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Jeremy Stephens welcomes Renan Barão to Featherweight Division with 29-28 Unanimous Decision Upset

Peyton Wesner

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On a Sunday night when the future of the bantamweight division was on display, former UFC bantamweight champion Renan “The Baron” Barão moved up to 145 pounds for confirmation that he can do battle with featherweight warriors like Conor McGregor, José Aldo, and Frankie Edgar. However, before he faces the best of the division, the 2nd ranked bantamweight had a date with 9th ranked Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens.

Both having seen much more successful days prior to stepping into the octagon, considering Barão had lost two of his last three (T.J. Dillashaw can be thanked) and Stephens was on a spiral of three defeats in his last four, this co-main event was imperative to both fighters. If the aforementioned explanation didn’t do anything for your excitement, then Saturday’s weigh-ins, in which Lil’ Heathen shoved The Baron as he hoped off the scales, should have increased one’s anxiousness for these two to square off.

Although Stephens didn’t land the first strike as the day before, he gained more comfort as the bout grew old before landing combination after combination in route to a 29-28 unanimous decision victory.

Round 1
From the onset, the two fighters didn’t trade punches, but leg kicks rather and the former champion had more success with such a strike by landing consistently. Then, Stephens transitioned to with a clinch attempted, but he was drilled with a strike. Now exiting the exchange, Lil’ Heathen did land flush with a leg kick, yet Barão answered with a right-left combination prior to showcasing his speed with a clean, fluent exit. In what would become a common theme, The Baron persisted with another clinch; though, Stephens showcased his outstanding takedown defense by placing his back to the cage. Within close quarters, Barão enjoyed multiple knees to his adversary’s body before a break. He continued to be on the attack with a sharp left straight in southpaw stance before causing damage in a Stephens’ induced clinch around the mid-round mark. The five-minute segment concluded with more clinch action, for after the two traded in the pocket, the experienced bantamweight tried his hand at another takedown. Unfortunately for him, Lil’ Heathen showed true grit to stay on his feet by keeping a low center of gravity in a squat position and circled out.

Round 2

The action began with Barão continuing to push the pace with a right thigh kick. Furthermore, he illustrated great pose and never ceasing movement by ducking in and out of Stephens’ dangerous blows. However, this had no bearing on his takedown success as Stephens hedged two, making The Baron 0-for-7 up to that point. Now, if there was ever a clear cut momentum swing, which in most fights there is, it had to be Stephens stunning and wobbling his opponent with a beautiful left hook.  Barão, now desiring to re-find solid ground, was unable to have too much time to discover such as Stephens was now pushing the pace prior to landing a massive left uppercut. The barrage continued on the Brazilian with a right hook, but he was able to back off the true featherweight thanks to a pieced together right hook-left hook combination. The tempo eventually slowed around the three-minute mark. Or that was until Barão tried another clinch for a takedown. Almost as a replay of the first five minutes, Stephens put his back against the cage before reversing position.  Now able to land strikes more effectively, the American landed left body shots before alternating to knees with the crowd cheering heavily. Despite, The Baron nicking Stephens with a spinning back kick, the stand-up strike totals continued to soar for the 9th ranked featherweight. Inside of one minute, the now crowd favorite increased the volume with a series of straight right-hand punches. While Barão finally timed a takedown, the ground stint didn’t last long, for the fight was back to standing as the horn sounded.

Round 3

In the winner-take-all final five, Renan Barão and Jeremy Stephens witnessed swings and misses initially. Yet, a left straight by The Baron started the party, for his opponent countered with a left-right jab combination. Barão replicated a similar two-piece but was pushed to the cage via a left handed body shot. Following an unsuccessful clinch that resulted in a break at the 3:07 mark, a back and forth exchange broke out, which the American landed another uppercut flush to the chin. Barão, like a power line in a wind storm, was swaying back and forth on unstable legs. Nonetheless, he had enough balance and awareness to get Stephens off his feet into takedown territory. While Lil’ Heathen later escaped, he quickly returned the favor with an attempt of his own. Though, a standing break transpired before Stephens broke in the final minute with a left-hand rip. Do or die, Barão came running in for the takedown, but all he did in the process was eat an uppercut. This one would go the distance with another clinch with 16 seconds remaining and big elbows landed by the man looking for a victory in his featherweight debut. The waiting game commenced with both Renan Barão and Jeremy Stephens throwing their hands up in victory.

