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Jeremy Stephens tapped to replace Franca vs. Joe Lauzon at UFN 17 (UPDATED)

With Hermes Franca out due to a torn ACL, the UFC has turned to lightweight Jeremy Stephens to step in and face Joe Lauzon during its UFC Fight Night 17 telecast on Spike TV that is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 7. was the first to break the news with the story since having been confirmed by the UFC’s official website.

Stephens is also slated to fight season eight lightweight winner of The Ultimate Fighter Efrain Escudero on April 1 during UFC Fight Night 18. has learned that if Stephens makes it out of UFN 17 in relative good health, he will fight as scheduled at UFN 18 against Escudero.

The 22-year old Stephens is 14-3 overall and holds a lifetime record of 3-2 in the UFC. Stephens’ most recent bout was a victory over Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 91 this past November. The Des Moines, Iowa native registered one of the most impressive knockouts of the year when he finished dos Anjos at 0:39 of round 3 when he landed a massive uppercut from an extended distance.

Lauzon is veteran from the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter and holds a career record of 17-3. Inside of the Octagon, he is 4-1 with notable wins over Jens Pulver, Jason Reinhardt, and Brandon Melendez. His most recent victory occurred at UFC Fight Night 15 in September, where he TKO’d Kyle Bradley at 1:34 of round 2.

UFN 17 will emanate from USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida. As of now, the complete lineup is as follows:

Televised Main Card –

  • Joe Lauzon vs. Jeremy Stephens
  • Cain Velasquez vs. Denis Stojnic
  • Mac Danzig vs. Josh Neer
  • Nick Catone vs. TBA

Preliminary Bouts –

  • Kurt Pellegrino vs. Rob Emerson
  • Jake Rosholt vs. Dan Miller
  • Matt Grice vs. George Sotiropoulos
  • Rich Clementi vs. Gleison Tibau
  • Anthony Johnson vs. Luigi Fioravanti
  • Steve Bruno vs. Matt Riddle
  • john says:

    I have a way better idea tell Emerson he’s a loser and have Pellegrino fight Lauzon and then you don’t have to fight any replacement fighter or cancel Efrian’s fight

  • Toad says:

    nick catone better not be on the main card, id prefer any undercard fight over it. Miller, Tibau, or Johnson, even Pellegrino. … Wow, i just realize this card has pretty awesome undercard fights.

  • JOEgun says:

    This a really good fight card. And free! Can’t wait.

  • KTru says:

    Great short notice replacement. Better match up too. Kudos to Lil Heathen.

  • john t says:

    the fact Anthony Johnson vs. Luigi Fioravanti isn’t on the main card blows my mind, same with Rich Clementi vs. Gleison Tibau. Honestly, I just dislike Jake Rosholt because I was forced to watch is last WEC fight instead of Razor Rob and Cerrone.

  • CMT says:

    The undercard looks better than the main card. I would rather see Miller than Cantone. Miller is crazy on the ground.

  • Rich S. says:

    Well, Tibau/Clementi would definitely be fireworks, i’m amazed it’s not on the main..

    but IMHO,
    they should throw Rumble/Luigi on the main card..
    I mean, you have a guy who thinks he can strike vs a guy who actually CAN strike… It’s a knockout waiting to happen :)

  • janitor54 says:

    It is rumored that Stephens is going to try to do both the Lauzon and Efrian fight if he is cleared by the athletic commission.

    Editor’s Note: This is not a rumor. As we reported in our story, Stephens is indeed scheduled to fight both Lauzon and Efrain.

  • Tony Fennen says:

    Not for nothing but the under card is more interesting then the main card

  • DamonO says:

    I guess you mean “tapped” as in WWE style? When I read the title I was thinking that you meant the UFC asked Stephens if he would be a replacement and he said no. Either way you got my attention and I came in here. Hello!

    I’m excited for this fight. What a great replacement considering he trains with Franca.


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