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Accidental eye poke ends UFC main event after just 15 seconds

Fans were left furious in Mexico City when Jeremy Stephens was deemed unable to continue.

mma-ufc-fight-night-mexico-city-rodriguez-vs-stephens Jeremy Stephens' eye is inspected by referee Herb Dean. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

THERE WERE HIGH expectations for last night’s UFC main event, which brought together two of the featherweight division’s most entertaining fighters.

However, a premature ending in unusual circumstances ultimately prevented the headline bout at UFC Fight Night 159 in Mexico City from delivering on its promise.

Beer and popcorn rained down on Jeremy Stephens from the stands as he exited the octagon after being on the receiving end of an accidental eye-poke from Yair Rodriguez.

The incident, which occurred just 15 seconds into the first round, forced referee Herb Dean to declare the bout a ‘no contest’, provoking an angry reaction from the fans in attendance.

After Stephens was given five minutes to recover, the ringside physician determined that he was unable to continue as he appeared to be unable to open his left eye.

“I don’t know what to feel, honestly,” Rodriguez told ESPN afterwards. “I really gave my all for this camp. I honestly put in a lot of effort, a lot of time. It was the hardest training camp I ever had.”

He added: “You always have to give the benefit of the doubt to your opponent, how he’s feeling. But he’s the only one who’s going to have to live with that in his mind for the rest of his life if it was a lie.”

Meanwhile, one of the highlights elsewhere on last night’s card was a spectacular victory for Steven Peterson, who knocked out Martin Bravo with a spinning back-fist in the second round of their featherweight clash.

UFC Fight Night 159

  • Yair Rodrguez vs. Jeremy Stephens declared a no contest (accidental eye poke) after 0:15 of round one
  • Carla Esparza def. Alexa Grasso via majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Brandon Moreno vs. Askar Askarov ended as a split-draw (28-28, 28-29, 30-27)
  • Irene Aldana def. Vanessa Melo via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26) 
  • Steven Peterson def. Martin Bravo via KO (spinning backfist) after 1:31 of round two
  • Jose Alberto Quiñónez def. Carlos Huachin via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Kyle Nelson def. Polo Reyes via TKO (punches) after 1:36 of round one
  • Angela Hill def. Ariane Carnelossi via TKO (doctor stoppage) after 1:56 of round three
  • Sergio Pettis def. Tyson Nam via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) 
  • Paul Craig def. Vinicius Moreira via submission (rear-naked choke) after 3:19 of round one
  • Bethe Correia def. Sijara Eubanks via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) 
  • Claudio Puelles def. Marcos Rosa Mariano via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-25)

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Paul Dollery

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