Jeremy Stephens is 6-4 in the UFC. | Photo: Sherdog.com
“The Ultimate Fighter 13” Finale undercard holds some compelling bouts, featuring several WEC imports on Saturday at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.
Lightweights Jeremy Stephens and Daniel Downes square off in what could become a bloody brawl, and former WEC title contender Scott Jorgensen takes on American Top Team’s Ken Stone in a pivotal bout at 135 pounds.
Let us take a closer look at the preliminaries for the finale.
Daniel Downes vs. Jeremy Stephens
The Matchup: One trait to like about Stephens’ standup style is that he does not strike for points; he punches through the target, unleashing everything into blows designed to end fights. Combine that with the expectable solid wrestling and conditioning from a Davenport, Iowa, product, and one has “Lil’ Heathen” in a nutshell.
Downes is an up-and-coming product who trains with lightweight dynamo Anthony Pettis and a bit of a sleeper. After showing true gameness in a third-round stoppage loss to Chris Horodecki at WEC 49 -- Downes was a late substitution in that one -- “Danny Boy” rebounded to score an upset over Tiequan Zhang and a submission win in a non-UFC tuneup.
Stephens is a very physical lightweight, looking to bully opponents with aggression and a fast pace. Downes should try to make him pay for that aggression, but that is a decidedly tricky bag. Stephens’ wrestling and in-your-face style, plus a stout chin, make him a handful for anyone at 155 pounds. He has shown flashes of next-level talent, particularly with his numbing punching power, which dispatched Rafael dos Anjos and Marcus Davis.
For Downes to score a win here, he is probably going to have to land something amazing -- not unlikely when one trains with former world kickboxing champion Duke Roufus -- or catch a submission from an overeager Stephens.
At this point, one has to favor Stephens on account of much more experience both overall -- 25 fights versus nine for Downes -- and bouts under the Zuffa banner -- 12 to two. Stephens should be able to dictate where the fight goes, especially in tie-ups, as he has proven explosive and really can wrench around opponents.
The Pick: Stephens by second-round knockout.
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