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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

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