Round 1: Stephens takes the center of the cage and inches forward. He misses with a big overhand right. He lands an outside leg kick. Stephens lands to the body with a kick. Elkins thought about a takedown, but Stephens moves away. Stephens lands a big uppercut as Elkins moved forward. Elkins looks to get the fight to the ground, but Stephens has none of it. Elkins throws a high kick and slips or was pushed to the ground. Stephens follows him. He hands a few shots and stands and lets Elkins up. Elkins works for a single leg takedown. He presses Stephens against the cage. Stephens pushes him away and they’re back at distance. Stephens lands an uppercut on the inside. Stephens delivers an outside leg kick. Stephens swings for the fences but misses. He lands a right hand over the top. Stephens lands a kick to the body with a thud. The round ends. MMAWeekly scores it 10-9 for Stephens.
Round 2: Elkins lands a right hand, but Stephens landed at the same time. Elkins retreats. Stephens presses forward. Elkins dives for legs but Stephens moves away. Stephens moves in with a straight right hand. Elkins looks to get the fight to the ground. He works for a single leg takedown. Stephens shakes off the attempt and circles away. Stephens moves in with a right hand followed by a hard outside leg kick. Elkins pushes forward. He lands a left hand. Stephens delivers an uppercut on the inside. Elkins gets another takedown attempt stuffed. Elkins lands a kick to the body. Stephens switches stances and lands a kick to the body. Stephens places a hard uppercut on the mark. Stephens lands a right hand that knocks Elkins back at the bell. MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Stephens.
Round 3: Stephens takes the center of the cage and delivers an outside leg kick. Elkins lands a kick to the body and Stephens takes him down. Elkins works for a guillotine choke. Stephens gets free by spinning out of it. He stands. Elkins steps forward with a right hand. Stephens throws a kick that Elkins catches and works for a takedown. Stephens tosses him to the side. Stephens delivers a leg kick. The pace slows. Stephens inches forward. They exchange and Stephens lands a left hook. Stephens continues to press forward. He lands with his right. Elkins catches Stephens with a left hand. Elkins goes after him. Stephens changes levels and gets the takedown. Elkins applies a guillotine choke. The round ends. MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Stephens.
The judges scored the fight for Stephens by unanimous decision. The scorecards read 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27.
“I felt like I made a good statement tonight. It was a good test for me. He is a grinder. I feel like I stepped up and made a big statement and hope that it set me up to fight one of the top-10 guys in the division. I keep in good shape and want to get back into the Octagon soon. I feel stronger than these guys at 145 lbs. I feel a lot of power and I feel a lot of speed.
“My two little daughters were right there and I saw them and that got me fired up. I’m fired up and hope to have a top fight soon.”
“I got some punches in early on the fight that I thought could have made a difference. I tried to strike him and take him down a few times, but he never gassed out. I look forward to my next challenge as soon as next week.”