This time, Rodríguez wanted to set the record straight against the 33-year-old MMA veteran. Both fighters came into the Octagon swinging, Rodríguez landing punches to the head and a switch kick to the chin before taking Stephens down with a jab before the end of round one. In the second round, Rodríguez sent Stephens to the canvas with a stunning body kick and rained punches from above, almost securing a finish as his opponent struggled on the ground.
The third and final round opened with an all-out brawl between both fighters before Jeremy Stephens scored a takedown and proceeded to punish Rodríguez with relentless ground-and-pound attacks. Absorbing massive damage, Rodríguez thwarted all finish attempts until the final buzzer. He was helped back to his feet by Stephens in a genuine show of sportsmanship, making all pre-fight beef forgotten.
When all was said and done, the judges declared Rodríguez, who had the upper hand in the first two rounds, the winner via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28). They also ruled the explosive 15-minute slugfest the ‘Fight of the Night’.
“I was kind of compromised because I was down most of the round, but I never felt in danger,” said Rodriguez about the final round at UFC Fight Night in Boston, adding: “I just stayed as safe as possible to win the fight.”
On the strength of his latest victory, Rodríguez now commands a professional record of 13 wins, two losses and one ‘no contest’ fight. Also known as ‘El Pantera’, he is currently ranked seventh in the featherweight division on the Ultimate Fighting Championship circuit. Rodríguez joined UFC in 2014 after winning The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America tournament.
Rodríguez is amongst Monster Energy’s elite UFC team along with Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, Conor “The Notorious” McGregor, Jorge Masvidal, A.J. McKee, Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier, Dominick “Dominator” Cruz, Chris “The All American” Weidman, Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley, Max Holloway, Jessica-Rose Clark, Li Jingliang, and Cris Cyborg.