa Grasso as a +110 underdog on this weekend’s UFC betting lines.
Irene Aldana is listed as a heavy -550 favourite in her women’s bantamweight matchup with Vanessa Melo, who makes her UFC debut as a lengthy +375 underdog. And Brandon Moreno searches for his first UFC victory since 2017 as the recently anointed LFA flyweight champion tangles with UFC newcomer Askar Askarov as a +130 underdog.