Gilbert Melendez had previously announced that he will look to make his UFC featherweight debut in his next fight, and it now appears he will head to Kansas City to take on ‘Lil Heathenâ€™ Jeremy Stephens on April 15.
Manny GamburyanÂ posted the news on Twitter this morning:
Stephens lives only a few hours away from Spring Center — the venue that will host UFC Fight Night Kansas City, and therefore he demanded to be on the card.
#UFCKansasCity…. @UFC! âśŤď¸Źđź‘€
Couple hours from my hometown, I want on this one. https://t.co/AAeod3vkjX@seanshelby @danawhite #UFCKc
— Jeremy Stephens (@LiLHeathenMMA) January 30, 2017
Just ‘who the fookâ€™ is Jeremy Stephens? A 24-fight octagon veteran that has beaten some of the best fighters in the world, including Renan Barao at featherweight and Rafael dos Anjos at lightweight. Stephens boasts brutal knockout power from all of his limbs, having achieved 16 wins by knockout in his career from a mixture of knees, elbows, and punches, and ‘Lil Heathenâ€™ had also previously competed at 155-pounds before deciding to make the move to featherweight back in 2013. Stephens last competed at UFC 205, where he lost a unanimous decision to Frankie Edgar.
Those of you in #IOWA and Midwest, that want @UFC to put me on the #KansasCity, MO card April 15th… Let them know â¬‡ď¸Źand state the name you want me to fight. Don't care if they're at the top of the ranks, or bottom of the barrel… They all runđźŹ?& wrestle…. 145lbs on up, who's head you want me to crack in #KC?!?!? #515 đź‡˛đź‡˝ đź‡şđź‡¸
Gilbert Melendez hasnâ€™t won a fight in the UFC since he beat Diego Sanchez back in October of 2013 at UFC 166. Melendez is actually on a three-fight losing streak, the longest of his career, and the former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion now looks forward to winning one more championship before hanging up his gloves for good.
â€śIâ€™d like to prove Iâ€™m one of the toughest in the division with a solid opponent who is willing to fight me and not stick and move, If I can get that, it would be great. Iâ€™m looking for one last (title) run,” said Melendez on MMA Junkie Radio last month.
The UFC Kansas City card does not yet have a main event announced, although MMANewsline first reported last month a flyweight scrap between Tim Elliott and Louis Smolka will take place on the April 15 card. The event is also expected to serve as UFC on FOX 24.
AsÂ Farzin VousoughianÂ of CagePagesÂ first reported:
The UFC is expected to make its first appearance in Kansas City and the state of Missouri on April 15 at the Sprint Center.
After a long wait, MMA fans in Kansas City are about to get their wish. The UFC is expected to visit the heart of America for the first time in the promotionâ€™s history.
The UFC has done numerous events throughout the United States and events in 19 other countries. Missouri is not in that group, though. Although this is new territory for the UFC, having never been to Kansas City, UFC President Dana White and the rest of the front office can expect an exuberant crowd.
Melendez posted on Instagram this morning that he suffered a minor setback in training, but the severity of the injury is currently unknown.
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