UFC 235 Results: Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Jeremy Stephens Lives Up to the Hype

Zabit Magomedsharipov UFC 235 UFC Boston
Zabit Magomedsharipov Credit: Rodney James Edgar/Cageside Press

With a lot of hype, and potential, leading up to UFC 235, Zabit Magomedsharipov and Jeremy Stephens put on a show, battling it out for three rounds, with both fighters holding their own.

There was no question that Jeremy Stephens against Zabit Magomedsharipov was just about a unanimous pick for Fight of the Night at UFC 235. The relentless forward attack and power of Stephens. The creative striking and slick ground game of ‘ZaBeast.’ If there was one fight outside of the main event to absolutely tune in for on Saturday night, it was Stephens vs. Magomedsharipov.

As far as storylines go, well, none necessary with such spectacular matchmaking. That said, Stephens was looking to bounce back from a loss to Jose Aldo that snapped a three-fight winning streak. Magomedsharipov was hoping to extend his winning streak to 13. Zabit had yet to taste defeat in the UFC, but Stephens represented his toughest test yet.

Early on in this featured televised prelim, Zabit showed pinpoint accuracy with his strikes. Yet Stephens landed a heavy leg kick of his own, and even attempted a spinning back fist, barely missing. Stephens was loading up on his strikes, however. Magomedsharipov was switching stances, using sideways movement, and fired a spinning back fist attack of his own. He’d later push off the fence for a punch. A low blow by Zabit, however, would pause the action.

When the action got back underway, Zabit launched a showtime kick off the cage, but missed. It still got the crowd roaring.

A second groin strike came early in round two, but no point was deducted from Magomedsharipov. Stephens was able to land a few strikes shortly after, but Zabit looked no worse for the wear, and was able to use his reach to keep his opponent outside. For a moment, anyway, as Stephens was not shy about just charging in. Then at the midway mark, Zabit latched onto a leg and dragged Stephens down. While Stephens made his way to the cage, Magomedsharipov was able to take the back and get in control. From there, he was able to work until he got both hooks in. While he’d look control of the back, Zabit added in some elbows, then moved to mount. Which in turn forced Stephens to give up his back. They’d grapple til the end of the bell, with Stephens giving a little shove after the horn, and Zabit answering back.

Round three very likely had Stephens in need of a finish. Without question, he had lost the second. Stephens tried another spinning back fist as Magomedsharipov switched stances, and directions, early in the frame. Zabit disguised his kicks well, and while Stephens would attack with his own, too often, he couldn’t catch his opponent, who was constantly in motion. Key, as Stephens turned up the heat, Magomedsharipov answered back. He’d shoot in for a takedown, but came up short, just barely dodging a Stephens home run attempt. They’d turn it up again at the end of the round, Zabit getting the better of things in an early contender for Fight of the Night.

Zabit Magomedsharipov def. Jeremy Stephens by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)