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A longtime
Ultimate Fighting Championship
vet is returning to the weight
class where he started his career.

For the first time since 2012, Jeremy
Stephens
(28-18, 1 NC) will be competing at lightweight, first
reported by
MMA Junkie
on Thursday. “Lil Heathen” will meet Drakkar
Klose
(11-2-1) at his old weight category at a
UFC Fight Night card on April 17
that will be held in the UFC
Apex in Las Vegas. Stephens initially dropped to 145 pounds against
Estevan
Payan
at UFC 160 in 2013, and although he engaged in a few
catchweight contests along the way, this will be his first official
lightweight bout since then. Both men hinted at this upcoming fight
news on their respective Instagram accounts,
while Klose stated when he would
be fighting.

Stephens struggled a few times to make weight as a 145er, coming in
3.5 pounds heavy against Dennis
Bermudez
in 2015 and most recently hitting the scales 4.5
pounds above the limit before meeting Calvin
Kattar
in 2020. The Alliance MMA fighter has gone on a bit of a
skid since wins over Gilbert
Melendez
, Doo Ho Choi
and Josh
Emmett
in 2017 and 2018. Four losses and a no contest greeted
him along the way, with a pair of knockout setbacks to Jose Aldo and
Kattar bookending the stretch and prompting a relocation. One of
the most active fighters in organizational history, Stephens will
be making his 34th appearance inside the Octagon in April, tying
him with Andrei
Arlovski
for the third-most in the UFC.

Klose was recently booked against Jai Herbert
and then Luis Pena at
UFC Fight Night 185, only for the final matchup to dematerialize on
fight day when one of Klose’s cornermen tested positive for
COVID-19. With Klose not afflicted by the coronavirus, he was able
to return to action without major changes. The Michigan native will
be looking to bounce back from his first-ever stoppage loss, when
he was separated from his consciousness by Beneil
Dariush
at UFC 248 following a torrid brawl. Since joining the
roster in 2017, Klose has rattled off decision wins over names like
Bobby
Green
, Lando
Vannata
and Marc
Diakiese
.

The currently unnumbered UFC Fight Night card on April 17 will take
place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Bringing the heat in the
headliner will be Robert
Whittaker
against Paulo Costa
at middleweight. Other matchups slated for the event include a
middleweight clash between Gerald
Meerschaert
and Bartosz
Fabinski
, while a virtually guaranteed heavyweight banger
between Chase
Sherman
and Parker
Porter
anchors the event.

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