Edgar entered the fight trying to remain in the thick of title talk after failing to win the interim UFC featherweight belt in his fight with Jose Aldo in July. Stephens won his last bout, but needed a win over the likes of Edgar to start forcing his way into the championship conversation.
The fight started slowly with each man trying to gauge distance and read his opponent. After being stuffed on his first couple of takedown attempts, Edgar secured several midway through the round, but each time, Stephens immediately regained his feet. But it was still Edgar controlling the fight.
Round two saw Edgar continuously going back to the takedown, but again, Stephens was quick to regain his footing. This time, however, Stephens countered, landing a kick that dropped Edgar and followed with a knee that had him hurt.
Edgar got back to his feet, but was wobbly for the next couple minutes. Stephens, however, couldn’t put him away before Edgar scored another takedown.
Stephens tried to get up, but found himself in a guillotine choke. He eventually escaped the maneuver, but Edgar kept attacking, moving to mount with a choke in place. Stephens again defended, managing to make it to the end of the round.
Stephens used a Kimura to try and attack from bottom, but Edgar escaped and took Stephens’ back. Search as he did, Edgar couldn’t land the choke, and the fight again returned to standing.
Neither could find a punishing blow in the final minute of the fight, although they both swung for the fences as the clock ran out.
After three rounds of action, the judges awarded nearby New Jersey born Edgar a unanimous decision, putting him back on the path toward a title shot.