A barn burner of a fight is expected when resident featherweight contenders Jeremy Stephens and Doo Ho Choi square off in the main event of UFC Fight Night 124 on January 14th, 2018 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri.
Hit or Miss
Stephens has been hit or miss lately, winning six of eleven bouts since moving down from lightweight to featherweight in 2013. Currently ranked 8th in the UFC’s 145 pound division, Stephens owns notable wins over former UFC bantamweight Renan Barao, Dennis Bermudez and Darren Elkins. Li’l Heathen is coming off an impressive Fight of the Night performance over Gilbert Melendez at UFC 215.
Choi has not fought since his Fight of the Year worthy slugfest with Cub Swanson at UFC 205 last December. During that fight, Swanson handed Choi his first ever MMA loss and stopped a string of KO wins by the Korean SuperBoy. Choi was scheduled to face Andrei Fili at UFC 214 but was forced to pull out of that contest because of an injury. He is currently the 12th ranked featherweight in the UFC despite his inactivity.
The Korean Superboy is the slight favorite in this bout at -185 while Li’l Heathen came back as the underdog at +160. Stephens has not recorded back to back wins since since 2014 and his inconsistency is perhaps the reason why he is the underdog in this fight.
When he is in good form, Stephens is an aggressive striker who can take a beating and yet pull off a victory. He’ll his hands full against an equally dynamic striker who most probably has more punching power than him. Choi is both a violent and accurate striker. Despite being one of the young fighters in the division, he can hold his own against veteran opponents.
Avoiding The Canvass
No question Jeremy Stephens cam match Choi in a striking battle. Not only does he have the striking arsenal to match the Korean Superboy, he is also the more well rounded fighter here. Stephens may opt to take this fight to the ground, where he has recorded a total of 27 takedowns in his UFC career.
The Korean isn’t as good on the ground as his opponent. If Choi avoids getting taken down, he’s got a good shot at an upset here. If not, it may be tough to beat a savvy veteran like Stephens. Stephens is well aware of Choi’s limitations on the ground. He’ll drag Choi to the floor early and wear him down before taking it to the Korean late in the fight. We’re picking Jeremy Stephens to win via unanimous decision.