He Said It

Barão is a true champion. Dana White promised me something tonight, so I came here to take it!” voiced Jeremy Stephens. “And that’s exactly what I did.

Result:
Jeremy Stephens defeats Renan Barão via Unanimous Decision – (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)


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Events

*Live Updates* UFC Gdsank Official Results

Harry Davies

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The UFC hosted their second event in the country of Poland, as UFC Gdsank took place at the Ergo Arena. The card was headlined by a welterweight fight between Donald Cerrone and Darren Till.

Cerrone (32-9) was coming off a close unanimous decision loss to former 170-pound champion Robbie Lawler in July. It was the only time in “Cowboy’s” MMA career that he had suffered consecutive losses.

Till (15-0-1) improved his undefeated record in September, defeating Bojan Veličković by unanimous decision. It was a case of old school vs. new school in this headliner, as the up and comer Till hoped to secure the biggest win of his career over Cerrone.


MAIN CARD – UFC Fight Pass – 8PM BST

  • Donald Cerrone (32-9) vs. Darren Till (15-0-1) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Darren Till def. Donald Cerrone via TKO (punches) Round 1 – 4:20
  • Karolina Kowalkiewicz (11-2) vs. Jodie Esquibel (6-3) – Women’s strawweight bout
    • Result: Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Jodie Esquibel via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Jan Blachowicz (20-7) vs. Devin Clark (8-2) – Light heavyweight bout
    • Result: Jan Błachowicz def. Devin Clark via SUB (rear-naked choke) Round 2 – 3:02
  • Oskar Piechota (10-0) vs. Jonathan Wilson (7-3) – Middleweight bout
    • ResultOskar Piechota def. Jonathan Wilson via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

(more…)

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Announcement

*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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Bellator

Bellator 185- How to Watch, Times and Fight Card

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Bellator is once again heading to Mohegan Sun in Uncasville Connecticut, and this time they are bringing with them one of the most anticipated former UFC fighter turned Bellator stars’ debut. Gegard Mousasi will be making his first appearance in the Bellator cage against a former Bellator champion in Alexander Shlemenko. Although this event has lost some of its star power over the last several weeks, it is still stacked and you can bet that the main event will bring some fireworks.

Earlier in the month, it was announced that King Mo had suffered an injury that had forced him out of his co-main event fight with former middleweight champion Liam McGeary. Bellator worked quickly to secure a replacement opponent for McGeary in Bubba McDaniels. Unfortunately for McDaniels and the fans alike, McGeary had later suffered an injury of his own and the fight was removed from the card.

This left a spot open in the co-main event slot, which would be filled by a welterweight matchup between Brennan Ward and David Rickels. Just four days out from the fight, Bellator announced that Ward had also become injured and the fight has been removed from the card as well. The main card has been shuffled around and the welterweight bout between Neiman Gracie and Zak Bucia will now serve as the co-main event.

Main Card- Spike TV (US/Canada) Spike UK (UK)- 9 pm EDT, 6 pm PDT, 2 pm UK

  • Middleweight Main Event: Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (56-9, 1 NC)
  • Welterweight Feature Bout: Neiman Gracie (6-0) vs. Zak Bucia (18-8)
  • Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Heather Hardy (1-0) vs. Kristina Williams (Debut)
  • Lightweight Feature Bout: Ryan Quinn (13-7) vs. Marcus Surin (4-0)
  • Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Ana Julaton (2-2) vs. Lisa Blaine (1-0)

Preliminary Card- Live Stream (MMA Latest New)- 7 pm EDT, 4 pm PDT, 12 pm UK

  • 195 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Jordan Young (6-0) vs. Alec Hooben (5-3)
  • Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Costello van Steenis (8-1) vs. Steve Skrzat (8-9)
  • Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Vinicius de Jesus (5-1) vs. Joaquin Buckley (7-1)
  • Lightweight Preliminary Bout: John Beneduce (2-1) vs. Dean Hancock (2-1)
  • Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Timothy Wheeler (1-4) vs. Pete Rogers (2-4)
  • 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Don Shainis (3-1) vs. Matthew Denning (5-6)
  • 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Frank Sforza (6-0) vs. Vovka Clay (3-2)
  • Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Kevin Carrier (Pro Debut) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (Pro Debut)
  • Flyweight Preliminary Bout: John Lopez (6-4) vs. Billy Giovanella (9-5)
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