Yair Rodriguez and Jeremy Stephens headline the upcoming UFC Mexico City card, the UFC’s first visit to Mexico in two years. What events have taken place in the country?
For the first time since August 2017, the UFC will be heading to Mexico on September 21 for UFC Mexico City at the Mexico City Arena. In the main event, Yair Rodriguez, off of his dramatic knockout of Chan Sung Jung, will throw down with another popular featherweight in Jeremy Stephens.
While there are plenty of fight fans to be found in Mexico, the UFC’s presence in the country in terms of live events is still young. With the promotion first visiting Mexico in late 2014, UFC Mexico City will be the sixth UFC card to be held in the country. Two UFC pay-per-views, two The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America finale cards and one Fight Night make up the first five UFC events in Mexico.
Take a look at the UFC cards’ history in the country below.
UFC 180 – Nov. 15, 2014: Tickets sold out quickly for UFC 180, the promotion’s first-ever event in Mexico, where Cain Velasquez was scheduled to defend the UFC heavyweight title against Fabricio Werdum. Velasquez was forced out on three weeks’ notice with injury, however, and Werdum instead defeated Mark Hunt for the interim heavyweight title in the main event. Other highlights included Kelvin Gastelum, then a welterweight, defeating Jake Ellenberger, and Rodriguez and Alejandro Perez winning The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America on the prelims.
UFC 188 – June 13, 2015: Seven months after their planned Mexico City encounter, Velasquez and Werdum finally met in the main event of UFC 188. To the surprise of plenty, Velasquez gassed out, and Werdum submitted him with a guillotine choke in the third round to become the new UFC heavyweight champion. The event also featured Eddie Alvarez and Rodriguez winning split decisions in scrappy bouts with Gilbert Melendez and Charles Rosa, respectively, as well as Gastelum finishing Nate Marquardt.
The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 2 Finale – Nov. 21, 2015: The first non-pay-per-view UFC card to take place in Mexico came with the finale of TUF: Latin America 2, which took place in Monterrey. On a night that featured nine of 13 fights end in a decision, including all six main card bouts, Erick Montano and Enrique Barzola came away with tournament titles. Meanwhile, Neil Magny narrowly defeated Gastelum in the main event, Ricardo Lamas bested Diego Sanchez and Henry Cejudo edged out Jussier Formiga.
The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 3 Finale – Nov. 5, 2016: About a year later, the finale of the third Latin American TUF season took place in Mexico City, and it was here where anyone still unfamiliar with Tony Ferguson got a taste of his capabilities. Ferguson, a former TUF winner, defeated former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos in the main event that earned Ferguson his ninth straight win and sixth post-fight bonus in five fights. The TUF tournament final saw Martin Bravo stop Claudio Puelles in the second round.
UFC Mexico City (August 2017) – Aug. 5, 2017: The most recent UFC event in Mexico took place two years ago — a Fight Night card that saw Sergio Pettis defeat Brandon Moreno by a wide unanimous decision in the flyweight main event and Alexa Grasso defeat Randa Markos by split decision in the co-feature. The rest of the card, however, saw plenty of big first-round finishes. Niko Price, Humberto Bandenay, Jack Hermansson and Dustin Ortiz scored first-round KO/TKOs, while Rani Yahya, Joseph Morales and Jordan Rinaldi all got first-round submissions — with Rinaldi notably earning his with a Von Flue choke.
UFC Mexico City takes place on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, live from the Mexico City Arena, Mexico City, Mexico. Follow along with FanSided MMA for all your live results and highlights.