Opening up the main card of UFC on Fox 10 are a pair of featherweights who have highly contrasting fighting styles. Darren Elkins (17-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) fights not too far from his hometown of Hobart, Indiana against the dangerous striker Jeremy Stephens (22-9 MMA, 9-8 UFC).
Elkins is known as a grinding wrestler who can make any fight "ugly", which is highly beneficial for him. Stephens has had a good run so far at featherweight, and it's saved his UFC career after he went through a disastrous run of form at lightweight. The UFC on Fox 10 main card airs live from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois starting at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT.
How do these two stack up?
Elkins: 29 years old | 5'10" | 71" reach
Stephens: 27 years old | 5'9" | 71" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Elkins' UFC debut came at lightweight against the famed striking coach Duane Ludwig, with Elkins winning after Ludwig broke his ankle. A quick submission loss to Charles Oliveira sent him down to featherweight, where he racked up 5 consecutive wins and capped it off with an unexpected TKO of Antonio Carvalho at UFC 158. He then replaced the injured Clay Guida one month later against Chad Mendes, but saw his run end in violent fashion as he was stopped in just over a minute. A narrow win over Hatsu Hioki got him back on the winning track and keeps him in the running as a contender at 145 lbs.
Stephens is a veteran of the sport who is known for getting into wild brawls, but consistency has been a major issue for "Lil' Heathen". His final 3 fights at lightweight all ended in losses, and Yves Edwards became the first man to knock him out back in December 2012. Stephens moved to featherweight in an effort to rejuvenate his career, and so far it's paid off. He bloodied up Estevan Payan and won a clear decision, and then went to Brazil in November and knocked out Rony Jason with a head kick. If Stephens wins tonight it'll be the first three-fight win streak of his UFC career.
Why should you care?
Honestly speaking, this could be one to forget if Elkins is able to implement his gameplan, but he is a top 10 ranked featherweight and if Stephens can win he'll be in the general area of those rankings come Monday evening.