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UFC 136 Fight Card Primer: Anthony Pettis vs. Jeremy Stephens

UFC 136 weigh-in at the Toyota Center on October 7, 2011 in Houston, Texas. via <a href=""></a>
UFC 136 weigh-in at the Toyota Center on October 7, 2011 in Houston, Texas. via

The last WEC lightweight champion gave MMA fans the term "Showtime kick" and came into the UFC with a guaranteed title shot. One title fight draw before he got his shot changed all that, and a loss to Clay Guida has Showtime looking to finally establish himself in the UFC in Houston. On the other side of the coin, one of the hardest-hitting lightweights out there is looking to completely derail the Showtime hype train and finally establish himself in the upper echelon of the packed 155-pound division. Anthony Pettis (13-2, 0-1 UFC) squares off with Jeremy Stephens (20-6, 7-5 UFC). 

Pettis is currently sitting at number 10 and Stephens is unranked on the USA Today/BE Consensus Rankings.  Stephens actually just missed and is currently at 28, and a win over Pettis would guarantee him a spot in the top 25. Pettis doesn't have much to gain rankings-wise, but his first UFC win would be huge for him. This lightweight UFC 136 fight will be on the preliminary card, which will be shown live on Spike TV. The Spike prelims show begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

How do these two stack up?

Pettis: 24 years old | 5'10" | 72" reach
Stephens: 25 years old | 5'9" | 71" reach

What have these two done recently?

Pettis: L - Clay Guida (UD)  | W  - Ben Henderson (UD) | W - Shane Roller (SUB)
Stephens: W - Daniel Downes (UD) | W - Marcus Davis (KO) | L - Melvin Guillard (UD) 

How did these two get here?

Anthony "Showtime" Pettis made his MMA debut on his 20th birthday, and just kept winning. He earned his way into the WEC and won a bout there before dropping a highly controversial split decision to Bart Palaszewski at WEC 45. That didn't stop him though, and three more impressive wins earned him a WEC lightweight title shot against champion Ben Henderson at the promotion's final show, WEC 53. And what a fight it was. In the 5th round of a fight that was dead even, Pettis used the cage as a projectile and kicked his way to a win and the title. He thought he was getting a UFC title shot too, until UFC 125 saw champion Frankie Edgar go to a draw with Gray Maynard. A rematch was ordered, and Pettis was matched up with Clay Guida at the TUF 13 Finale. Guida grounded him and picked up an easy decision win, and now Pettis needs a win badly to establish himself in the UFC and stay in the title hunt.

Jeremy "Lil Heathen" Stephens has definitely had an up-and-down career since his UFC debut back in 2007. He's 7-5 in the UFC, but has never strung together more than two wins at a time. He's on one of those two-fight winning streaks now, and a win over Pettis would likely be the biggest of his career. The heavy-handed lightweight has won the knockout of the night bonus three times, and picked up a fight of the night bonus as well.

Why should you care?

Come on folks. This is MMA's version of July 4th - guaranteed fireworks. Stephens is unlikely to follow the Guida gameplan and will look to take Showtime's head off, which should lead to some amazing exchanges. This fight is a PPV-worthy matchup, and it's on free TV. That's how deep this card is.


You can catch more UFC 136 preview content from Bloody Elbow after the jump.

UFC 136 Judo Chop: The Striking of Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard - Fraser Coffeen

UFC 136 Preview - Melvin Guillard Gunning for Knockout Bonus - Brent Brookhouse

UFC 136: Chael Sonnen vs. Brian Stann Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 136 Video - Bruce Buffer: 'You Can't Announce the Way I Announce If You're Not Into It' - Brent Brookhouse

UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard III - Live Weigh-In Video and Results - Brent Brookhouse

UFC 136 Video: Frankie Edgar Says Belt Proves He Belongs at Lightweight - Brent Brookhouse

UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard III - Bloody Elbow Staff Predictions

UFC 136 Preview: Melvin Guillard Says Joe Lauzon Folds Under Pressure - Brent Brookhouse

UFC 136: Chael Sonnen Denies Gameplanning for Brian Stann - Mike Fagan

UFC 136: Frankie Edgar Talks Gray Maynard, Jose Aldo - Mike Fagan

UFC 136: Melvin Guillard vs. Joe Lauzon Dissection - Dallas Winston

Bad Boy Presents Bloody Elbow Radio - Episode 87: UFC 136 Preview

UFC 136: Leonard Garcia vs. Nam Phan Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 136: Time Aplenty for Chael Sonnen Despite Competition for Contention - Leland Roling

UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard III Betting Lines - Tim Burke

UFC 136: Spike TV Preliminary Card Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 136: Did Promotion Need More Chael Sonnen and Brian Stann? - Brent Brookhouse

UFC 136: Jose Aldo's Second Chance to Destroy Foolish Assumptions - Leland Roling

UFC 136: A Running Diary of Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard II - Mike Fagan

UFC 136 Pre-Fight Press Conference Video and Updates - Tim Burke

UFC State of the Union: UFC 136 and the Lightweight Division - Fraser Coffeen

Countdown to UFC 136 Video

UFC 136: Melvin Guillard's Continuing Quest for a Title Shot - Brent Brookhouse

UFC 136 Preview: Looking Back at Edgar vs. Maynard 2 Highlights and Reaction - Brent Brookhouse

UFC 136: Facebook Undercard Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 136: Dana White Video Blog, Day 1

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