Following his decision loss to Cub Swanson in June, Jeremy “Lil Heathen” Stephens has been booked for his next bout, and it’s against another, top 15 ranked featherweight.
In the latest “UFC Minute“, the promotion has announced that Stephens will throw down with Charles Oliveira at the TUF 20 Finale on December 12th. The bout will be the card’s co-headliner, which will take place at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Stephens (23-10) was on quite the run prior to facing Swanson, as he had put together a three fight winning streak, which included a jaw dropping, headkick win over “Rony” Jason. Things have really turned around for Stephens after dropping down from lightweight. Following his KO loss to Yves Edwards in December, 2012, he had lost three in a row. Now he’s ranked #10 at 145.
Oliveira (18-4) was supposed to fight Nik Lentz at UFC FN 50 on September 5th, but a viral infection forced him to miss weight and he was eventually pulled from the card. “Do Bronx” is coming off wins over Hatsu Hioki and Andy Ogline heading into the bout, and is ranked #14. The only men who have defeated Oliveiera in his last 5 fights are top contenders Frankie Edgar and the aforementioned Swanson.
It will be interesting to see how this fight plays out, as Oliveira will likely look to take Stephens to the mat, rather than risk exchanging with the powerful slugger. Then again, maybe not. It’s a big fight for both men, as the loser could very well drop out of the coveted top 15 ranks.
The TUF 20 Finale will feature the competition’s final bout in the headliner, which will crown the UFC’s first, female strawweight champ.