Jeremy Stephens Drops to Featherweight, Meets Estevan Payan at UFC 160


UFC lightweight staple Jeremy Stephens will make the cut to 145 pounds on May 25, when “Lil’ Heathen” squares off with Estevan Payan at UFC 160.

UFC officials Wednesday announced the booking, which takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and is headlined by a heavyweight title rematch between Cain Velasquez and Antonio Silva. The event will also showcase another anticipated heavyweight showdown pitting former Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem against ex-UFC ruler Junior dos Santos.

Stephens, 26, has lost three straight fights, closing out 2011 with a split-decision defeat to Anthony Pettis before kicking off last year with a one-sided loss to Donald Cerrone at UFC on Fuel TV 3. Most recently, the hard-punching Iowan had his lights turned out by veteran Yves Edwards, suffering a first-round knockout on Dec. 8 at UFC on Fox 5.

Payan completed a two-fight stint under the Bellator banner in 2009 before making his Strikeforce debut roughly 13 months ago against Alonso Martinez. Following that unanimous decision victory, “El Terrible” returned to the cage one year later to knock out Mike Bravo at Strikeforce “Marquardt vs. Saffiedine.” Payan, 30, has not lost in more than three years and owns more than half of his 14 career wins by either knockout or submission.

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