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Ultimate Fighting Championship fan-favorite Jeremy Stephens is getting a new opponent for his return to lightweight.
On Thursday, MMA Junkie reported that Stephens (28-18, 1 NC) is still planning a trip back to 155 pounds, but it will not be against the previously planned Drakkar Klose any longer. Instead, Stephens will greet Mateusz Gamrot (18-1, 1 NC) inside the Octagon on July 17. The UFC Fight Night card on that date does not yet have a location or venue set, although it is expected to take place inside the UFC Apex in Las Vegas due to the pandemic still raging on. Gamrot has since confirmed the news of this booking on his Instagram.
Stephens was booked against Klose at UFC on ESPN 22 in April, but a weigh-in altercation where Stephens grabbed Klose’s neck, inflicting damage on Klose and forced the latter out of the fight. Klose was later diagnosed with a concussion as well as a sprained neck from this incident, but Stephens was not suspended or otherwise publicly reprimanded as he is booked to compete in two months. It is uncertain when Klose will be cleared to fight again.
“Lil Heathen” has not won a fight since 2018, with four losses including a pair of knockout defeats to Calvin Kattar and Jose Aldo along the way. An accidental eye poke ruled a no contest against Yair Rodriguez was run back a month later, and Stephens dropped a hard-fought decision where he came on strong in the final round. The Alliance MMA standout has suffered the most losses in company history with 17, but it is partly due to him having the fourth-most bouts (33) of any UFC fighter. This will be his first trip to lightweight since 2012, when Yves Edwards handed him his first career knockout loss.
Former two-division KSW champ Gamrot came to the UFC with a gaudy record of 17-0 with a no contest, and he faced fellow newcomer Guram Kutateladze in his debut. The decision did not go his way, although one judge scored it for him, but he was able to bounce back to his winning ways by bulldozing Scott Holtzman in April. “Gamer” left the KSW roster with what still remains the winningest record without a loss, as the Polish ex-champ racked up 13 wins without a single setback from 2013 to 2020.
The UFC Fight Night event on July 17 has no current destination, although it most likely will be held inside the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. There is no current headliner, but top-billed matchups on the card include the return of Miesha Tate against Marion Reneau at bantamweight, while Gamrot’s former foe Kutateladze takes on Don Madge in a lightweight affair.
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