Fireworks were in the forecast for the UFC Vegas 24 co-main event. In fact, after an early skirmish between Jeremy Stephens and Drakkar Klose at Friday’s face-off, they were almost a certainty. At least until the fight fell off the card late Saturday.
Off the top of the UFC Vegas 24 preliminary card broadcast, the promotion announced that an injury to lightweight Klose had forced the fight to be pulled. That put a damper on the event, with Stephens vs. Klose one of the most hotly anticipated bouts on the card.
What had started out respectful had turned heated, with both fighters looking to get back in the win column, and Stephens in particular hoping to pull out of a tailspin. Ahead of the fight, Klose had stated that he felt the door was closing on Stephens’ career, even bringing up the “Scot Coker waiting” meme and suggesting that a trip to Bellator might be in Lil Heathen’s future.
Those words were clearly not well received by Stephens, who gave Klose a hard shove when the pair faced off on Friday.
The hostilities will have to wait, however, with the fight at the very least postponed. Promotion officials did not state Saturday whether the plan is the re-book the pair, although with the build-up, they would be crazy not to keep the pair booked if at all possible.
Stephens (28-18, 1NC) last competed at UFC 249 last May, where he was knocked out with an elbow by Calvin Cattar. Klose (11-2-1) was coming off of a loss of his own, a knockout at the hands of Beneil Dariush at UFC 248.
UFC Vegas 24 will now move forward with ten bouts. Andrei Arlovski vs. Chase Sherman will move up to the co-main event slot.
Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Andrei Arlovski vs. Chase Sherman
Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Jacob Malkoun
Luis Peña vs. Alexander Munoz
Tracy Cortez vs. Justine Kish
Alexander Romanov vs. Juan Espino
Jessica Penne vs. Lupita Godinez
Bartosz Fabiński vs. Gerald Meerschaert
Austin Hubbard vs. Dakota Bush
Tony Gravely vs. Anthony Birchak
Update, 7:40PM ET: Per a report by ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, citing sources, it was the shove from Stephens at face-offs Friday that led to Klose’s injury.
Tonight’s Jeremy Stephens x Drakkar Klose fight has been canceled, per the broadcast.
Klose suffered an injury as a result of this push at yesterday’s official weigh-ins, per sources. Specific injury details not disclosed at this time. pic.twitter.com/ImbpMQxHur
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) April 17, 2021