On a night full of explosive finishes, Jeremy Stephens was badly in need of just that to hold on to any hope of making the PFL’s post-season.
At PFL 4 on Friday in Atlanta, GA, the former UFC standout couldn’t pull the trigger when it mattered.
Instead, he wound up going a full three rounds with a game Myles Price, getting back in the win column— but losing out on the points necessary to advance to the league’s post-season.
Both men are out of the PFL’s 2022 playoffs. While Stephens technically had three points and fourth place following the win, both Clay Collard and Alex Martinez, fighting later in the night, already had three points each, meaning the winner would instantly jump past Stephens.
Price, having gone from Anthony Pettis to “Lil Heathen,” had arguably the toughest draw in the league’s 2022 lightweight pool. After a submission loss to “Showtime,” losing a split decision Friday left him 0-2 in 2022.
4:16 was the time to beat for Jeremy Stephens, or alternately Price, to secure a playoff spot. The former UFC star got right after it Friday, scoring an early takedown and working from half guard. Price, however, sat up and tied things up; Stephens wasn’t about to land a knockout from a sitting position, and wisely disengaged, getting the fight back to the feet.
From there, Price fanned on a spinning back fist while the freshly shaved Stephens (who had trimmed his beard and hair to make weight for the fight) walked him down. He fired a couple of heavy shots, had Price trapped briefly, but couldn’t land the difference-maker.
Stephens would later back Price up to the fence, winging hooks to the body, but again, Price escaped. An uppercut and a knee from Stephens followed, and another uppercut a moment later. But as time ticked away, it became evident that neither man was going to finish in time. Price battled back, landing a few shots of his own, but they’d head to the second, fighting for pride rather than a million dollars at that point.
Stephens landed a couple of low kicks early in the second, while Price worked the body along the fence. Stephens reversed, and they’d go back-and-forth for a bit. It was later in the round, with about two minutes on the clock, that Stephens uncorked some heavy blows. But Price proved able to absorb them, taking the fight back to the fence, where Stephens reversed. Again, they’d go to the buzzer, with the fight going to a third.
Round three saw Price firing some front kicks to the body; he ripped the body after that, backing Stephens up. Price followed that with a throw, only for Stephens to pop right back up. The course of the round changed, however, when Price landed a takedown — and rode out the better part of the round on top.
Still, it wasn’t enough for Price to secure the win, getting the nod on just a single scorecard. Stephens, meanwhile, returns to the win column for the first time since 2018. The win, however, is no doubt bittersweet with the playoffs out of reach.
Official Result: Jeremy Stephens def. Myles Price by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)